The Institute on Blindness continues to demonstrate our commitment to research to provide in-depth knowledge to the field of education and rehabilitation of individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Below is a selection of completed projects that have been done by or for the Institute on Blindness.
Bell. E. C. (2016). National Certification in Unified English Braille: Validation Report. Journal of Blindness Innovation and Research, 6(1). Retrieved From https://nfb.org/images/nfb/publications/jbir/jbir16/jbir060105.html. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.5241/6-103
Unified English Braille (UEB) became the standard for literary braille in the United States in January 2016. In the process of this transition, myriad stakeholders have been and continue to be engaged in all aspects of producing, procuring, preparing professionals, and teaching children and adults the UEB code. The National Blindness Professional Certification Board is one such organization whose mission it is to develop certification standards to measure proficiency in UEB for teachers of the code. The National Certification in Unified English Braille (NCUEB) was created for that purpose. This manuscript (a) describes the steps that have been taken to test the efficacy of the NCUEB exam, (b) presents data which was generated by 83 individuals who took the exam between January and July 2015 across eleven different testing venues, and (c) provides a statistical report on the internal consistency, generalizability, content validity, and criterion-referencing for this examination. Results suggest that the NCUEB is valid and appropriate for its stated purpose.
Bell, E.C., Ewell, J.V., & Mino, N.M. (2013). National Reading Media Assessment: Complete Report. The Journal of Blindness Innovation and Research, 3(2), Retrieved from: http://www.nfb-jbir.org/index.php/JBIR/issue/current
This manuscript documents the need for, pilot testing, and validation of the National Reading Media Assessment (NRMA). The NRMA is an assessment of the visual reading efficiency of youth ages Pre-K through 12th grade who are visually impaired. The tool is designed to measure the extent to which large print materials are sufficient to complete academic tasks, whether Braille should be introduced, or whether the youth should be given primary instruction in Braille. Findings support the efficacy of this tool in making the decision to recommend print, Braille, or dual media for prereading youth and those in kindergarten through 12th grade.
APA Citation Information: Bell, E. C. & Mino, N. M. (2013). Blind and Visually Impaired Adult Rehabilitation and Employment Survey: Final Results. Journal of Blindness Innovation & Research 3(1). Retrieved from http://www.nfb-jbir.org. doi: 10.5241/1-35
Individuals who are legally blind or visually impaired in the United States have long suffered high rates of unemployment. The purpose of this study was to determine the current employment status of these individuals and to analyze its consistency with federal reports.
The study also examined demographic factors, education, civic involvement, and rehabilitation experiences of this population in order to determine whether some of the factors could be identified as contributing to the employment outcomes.
Results showed that the employment rate for individuals who are legally blind/visually impaired is 37%, which is consistent with previous research. Findings show that a gender gap still exists, with a significant difference in annual earnings between men and women.
Education and rehabilitation-related factors seemed to impact employment outcomes; where higher educational attainment is associated with better employment outcomes. In addition, those individuals who were trained under the Structured Discovery approach were more likely to be employed and to have higher earnings than those who did not. Finally, for individuals who read braille on a weekly basis and used a white cane, the likelihood of being employed and receiving higher earnings was higher than those who did not use these tools.
Bell, E. C. (2010). Measuring Attitudes about Blindness: The Social Responsibility about Blindness Scale. Research Report of the Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness, Louisiana Tech University, Ruston.
This study reports on the development and initial testing of a scale to measure attitudes about blindness. The instrument was tested on 67 legally blind youth who participated in a mentoring program between September 2007 and September 2008. Instrument development and psychometric testing are reported. Results provide support for the scale and the relationship between positive attitudes and hope.
Goodwyn, M., Bell, E. C., & Singletary, C. (2009). Factors that Contribute to the Success of Blind Adults. Research Report of the Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness. Louisiana Tech University, Ruston.
Two focus groups comprised of successful blind adults were convened to define "success" and to identify factors that contributed to their own successes. Seven aspects of “successful” and 13 factors that supported their becoming successful were identified, and these constitute a sound basis for future training and rehabilitation efforts.
Bell, E. & Ryles, R. "TOUCH AND LEARN: A study of visually impaired children and tactile graphics." National Braille Press; Creative Adaptations for Learning; and Professional Development & Research Institute on Blindness, Louisiana Tech University, 2007.
In an effort to learn more about children's capabilities and interest in tactile graphics, National Braille Press (NBP) and Creative Adaptations for Learning (CAL-tac™) in collaboration with Louisiana Tech's Institute on Blindness conducted a study of 73 visually impaired children. NBP provided parents of children in the project with TOUCH and LEARN TACTILE ACTIVITY BOOK, an interactive tactile activity book developed by CAL-tac™. The children's tactile activity book consisted of thermoformed pages containing a variety of tactile representations. Parents were provided with a wide variety of activities and suggestions designed to make their child's exploration of the workbook's 22 tactile graphics an enjoyable, informative experience. Parents were asked to complete questions for each of the graphics, post-activity surveys and basic demographic information. This is the research report.
Aditya, R. M. (2004). A Comparison of Two Orientation and Mobility Certifications. A report produced through funding from RSA under Grant number H133B010101-03, from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), Washington, DC.
This report provides a comprehensive overview on the historical foundations, methodological differences, professional standards, examination processes, and professional expectations of the two leading national certifying bodies in the Orientation and Mobility field. In the past five to six decades, two approaches to O&M have evolved. Although both approaches had the involvement of blind individuals in the early stages of development, one came to be directed primarily and predominantly by sighted individuals, while the other continued to develop primarily and predominantly through the work of blind individuals. Since 2000, professionals under this training approach are certified by the Academy for Certification of Rehabilitation & Education Professionals (ACVREP). This program of training has come to be referred to as the conventional approach, described in greater detail in section 3 of this report. The roots of the latter approach, currently referred to as the alternative approach, may be traced back in time to when blind persons learned to move about from other blind people. In the past decade, the alternative program of training has been formally incorporated into a university-based curriculum. Under this training program, professionals are certified by the National Blindness Professional Certification Board (NBPCB). The alternative approach is detailed in section 4 of this report.
Aditya, Ram N. National Orientation and Mobility Certification Study. "Development of Client Outcome Measure for Examining Training Effectiveness." Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness, Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, LA.
This report, prepared by the principal investigator, documents a series of studies undertaken at International University under subcontract to the Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness at Louisiana Tech University. These studies form part of a long-term project to evaluate the effectiveness of an approach to O&M training developed as an alternative to the conventional training practices that have evolved under the direction of professional associations in the blindness rehabilitation field over the last several decades.