October is Blindness Awareness Month
October is National Blindness Awareness Month, an initiative started to help the public understand the realities of visual impairment and how it affects the world population. According to recent CDC data, approximately six million Americans have vision loss and one million have blindness.
Navigating the world as a blind person or someone with limited sight is challenging. Nearly all parts of our built environment were designed without taking into consideration the needs of those with disabilities, including blindness. As a result of stigma and access barriers, the unemployment rate for the blind and visually impaired is higher than the average population, even within the disability community – around 70%. Employment barriers for the blind and visually impaired can range from a lack of transportation to the misconception by employers that accommodations for blind or low vision employees are beyond their reach.
Due to high levels of unemployment blindness or loss of sight exacerbates poverty and can lead to financial insecurity and social isolation. This can also result in limited access to health-care services and other social services.
PLUS, in recognition of Blindness Awareness Month the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) is pleased to share experiences of students with visual impairments and their parents and teachers, highlighting how we are expanding access to reading and learning for students across the United States.