Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Leaders and Legends: Douglas Inkster

Douglas Inkster
Inducted 2002
Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field

Doug Inkster (1925-1993) was born in Michigan. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL and a masters in counseling, testing and guidance and a doctorate from Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI in rehabilitation administration. He was wounded in World War II. Doug was married and they had two daughters and a son, all of whom were married before his death in 1993.

Doug Inkster has served with a number of agencies throughout his illustrious career. Early in his career, he served from 1950 to 1960 as the Vocational Rehabilitation Coordinator for the Michigan Rehabilitation Services, Lansing. Then in 1960 he assumed the position of Assistant Regional Representative for the US Department of Health Education and Welfare, Rehabilitation Services Administration, Region V. He was Superintendent of the Illinois Visually Handicapped Institute from 1963 to 1967. For three years he served as Assistant Superintendent of the Chicago State Hospital. Then he broadened his base of experience with shorter terms of employment with a variety of agencies, serving as Director of Vocational Independence Program for the Foundation for the Junior Blind in Los Angeles, as Assistant Executive Director for the National Accreditation Council, as Assistant Director of the Home for Aged Blind in Yonkers, as Executive Director of Vision Enrichment Services, Grand Rapids, and also serving as consultant for REHAB CONCEPTS, Jackson, Michigan.

Doug Inkster will be remembered most for his dynamic leadership and innovative approaches while serving as the Executive Director at the Center for Independent Living in New York from 1972 until his retirement in 1985. He became a national pioneer in the development of adjustment training programs for the older blind and visually impaired population when no other programs of this type existed. During a time in our country when there was a paucity of materials, he developed a set of training manuals for the instruction of independent living skills. Additionally, he strengthened the training and enhanced the acceptability of rehabilitation teacher assistants as a part of the service delivery model.

Many organizations and state services sought his expertise particularly in the areas of rehabilitation administration, program design and evaluation, grant applications, and accreditation. Some of the agencies with whom he consulted included the American Foundation for the Blind, Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind, and state services in New Jersey, South Carolina, Wisconsin, New York, and Puerto Rico. He played a lead role in crafting the first NAC accreditation criteria.

Douglas Inkster Douglas Inkster's Hall of Fame Plaque

Plaque sponsored by the family and friends of Douglas Inkster

About the Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field is dedicated to preserving, honoring, and promoting the tradition of excellence manifested by the specific individuals inducted into the Hall of Fame and through the history of outstanding services provided to people who are blind or visually impaired.

These significant professional colleagues of the recent and distant past are a fascinating cross-section of heroes and pioneers who not only shaped our rich history, philosophy, knowledge and skills, but also give us insights into current and future challenges. These giants shared their personal lives and showed us strategies to ensure that services for blind persons remain unique and specialized. Enjoy their lives and contributions and reflect upon your own list of heroes.

Hall of Fame: Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field is a project of the entire field of blindness. It is curated by the American Printing House for the Blind, a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.

Visit the virtual Hall of Fame for the inspiring stories of many more heroes of the field of blindness.

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