How Natalie Affected the Field of Vision:
Information on the bill Natalie was involved in getting passed in 1975.
Texas House Bill 1673, passed into law in 1975 by the 64th Legislature was landmark legislation that led the way in guaranteeing an appropriate education for all blind and visually impaired children. Texas HB 1673 can be called "An Education Bill of Rights" for visually handicapped children in Texas. It provided that blind children were entitled to an education that addressed their individual need, especially those related to their visual impairments, which would be documented in a Individual Written Service Plan jointly developed by a multidisciplinary team of parents and school personnel. The bill called for the creation of a pilot Diagnostic Center at the Texas School for the Blind. It gave the school its own governance and it created the Governor's Coordinating Office for Visually Handicapped charged with integrating statewide services to visually impaired children and adults.
What this legislative bill did was to place children in their home school districts and be educated (for the most part) and integrated with sighted kids. TSBVI provides assistance to the school districts and training to teachers on how to serve blind and visually impaired students best. We also provide day services to students for the Expanded Core Curriculum with subjects such as braille and O&M, which non-vision teachers do not teach.
From Phil Hatlen’s Placement document
As we all know, the work of Natalie Barraga dramatically changed our educational systems again. Her book, “Increased Visual Behavior in Low Vision Children”, published by the American Foundation for the Blind in 1964, challenged the entire profession to reconsider whether placement should be based on visual acuity. Some professionals had questioned why a child with 20/300 vision who could read 12-point type should learn Braille. The answer was always the same. The legally blind child needed to learn Braille. Excessive use of her remaining vision would potentially limit the amount of vision she would have as an adult. Barraga’s research clearly indicated that, with few exceptions, remaining vision would not be harmed by using it. In fact, using a program of visual stimulation, it was possible to increase utilization of remaining vision, making it even more useful for the legally blind child who was really low vision (note the change in terms—at about the time of Barraga’s work, many professionals wanted to drop the term “partially sighted” and adopt the term “low vision”. I believe that Barraga’s work helped this change in terms occur.
Up until this revelation, the United States had many 'Sight-saving' schools. After Barraga proved that this didn't actually work, the 'sight-saving' part of Blind School names disappeared. And until this revelation, children would take breaks for 15 minutes to rest their eyes after they spent time reading Braille or large type.