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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

AFB eNews

December 2014

Spotlight on…

The Year in Review

Image: Confetti on silver background with the following copy: Start the New Year with a cheer! Let us join the world's procession marching towards a glad tomorrow. - Helen Keller, 1921

Happy New Year! The past year has been marked by a number of exciting accomplishments—we look forward to a new year of expanding possibilities for people with vision loss. Our top 5 accomplishments of 2014:

1) Held our most successful Leadership Conference to date, with a record number of attendees, sponsors, and partners

2) Drafted the landmark Cogswell-Macy Act to ensure children with vision or hearing loss get the education they deserve

3) Expanded our app offerings, making AccessNote, our note-taking app for people with vision loss, available for free and creating a new CareerConnect® app

4) Released ECC Essentials: Teaching the Expanded Core Curriculum to Students with Visual Impairments, the most comprehensive book of its kind for classroom teachers of children with vision loss

5) Created a Spanish version of our popular Getting Started Kit for people new to vision loss

For more information on our accomplishments and services, read our 2014 Annual Report.

Hot Topics

Join Us for the Joint AFB Leadership and Arizona AER Conference in Phoenix

Collage of images representing Arizona (cacti, flowers, Phoenix skyline, palm trees)

Registration is now open for the 2015 AFB Leadership Conference (AFBLC), which will be held in conjunction with the Arizona chapter of the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER), the professional association in the blindness field, at the Phoenix Renaissance Downtown, April 9-11. Fees are $125 for one day, $200 for two days, and $250 for three days. AFBLC attendees are eligible for a special hotel rate of just $179/night at the beautiful Renaissance Phoenix Downtown. Please visit the Marriott reservations page or call 1-800-309-8138 to book your room today.

This annual conference covers the most pressing and relevant topics in the field of blindness and offers many opportunities to learn from the best and brightest minds in our field, make new connections, and reunite with old friends while earning ACVREP and CRC CEUs.

The AFBLC attracts established and emerging leaders in the blindness field. Conference attendees include technology experts, corporate representatives, university professors, teachers of students with visual impairments, orientation and mobility instructors, rehabilitation professionals, and parents. They come from diverse organizations and institutions spanning the public and private sectors, including school districts, schools for the blind, Veterans Administrations, hospitals, private agencies, and universities.

The 2014 AFBLC attracted over 440 attendees from 39 states and 8 countries.

Celebrating World Braille Day with AFB

Each year on January 4, we honor the birth of Louis Braille, the inventor of braille, with World Braille Day. This year, AFB gathered its top 10 list of braille resources and articles. Be sure to bookmark and share this great list! And check out FamilyConnect's blog post in honor of Louis Braille.

AFB CareerConnect’s Employment Tips

AFB CareerConnect closed the holiday season and year with 12 days of blog posts packed with tips and advice on navigating the employment process as an individual who is blind or visually impaired. You can find these posts and much more on the CareerConnect Blog and in the archive. Go back and review the tips, stories, and much more shared throughout 2014.

AFB CareerConnect also posted four new Our Stories pieces during the month of December about the hosts of the popular show, Cooking Without Looking. Read these stories or one of our over a hundred other stories on successful people who are blind or visually impaired.

AccessWorld Wins National Recognition with Eddie Award

AccessWorld, AFB’s online accessible technology magazine, received an Honorable Mention in its category, Association / Non-Profit (Consumer) – Standalone Digital Magazine at the 2014 Eddie & Ozzie Awards Ceremony in New York City. The Eddie and Ozzie Awards celebrate magazine editorial and design excellence. Fellow award recipients include Time, Reader's Digest, and National Geographic.

Tools for Professional Development

AFB eLearning Center to Launch Webinar Series on Physical Education

The AFB eLearning Center will offer a four-part webinar series designed to show how students with visual impairments can participate in regular physical education and activities. Co-produced with AER, Moving to Learn Series: Adapted PE for Student with Visual Impairments will be presented by known experts in the field of adapted physical education.

It has been well documented that physical activity can have a positive impact on overall health. However, school-aged individuals with visual impairments tend to be less active than their sighted peers, as well as others with disabilities. The series discusses strategies to improve physical activity participation. Webinars in the series include:

Webinar 1: An Overview of Adapted Physical Education for People with Visual Impairments, presented by Lauren J. Lieberman, Ph.D.

Webinar 2: Object Control Skills and Motor Development in Children with Visual Impairments and Blindness, presented by Pamela Haibach, Ph.D.

Webinar 3: Locomotor Skills and Motor Development in Children with Visual Impairments and Blindness, presented by Pamela Haibach, Ph.D.

