WORD - The New York Institute for Special Education

The Light Need Not Fail
These Children Can Find Normal Life In Their
Ability To Do Anything They Want (1941)
IT'S hard living always in the dark, never seeing blue sky or sparkling snow or a busy street.
There Is pity in the words, "He's blind," But out New York City's Pelham Parkway Is a brick
Georgian school which means the light of achievement and a normal life to youngsters who
cannot see. "The New York Institute for the Education of the Blind" reads the sign on the red
and white administration building, and out on the baseball field, walking along neat grassbordered paths are students who are learning to make their unseeing way In a seeing world.
Over two hundred boys and girls are learning how to master a trade or the fundamentals of a
progression SO that when they graduate they can earn their ways in a world which they can
never see. Free, and available to blind children regardless or race, color or creed, the Institute
assures the blind that the light need not fall
Image: Female student using a large puzzle map Caption: Developing a keen sense fo touch,
blind Institute children like this girl study history and geography by means of pieces which can
be fitted into a relief map. This youngster carefully places Nazi-conquered Czechoslovakia into
its place.
Image: Group of student walking upstairs in Schermerhorn. Caption: By the tedious process of
being led about until they become accustomed to the New York Institute’s layout, these
students have learned to walk confidently through the building. Note high fence-guards on the
top of the stair rails.
Image: Braille alphabet card. Caption: Braille is the door to a normal life for the blind. Once they
have mastered the rather complex system based on the position of one or more of six possible
raised dots arranged in a rectangle, they can read and write as well as seeing children.
EVEN though a man’s eyes cannot see the sun, his hands can be trained to work a switchboard,
to repair an engine. At the New York Institute blind youngsters with trained minds and hands
are proving to themselves and to society that they can do whatever they want and that they
can be successful, happy citizens.
Few fields are closed to the blind since the Institute and schools like it offer them vocational
training in such diverse subjects as piano tuning, massage, journalism, shoe repairing. AU over
the country are young men and women who have been helped to find jobs by the Institute's
vocational guidance committee and by bureaus for the blind- men and women who are earning
their daily bread as newsstand operators, teachers, farmers. And to Brooklyn College, the
College of the City of New York and other colleges go 25% of each year's graduaLl.ng class, to
get their A.B., their M.A., even their Ph.D. degrees.
If you can imagine running a buzz saw or taking dictation In a pitch black room, you can
understand how remarkable is the fact that the Institute's students learn to become expert
mechanics, secretaries, seamstresses, workers In wrought Iron and basketry.
If you can imagine dashing full tilt down a pitch black passage-way, you can understand how
remarkable is the fact that the Institute has a Lop-notch track team; that It has a fine wrestling
team; that its youngsters play basketball, baseball, go horseback riding at Its summer camp.
If you can imagine creating sculpture without ever seeing a model, with only the touch of the
wet clay to guide your hands, then you can understand the thrill of Institute pupils who turn out
beautiful arts and crafts.
And, if you can imagine-of all things-taking, developing and printing a photograph with an
opaque mask over your eyes, you will know the surge of power that the blind youngsters feel as
they realize that nothing-not even the seeing art of photography- Is closed to them : nothing
can stop them from doing the things on which they set their hearts. You will know why they
want to prove to themselves, to their families and their seeing friends that they can light the
way to a happy, active life from within the darkness which is their heritage.
Image: caption above 8 photographs: Hands That See
Image: student weaver- Weaving is tricky
Image: Student at switchboard-A Braille switchboard
Image: student at lathe- skill at a lathe
Image: Student at piano-A pianist uses Braille score
Image: Student bending iron bar-A wrought iron worker
Image: Student with apparatus-A student designed slide rule
Image: Student using chart-Plotting a graph is hard
Image: Student with camera-Photography is fun
Image: of students playing baseball. Caption: THE Photograph of two blind boys playing
baseball-one of the favorite sports at the Institute was taken by another blind student with a
box camera. The camera was slightly tilted but what amateur has not made a crooked
Image: Full page photograph of 4 girls and one boy with an instructor dissecting a bull frog.
Caption: Biology is taught through touch as blind students gather about their instructor who
dissects a frog, lets them feel blood vessels and organs to learn about anatomy. Biology is
required in both college preparatory and vocational courses.
Image: Three students working on an engine
INSTITUTE BOYS ARE GIVEN TRAINING In useful trades. These boys are studying an automobile
motor while on the left is an airplane motor. Institute boys often become skilled mechanics
after graduation, get good .jobs In that field.
Image: Student and teacher work on dictation
STUDENTS LEARN TO TAKE DOWN DlCTATlON on a Braille shorthand machine, to transcribe it
from the raised symbols on the "ticker tape" by means of a Braille typewriter. Here a shorthand
student takes dictation from his Instructor.
Image: Two students working at a ham radio
MANY A. RADIO "HAM", as well as licensed operators, are blind. Institute boys assemble their
own transmitters and receivers, get to know the theory of radio. A student (left) gets final
Instructions before he applies for his license.
Image: Student using a chisel on a sculpture
A MODERN MICHELANGELO studies sculpture. Arts and crafts offer the blind great opportunity
for aesthetic expression and the institute gives them an opportunity for normal, happy, physical
mental and social development.