Resolutions

2021 Resolutions

 

Resolution 2021-01

 

Regarding Access to Electronic Health Records

WHEREAS, electronic health records are becoming more prevalent in our daily lives; and

WHEREAS, these records are not always accessible by blind South Carolinians; and

WHEREAS, Under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act and under Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, electronic medical records must already be accessible yet many health care providers in South Carolina still maintain electronic platforms which are not accessible to the blind and low vision;

WHEREAS, lack of accessibility to electronic health records places the health, independence and right to privacy of the blind at risk; and

WHEREAS, it is essential that blind South Carolinians have full accessibility to electronic health records in order to establish independence and improve their health, well-being and overall quality of life and maintain their right to privacy; now therefore,

 

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina in convention assembled this twenty second day of August, 2021, that this organization call upon the South Carolina State Legislature to amend the Physicians’ Patient Records Act to require medical providers to adopt policies that ensure electronic health records platforms are fully accessible to blind individuals.

 

Resolution 2021-02

 

Regarding Requiring Minimum Standards for the Training of Blind Individuals Provided Through the South Carolina Commission for the Blind

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness does not define one’s potential and that, if given the proper training and technology, a blind individual can fully compete with sighted peers; and

WHEREAS, a blind individual is more likely to succeed in employment with at least a basic knowledge of Braille, technology, independent living skills, and orientation and mobility; and

WHEREAS, one of the purposes of the South Carolina Commission for the Blind (SCCB) is to address barriers to employment for blind individuals by providing adequate training and guidance about current technology; and WHEREAS, the amount and level of training can vary widely for each SCCB Client, depending on the SCCB counselor’s knowledge and understanding about blindness; and

WHEREAS, clients may wait months or years before they can obtain training in basic skills; and

WHEREAS, although clients have the right to exercise informed choice about where to receive training, they are not always made aware of this right and are sometimes forced to receive training that does not adequately address their blindness needs; and

WHEREAS, clients are often discouraged by their counselors from attending out-of-state training centers, even if the in-state agency does not meet the needs of the clients’ employment goals: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina convention assembled this twenty-second day of August, 2021, that this organization urge the South Carolina Commission for the Blind to establish a recommended list of client pre-employment skills necessary to support employment, and that during the Individual Plan for Employment (IPE) process, clients must be provided the opportunity to accept  or reject offers of training for these skills. Key employment skills which may be included on a recommended list of pre-employment skills list might include: training in contracted braille; training in basic computer skills; effectively operating a smart phone; preparing a variety of meals and safely storing food; performing independent living skills including using a variety of home appliances; training in basic mobility skills including crossing different types of intersections and including lighted intersections; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a client must agree that they have been offered satisfactory opportunities to learn all these pre-employment skills before their case may be closed; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a client must be informed in writing that only after they agree that these pre-employment skills have been offered and completed, their case may be closed; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that if services required to be provided to meet the pre-employment skills are not readily available in time to address a client’s disability needs, for example, if Braille or orientation and mobility training are unavailable for multiple months, then the SCCB counselor must identify and  fund alternative sources of those services, or demonstrate to the client that those services are not available from alternative sources; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that all clients shall be informed and provided with information about training centers outside of South Carolina, including the training centers operated by the National Federation of the Blind, in order for clients to examine and evaluate which center adequately addresses their blindness pre-employment needs.

 

Resolution 2021-03

 

Regarding Knowledge Competency and Uniformity of Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors Employed by the South Carolina Commission for the Blind

Whereas, the South Carolina Commission for the Blind (SCCB) serves blind individuals of all ages in the state of South Carolina; and

Whereas, not all blind individuals are considered experts on their vocational rehabilitation rights as listed in Section 103 of the Rehabilitation Act; and

Whereas, it is the expectation that vocational rehabilitation counselors hired by SCCB be both qualified and knowledgeable regarding all services providable to clients; and

Whereas, not all clients currently receive appropriate and/or adequate information pertaining to the services available to them by SCCB according to the aforementioned law; and

Whereas, clients currently served by SCCB receive widely varied information, depending largely on who currently serves as their vocational rehabilitation counselor; therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina in convention assembled this twenty-fourth day of August, 2021 that SCCB implement practices to better train all current and future vocational rehabilitation counselors, as well as those who internally shift from serving one client population to another, regarding what services clients are entitled to receive in order to establish uniformity of disseminated information; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that SCCB’s vocational rehabilitation counselors be required to prove their consistent knowledge competency by way of quarterly, mandatory assessments; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that SCCB create a uniform curriculum that can be provided to clients in order to both increase client knowledge surrounding the rights denoted in the aforementioned law and better foster and environment that cultivates strong self-advocates.

 

Resolution 2021-04

 

Regarding the dropping of JAWS by Richland School District One

Whereas students and teachers who are blind use screen reading software to complete their work; and

Whereas the leading screen reading software currently in use worldwide is JAWS for Windows; and

Whereas a significant role of the education system is to prepare students to enter the work force; and

Whereas the South Carolina Commission for the Blind and other rehabilitation agencies tend to provide JAWS for Windows for their consumers entering the work force; and

Whereas the administration of Richland School District One has ruled that JAWS For Windows cannot be used in its schools by either staff or students because several features pose a risk to its privacy policies; and

Whereas any of these features can be disabled at the Network level; and

Whereas JAWS is currently deployed at all levels of government, including the most secure networks, and

Whereas the alternative access methods allowed by Richland One’s administration are either limited in functionality (Windows Narrator) or Open source (NVDA) and provide a far greater risk to network security than JAWS; now therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED, by the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina in convention assembled this twenty second day of August, 2021, that this organization call upon the Administration of Richland School District One to abolish this policy and consult with experts who understand JAWS to assist them in resolving their security concerns to allow their blind staff and students to utilize the most effective product for their accessibility needs.