For too long blind youth have been denied full participation in public school science classrooms. Are dissections too dangerous? Should blind youth sit on the sidelines rather than participate and make their own observations? Is it too difficult to understand the stars if you cannot visually observe them in the sky? The answer to these questions is most certainly "no," but all too often parents, teachers, and blind students are simply not aware of how a blind person might actively participate in these activities. Insufficient hands-on materials, few teachers who understand tactile learning, and lack of access to blind adult role models and resources have placed artificial barriers on blind youth in the sciences. The NFB Jernigan Institute recognizes the urgent need to address these artificial barriers and equip regular education teachers, parents, and blind youth themselves with the tools and knowledge to provide greater opportunities in science to blind youth across the nation.
In order to dramatically change the opportunities and resources available to blind youth in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects and careers, the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute has initiated a bold national vision for the next generation of blind explorers—the National Center for Blind Youth in Science (NCBYS).