Natalie Carter Barraga
Natalie Barraga (1915-2014) was born in Texas. Her degrees included a B.A. from the University of North Texas (1938); M.Ed. From The University of Texas (1957); and the Ed.D. from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University (1963). She was married and had one daughter, Karen.
Natalie Barraga began her career in education by teaching home economics in the public schools. While in New York for her daughter’s corrective orthopedic braces, she taught kindergarten for two and a half years at the New York Institute for the Blind. When she returned to Texas, she took a position as home economics teacher at the Texas School for the Blind. Beginning in 1963, she accepted an appointment to the special education faculty at the University of Texas, Austin. In 1984, she retired from the University of Texas, but has remained very active by teaching, researching, and advising at the University; by consulting nationally and internationally; and by advocating for continued improvements in services for blind children and their parents.
Natalie Barraga held memberships in a number of organizations and honor societies including Phi Kappa Phi; Alpha Chi; Kappa Delta Pi; Pi Lambda Theta; Delta Kappa Gamma; American Academy of Optometry; Council for Exceptional Children; AER; and the International Council for Education of Visually Impaired.
Though Natalie Barraga is probably best known for her writings on low vision and visual efficiency, her heart’s first love was for blind and visually impaired preschoolers and their parents. She authored with Jane Erin the popular text Visual Handicaps and Learning, (3rd Edition, 1992). Her numerous publications include four book chapters, three monographs, and 28 journal articles. From 1968 to 1972, she served as the editor of the journal: Education of the Visually Handicapped.
Natalie Barraga received over 20 national and international honors and awards. Among them are the Natalie Barraga Center for Studies and Research in Low Vision, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1997; special recognition for 50 years of service for Low Vision around the world, Madrid, Spain, 1996; AFB’s Migel Medal for Outstanding Service to Blind Persons, 1994; Distinguished Alumna Award, Peabody College, 1988; NAPVI’s Award for Distinguished Service to Parents and Children, 1986; and AER’s Ambrose M. Shotwell Memorial Award for National and International Service to Visually Impaired Persons, 1984. She has been named in a number of Who’s Who including Outstanding Educators of America, The International Authors and Writer’s Who’s Who, Who’s Who in American Education, and World’s Who’s Who of Women.
Photo Captions: Natalie Barraga receiving the Apollo Award, 1979; Natalie Barraga at the 2002 APH Annual Meeting; Natalie Barraga and Samuel Ashcroft at the 2002 APH Annual Meeting (© Paul Lewis).
Natalie Barraga interviewed by Michael Bina, April 2014
Natalie Barraga accepts 2008 APH Wings of Freedom Award: