Early-Bird Rates Expire Soon—Register Now for the 2014 AFB Leadership Conference!
Register today for the 2014 Leadership Conference, which covers the latest in technology, special education, employment, and more. The conference will take place February 27-March 1 at the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge. Early-bird rates expire January 24, so register today!
A working agenda is now available; this will be updated with more sessions, so please check back frequently. Read about Thursday's special seminars, including a Tech Summit featuring talks from Google and Facebook representatives, a National Transition Network Summit, and the VisionServe Alliance Training.
Friday will kick off with a keynote by Google's Kannan Pashupathy, who will talk about his company's accessibility efforts. Friday and Saturday's concurrent sessions cover employment, O&M, education, and professional development, as well as a special VisionServe Alliance Leadership Training track. Speakers include Karen Wolffe, Marjorie Wood, Mike May, Lauren Lieberman, and Nancy Miller.
While you're registering, take the opportunity to book your room at the marvelous New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge for just $189/night with our special group rate. This rate is good from Wednesday, February 26, through Monday, March 3, so stay a while and explore the city that never sleeps! This discounted rate disappears on February 1, 2014, so make your reservation today. If you would prefer to make your reservation by phone, just call 1-888-436-3759 and let the operator know that you are attending the conference.
If you're interested in sponsorship, advertising, or exhibiting opportunities, we have many options available.
The 2014 AFB Leadership Conference is made possible by the generous sponsorship of
- Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc.
- Delta Gamma
- American Printing House for the Blind
- Time Warner Cable
- Helen Keller Services for the Blind
Chicago Lighthouse and American Foundation for the Blind Join Forces to Market Adaptive Technologies
To ensure people with vision loss and their loved ones have easy access to adaptive technologies—from large-button telephones to closed-circuit TVs to talking scales—The Chicago Lighthouse and AFB have teamed up to market popular assistive products.
One key aspect of the partnership involves Esther's Place at the AFB Center on Vision Loss, an 1800-square-foot, fully furnished model home that showcases over 500 assistive technology products designed to make life easier for people with vision loss. Information on how to order each product will be provided for purchase via the Lighthouse's Tools for Living Store. The Tools for Living Store, one of the first in the country to accommodate consumers who are blind or visually impaired, has more than 700 products, including electronic goods and a wide variety of independent living aids.
Visitors to AFB.org reading up on products and information will now be able to order select products directly from the Lighthouse's website with a single click. To view AFB's Product Database, visit www.afb.org/products, or visit the Lighthouse site and click "shop online."
Low Vision Devices Getting Much-Needed Attention from Congress
For decades, the vision loss community has been advocating for Medicare's coverage of assistive technologies, particularly low vision devices. Currently, Medicare will not pay for any device that happens to use a lens.
Now, for the first time, federal legislation would begin to change this unacceptable national policy by establishing a nationwide Medicare demonstration project to evaluate the fiscal impact of a permanent change in Medicare coverage to pay for low vision devices. The legislation, H.R. 3749, introduced by Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), would initiate a five-year demonstration project that would put low vision devices in the hands of Medicare beneficiaries who are determined by an ophthalmologist or optometrist to be a good candidate for a low vision device. Once the legislation is enacted and the demonstration project is complete, Congress will have significantly richer data upon which to consider changes to the Medicare program to make coverage of low vision devices, especially the most costly devices, a permanent feature of the program.
You are encouraged to contact your Congressional representatives and urge them to co-sponsor H.R. 3749. We are actively working on Senate champions and will keep you updated as progress is made.
Diabetes Material Enhanced on VisionAware
VisionAware already has a comprehensive section on diabetes, but now that has been enhanced with a new series by Margaret Cleary, RN, CVRT, CDE, entitled Coping with Loss as a Result of Diabetes and Visual Impairment.
As a young professional, Cleary had the good fortune to work with Father Thomas Carroll, who established the first civilian facility offering comprehensive rehabilitation for the newly blinded, renamed the Carroll Center in 1972. In his seminal book, Blindness, Father Carroll describes 20 different losses and restorations that a person may experience when vision loss or blindness occurs. Cleary, who is well known for her work in the field as a diabetes educator, has taken the losses and restorations that Carroll described and included her own observations as they relate to people with diabetes.
Readers may also be interested in this article by Greg Rosenthal, MD, about empowering doctors and patients to take charge of diabetes.
Tools for Professional Development
AFB eLearning Center Webinars Help Make Sense of Low-Vision Devices
The AFB eLearning Center is pleased to announce the availability of its newest webinar offering: Low Vision Nonoptical Devices: Improving Visibility for People with Low Vision.
People with low vision are often very resourceful at finding ways to accomplish visually demanding tasks by using devices that do not magnify or enlarge the image. Tools that do not magnify, known as nonoptical devices, often allow people to accomplish tasks more efficiently and more comfortably. This webinar, Low Vision Nonoptical Devices: Improving Visibility for People with Low Vision, targeted at service providers and individuals with low vision, explores the wide variety of nonoptical devices currently available including lighting options, filters/sunglasses, reading/bookstands, and writing devices. Participants will receive strategies for analyzing various product features that can assist with matching the right tool to the individual and the task to be completed. This webinar has been approved by ACVREP for one hour of continuing education credit. It is approximately an hour long and you may return as often as you like for one year from the date of purchase.
