Learning Ally Blog: Access and Achievement

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Now more than ever, people with learning and visual disabilities are flourishing in the classroom, launching productive careers and becoming assets in their communities. This blog spotlights remarkable individuals who demonstrate that having a visual or print disability is no barrier to educational success.


Learning Ally's Rich History Honoring Veterans
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The heart of Learning Ally's mission has always been to serve blind/visually impaired veterans. You can help by making a tax-deductible donation in honor or in memory of someone you love. Read on to learn our full story, then consider a donation today. Anne T. MacdonaldIn 1948 while working with the New York Public Library's Women's Auxiliary, Anne T. Macdonald was faced with a problem that troubled her deeply. Soldiers who were blinded in the recent World War were asking her for accessible textbooks, but she had very few available to give them. Most could not read the few books she had in braille as their loss of sight was recent, and live readers were few and far between. The recently passed G.I. Bill of Rights guaranteed a college education to all veterans, but how do you attend college if you can't read the needed material? Macdonald decided she must do something!
Under the motto of "education is a right, not a privilege," she organized members of the women's auxiliary to form Recording for the Blind.
RecorderThey began small, starting in the attic of the New York Public Library. There, they recorded textbooks using six-inch vinyl phonograph discs that held around 12 minutes of recording per side. Only a short four years later, Macdonald expanded the service by opening recording studios in seven additional cities! Recording for the Blind became Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic in 1995, as we found an increasing need to serve those who have dyslexia. In 2011, our services expanded beyond audiobooks, and we changed our name to Learning Ally. Mike in UniformToday, Learning Ally continues to serve thousands of veterans. Visual impairment remains one of the most common injuries suffered by soldiers coming home from combat.
"Thank you for all of your help over the last five years.  I could not have finished my degree without Learning Ally." ~ Michael Jernigan, retired U.S. Marine Corps serviceman
Our online library has more than 82,000 human-read audio textbooks and literature titles. Browse and compare our collection against your branch’s continuing education reading list. To Join A certified print disability such as a learning disability like dyslexia or a visual impairment or physical disability is required for membership. You may be able to get assistance with this documentation through the VA. Learn how to join here or call us at 800.221.4792 to get started.  Would you like to help? Learning Ally is a national nonprofit that continues to serve blind / visually impaired veterans today. We also have a  College Success program to help students who are blind navigate college life with peer-to-peer mentoring. Find out how to give a secure, tax deductible donation here. You can donate in honor or in memory of a loved you by clicking the box that says "dedicate my donation in honor or in memory of someone I love."  donate button


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