Webinar 4: Physical Activity for Youth and Adolescents with Visual Impairment, presented by Justin A. Haegle, M.Ed.

The series is expected to be launched in February 2015 and is available for purchase from the AFB Bookstore. All webinars have been approved for continuing education credit by ACVREP and can be purchased individually or as a package.

Live Call in Q&A Session for the Webinar: An Introduction to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

The free follow-up question and answer session for the webinar, An Introduction to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, will be held on January 23rd at 2:00 p.m. EST. The dial-in number is 1-888-480-6981 and the participant passcode is 1520035.

The webinar and follow-up Q&A are tailored for service providers who work with economically vulnerable consumers.

If you have not yet taken this FREE webinar, there is still plenty of time before the Q&A session on January 23. Participants can access the 60-minute webinar through the AFB Bookstore. Login instructions will be provided once the bookstore process is complete. Like all AFB eLearning offerings, this pre-recorded webinar is available 24/7 at the learner’s convenience.

Print JVIB Subscription Option Returns by Popular Demand

The Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness (JVIB) is pleased to announce the return of a print subscription option for individual subscribers. The print option was removed as a choice for subscribers in 2013, when JVIB became a completely digital, online publication. Although many subscribers were pleased with the new digital and e-Book options, others said they preferred reading print, and asked for a return of the print subscription. New and less expensive on-demand printing options helped to make the return of print JVIB possible.

The individual premium print subscription is $129 and includes all of the benefits of the online premium subscription—24/7 online access, complete archives back to 1994, Spanish articles library, and e-book versions of JVIB. It also includes six print issues yearly, shipped to the subscriber.

An institutional premium print subscription is also available for organizations and libraries.

To subscribe, please visit

Awards and Events

AFB Names 2015 Migel Medal Recipients

The 2014 Migel Medal recipients are Judy Brewer, Gaylen Kapperman, Ed.D., and Rosanne Silberman, Ed.D.

The AFB Migel Medal was established in 1937 by the late M.C. Migel, AFB's first chairman, to honor professionals and volunteers whose dedication and achievements improve the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired.

Migel Medals are traditionally presented to recipients at AFB’s annual Leadership Conference.

About the Awardees

Judy Brewer directs the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and is a principle research scientist at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). She directs projects that help ensure that Web technologies support accessibility for people with disabilities. Her work includes coordinating development of accessibility guidelines for Web content, browsers, mobile applications and authoring tools; improvement of resources for evaluation and repair of Web sites; development of education and outreach resources; exploration of research and development topics which may impact future Web accessibility; and promoting harmonization of Web accessibility standards internationally. WAI standards and guidelines are used by many governments and organizations around the world to help ensure equal access to the Information Society.

Dr. Gaylen Kapperman is a professor emeritus at Northern Illinois University (NIU), where he served for much of the past 40 years as the coordinator of the university’s visual disabilities program. In addition to his work at NIU, he is the president and CEO of the Research and Development Institute, which he founded in 1992. The Research and Development Institute is a nonprofit organization dedicated to carrying out research and development activities in the area of assistive technology and mathematics for persons who are blind. Dr. Kapperman’s major interests are assistive technology, mathematics and sex education for blind and visually disabled students.

Dr. Rosanne Silberman is a professor of special education and coordinator of the Graduate Teacher Preparation Programs in Blindness and Visual Impairment and Severe Disabilities Including Deafblindness at Hunter College of the City University of New York. Her distinguished career spans over 50 years in the fields of blindness and visual impairments and multiple disabilities. Over the course of more than 40 years, Dr. Silberman has created four major graduate programs at Hunter College related to these low-incidence disabilities. She has obtained more than $10 million in federal, state and private foundation grants for Hunter College, providing tuition support for hundreds of teacher candidates in the field of blindness and visual impairment and multiple disabilities.

From the AFB Blogs

Helen Keller: A Christmas Tale

Helen Keller recounts an early Christmas memory in this excerpt from The Approach of Christmas.

Blind Boy Has White Cane Taken from Him, Replaced with a Pool Toy

AFB CareerConnect Program Manager Joe Strechay discusses the case of a little boy whose white cane was taken away from him because of behavior reasons.

Meeting the Needs of Students with Visual Impairments Who Are English-Language Learners

AFB Researcher Rebecca Sheffield explores the unique needs of students who are English-language learners who are blind or visually impaired.

Fitbit and Up24: Are These Health-Tracking Devices Accessible to Exercisers Who Are Blind?

AFB’s Director of Web Services, Crista Earl, takes a look at the accessibility of popular health-tracking devices.

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