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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

AFB eNews

December 2010

2010 Year in Review

four photos (from left to right): President Obama, a bust of Helen Keller, a child with two relatives, and designer, Ermakov

The New Year is a time when we make resolutions and look ahead to exciting events to come. It's also a time to look back and remember the big successes of the previous year. For AFB and the 25 million Americans with vision loss, 2010 was a busy and exciting time. It's the year that Apple released the accessible iPad, President Obama signed into law a landmark tech access bill, and the first Helen Keller public exhibit opened in New York City. As December winds to a close, and we prepare to toast 2011, here's a look at some of the key AFB events from 2010.

Landmark Tech Access Bill Signed into Law

2010 brought one of the most significant legislative achievements for people with vision loss in two decades. On October 8, President Obama signed into law the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, the legislation that requires smart phones, television programs and other modern communications technologies to be accessible to people with vision or hearing loss. AFB's public policy team demonstrated tremendous leadership during the bill's legislative process by promoting the inclusion of key provisions and working closely with lawmakers and other organizations in the disability community to advocate for its passage. The law will help Americans with disabilities work more productively, respond to emergencies more effectively, and participate to an even greater degree in society and culture.

First Public Exhibit of Disability-Rights Icon, Helen Keller, Opened in NYC

This year, AFB opened Helen Keller: A Daring Adventure, the first comprehensive exhibit of Keller's letters, photographs, and artifacts. The exhibit, displayed in a special gallery in AFB's New York headquarters, was open to the public in the spring and summer of 2010. Helen Keller: A Daring Adventure garnered national and international media attention and was visited by hundreds of children and adults from around the country and from places as far away as Japan and Switzerland. On display are some of Keller's most prized possessions, bestowed to AFB by Keller who worked for the organization for 44 years. These priceless items were culled from AFB's extensive Helen Keller Archives which contains more than 80,000 of Keller's items. The exhibit remains open for special, prearranged tours.

AFB Press Expanded Groundbreaking Series

In 2010, AFB continued to be the primary source of information for professionals who teach and assist individuals who are blind or visually impaired. This year, AFB Press updated and expanded its award-winning Foundations series, the leading university textbooks on visual impairment used by special education programs around the world. Foundations of Low Vision: Clinical and Functional Perspectives, the ground breaking text that advanced the understanding of the functional reality of low vision, has been updated and expanded, and Foundations of Orientation and Mobility, the essential reference and teaching tool on O&M, has been completely revised and expanded to two volumes by the most prominent experts in the field.

CareerConnect® Launched New Tools for Job Seekers with Vision Loss

2010 brought important new career resources to people with vision loss. This year, CareerConnect launched The Job Seeker's Toolkit for students and job seekers—a self paced online course that offers registrants comprehensive materials on career exploration with guidelines for conducting successful job searches. Courses offered on The Job Seeker's Tool Kit are presented through a number of modules on the ever popular AFB CareerConnect website.

AFB eLearning Center Continued to Fill an Information Gap on Aging

In 2010, AFB expanded resources for professionals—including occupational therapists, nurses, social workers, low vision professionals, and more—through its cutting-edge eLearning Center on Aging and Vision Loss. The AFB eLearning Center gives service providers the knowledge and skills needed to help older Americans with vision loss live active, independent lives. The courses are created by experts from around the country and cover everything from the health and psychological aspects of vision loss to the tools seniors need to take charge of their lives and continue their favorite hobbies and activities. Find out more at

FamilyConnect® en Español Launched in 2010

Spanish speaking families now have access to important resources on raising a child with vision loss through FamilyConnect en Español, the leading web resource for parents of children with visual impairments. On the FamilyConnect web site, visitors can now choose "Leer este artículo en español" or follow the "en español" link on FamilyConnect's home page. For more information visit,

JVIB and ACVREP Partnership

On July 1, the American Foundation for the Blind and the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP) began a historic new partnership through which readers of selected articles in the Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness (JVIB) can earn continuing education units necessary for professional certification. Many practitioners are taking advantage of the ground-breaking new opportunity to further their professional development in a way that is both convenient and cost effective.

AccessWorld® Went Monthly in 2010

In July 2010, AccessWorld, the leading online technology magazine for people with vision loss, became a monthly publication. Under the guidance of new Editor in Chief, Lee Huffman, the team of award-winning writers and evaluators began covering even more ground on topics such as the accessibility of cell phones, screen readers, screen magnifiers, web sites, video magnifiers and more. AccessWorld evaluated the accessibility of essential technology programs and devices in articles like Darren Burton's "Seven Days with the iPad: An Accessibility Evaluation." Another popular review in 2010 compared Google's Android to the Blackberry and iPhone.

Couture Visionary Rocked the Runway in Dallas

In 2010, award-winning Ukrainian designer, Sergey Ermakov, showed us all that you don't need sight to be a world-famous fashion designer. Ermakov, who lost 95% of his vision to diabetic retinopothy at age 11, and is now one of Europe's most acclaimed designers in haute couture, made his American debut this year with the help of the AFB Center on Vision Loss in Dallas. Dallas-area residents came out in droves to see Ermakov's gorgeous designs and to hear his awe-inspiring story; his ornate collection was featured in a number of influential fashion magazines and blogs.

News and Announcements

Registration available for the Josephine L. Taylor Leadership Institute (JLTLI)

Registration is now available for the 2011 Josephine L. Taylor Leadership Institute (JLTLI) in Seattle on March 11-12, at the Downtown Renaissance Seattle Hotel. Pre-conferences will take place on March 10 and will cover a number of topics, such as optic nerve hypoplasia, Orientation and Mobility (O&M), and recreation. For the latest updates on JLTLI, visit


Dear Friends,

We hope this holiday season finds you surrounded by family and good friends, and that you count us among them. With gratitude for all you have done and continue to do for those with vision loss, we wish you and yours a happy and healthy New Year.

Carl R. Augusto
AFB President and CEO

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