Don't delay. Order Low Vision Nonoptical Devices: Improving Visibility for People with Low Vision today!
JVIB Seeks Contributions for 2014 Special Issue on Service Delivery Models in Education
For the past several decades, educational services for students with visual impairments have moved from geographically separate special schools to the heart of local communities. Other forces have strongly challenged education for these students, including budget cutbacks, an ever-increasing emphasis on high-stakes testing, professional development requirements, and the rise of the Common Core Curriculum. The Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness (JVIB) will address these issues in its 2014 Special Issue on Service Delivery Models in Education: Special Schools, Itinerant Programs with guest editors Dr. Eugene McMahon and Dr. Sharon Sacks. The journal invites papers on the topic to be submitted through February 28, 2014. Guidelines for contributors are available online at www.afb.org/jvib_guidelines.asp and e-mail submissions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. The special issue will be published in November 2014.
Connect with FamilyConnect!
FamilyConnect offers a wealth of resources for parents and caregivers of children with vision loss. Here are some of the ways you can get involved:
- Join the community! You'll receive free, customized e-mail alerts, and much more
- Connect on our message boards—you can ask any question, and benefit from other parents' hard-won experience
- Comment on FamilyConnect's blogs, or write a guest post
- Opt into FamilyFriends, a social networking area where you can share photos, links, status updates, and private messages
- Link to us—help other families find the support they need
- Follow us on Facebook
Awards and Events
James Kesteloot and Oral Miller Named AFB's 2014 Migel Medal Recipients
The AFB Migel Medal will be presented to James Kesteloot and Oral Miller during the 2014 AFB Leadership Conference in Brooklyn, New York. The 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.
James M. Kesteloot has had a distinguished career in the blindness field. Kesteloot served over 40 years with The Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired and was the president and executive director from 1996 until his retirement in 2009. He was appointed by the Illinois Governors Thompson and Edgar to the Blind Services Planning Council and by Chicago's Mayor Richard M. Daley to the Mayor's Task Force on Employment of People with Disabilities. In 2010, President Obama appointed Kesteloot to serve as a member on the Committee for Purchase from People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled (now known as the United States AbilityOne Commission). He is currently a member of the American Foundation for the Blind's Board of Trustees. Kesteloot received his B.S. from Loyola University, and his M.S. in Management of Rehabilitation Services from DePaul University.
Oral Miller has dedicated his life to significantly improving the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired, having first become a founding member of the American Blind Lawyers Association and serving there as treasurer, director, and president at various times. This activity eventually led him to the American Council of the Blind, where he served as president from 1978 to 1981, and as a member of the Board of Directors for many years. Miller has been a leader in the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes and is highly regarded for his sustained work on behalf of that organization. Miller, a concurrent graduate of the Kentucky School for the Blind and Louisville Male High School, received a B.A. Degree from Princeton University and a J.D. Degree from the University of Chicago Law School.
At the Migel Medal ceremony, the American Foundation for the Blind will also pay tribute to Helen Keller, the famous disabilities rights activist who worked for AFB for more than 44 years, by presenting her with the Migel Medal, posthumously. Keller served on the Migel selection committee during her time at AFB, and was therefore never nominated for the honor.
Jane Erin Named 2014 Corinne Kirchner Research Award Recipient
Jane N. Erin, Ph.D., will receive the esteemed the 2014 Corinne Kirchner Research Award, which honors individuals whose leadership and dedication illuminate the most pressing needs of people with vision loss through timely, innovative and authoritative research.
Dr. Erin is a professor at The University of Arizona, where she has coordinated the program in Visual Impairment since 1994. From 1984 to 1994, she was on the faculty at the University of Texas, and previously taught and supervised at the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children. In 1996, Dr. Erin received the national Mary K. Bauman Award as the Outstanding Educator in Visual Impairment from the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually impaired. She served as editor-in-chief of the JVIB from 1998 to 2001, and is currently practice editor and editor emerita for the journal. Dr. Erin is co-author of Visual Impairments and Learning and co-editor of Diversity and Visual Impairment and Foundations of Low Vision: Clinical and Functional Perspectives, Second Edition.
The Corinne Kirchner Research Award will be presented on February 28, 2014, at the 2014 AFB Leadership Conference in Brooklyn, NY.
From the AFB Blog
Need Holiday Gift Ideas? We Can Help
AFB staff have compiled this fantastic and comprehensive gift list for all the good girls and boys (and adults!) on your list.
Like Our Programs? Support Us!
The holidays and Giving Tuesday may be over, but our work isn’t. Here are 10 reasons to support AFB this holiday season and all year long.
Assessing a Child for O&M Instruction
Do you know what to consider when assessing a child for orientation and mobility (O&M) training? We offer some insights through this except from The Art and Science of Teaching Orientation and Mobility to Persons with Visual Impairments.
New Rules for Air Travelers with Disabilities
Mark Richert, our director of Public Policy, discusses the Department of Transportation's new regulations on airline website and airport kiosk accessibility to support AFB this holiday season and all year long.
AFB in the News
Please check out our "In the News" webpage for recent media articles featuring AFB, our experts, and issues related to blindness and vision loss.
Stay Informed Through Social Networking
AFB employs a number of social networking tools to keep you in the loop: