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.


Salute to Canine Comrades
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  Guide dogs transform the lives of their human partners by serving as a companion, helper, aide, best friend and close member of the family. In honor of National Assistance Dog Week, we celebrate the contributions of these remarkable animals with photos and words contributed by several members and friends of RFB&D. National Assistance Dog Week, which began on August 8 and runs through the 14th, was initiated "to honor the devoted, hardworking assistance dogs who are helping individuals mitigate their disability-related limitations." The event recognizes puppy raisers and trainers, educates the public about assistance dogs, and recognizes heroic deeds performed by these remarkable animals in our communities. Pictured at right: Kristen Witucki, who works in RFB&D's Member Services department, and her guide dog Tad. Kristen writes: "My dog guide's greatest talent is to part the seas of travelers in crowded train stations, so that the way is suddenly made clear. Our walks together are the first dances in which I've participated as an equal, as we negotiate the art of kinesthetic call and response." Denna Lambert works at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and recently was honored with a National Achievement Award scholarship from RFB&D. She is pictured below with her guide dog, a 10-year old yellow lab named Denver.
"Denver symbolizes a tool for independence as I have transitioned through multiple phases of life: from college to job hunting, to my first day of employment at NASA, through my travels all over the country for fun and work, through surgery, and finally through my graduation.  "My seamless teamwork with Denver facilitated a greater level of confidence while traveling through the many ups and downs of growing up into a professional woman who happens to be blind." Pictured below: Barry Hyde, who was profiled on this blog a few months ago, with his appropriately named guide dog, Jet.     "My first guide dog, Lincoln inspired me to face each day after the horrific injuries I had suffered in a small aircraft crash in 1998. He gave me the motivation I needed to carry on with life. Lincoln helped me achieve my education through an MS degree in Aeronautics with specializations in Aviation Safety and Aviation Operations.
"Jet replaced Lincoln when he retired from his ten years of service. Now Jet helps me through each day going into downtown Washington, DC for my job at the FAA Headquarters. He is the biggest chick magnet and gets more attention than I do! He is also assisting me as I work towards my doctorate degree in Business Administration with a specialization in Aeronautical Safety."
We were also pleased to receive a photo from Celeste, a long-time friend of RFB&D and member of our national board.  She's pictured below with her guide dog -- crossing the Brooklyn Bridge in her home town, New York City. Celeste writes simply, "Using a guide dog gives me the confidence and ability to go where I want, when I want." Visit the National Assistance Dog Week site for info, news and event updates.  


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