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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

AFB eNews

February 2009

AFB's 2009 Josephine L. Taylor Leadership Institute Takes on Capitol Hill

Capitol Building, Washington, 

DCAFB's 2009 Josephine L. Taylor Leadership Institute (JLTLI) is heading to Washington, DC, in a few weeks, following on the heels of the recent inauguration of the 44th president of the United States. Our nation has embarked on a new era of change—a new administration, new ideas, and new opportunity—and what better place than Washington to discuss how this will impact our field.

On March 5-7, 2009, the conference will bring together experts and beginners across the vision loss field for a rousing debate on how to leverage the changes in Washington to improve health care, education, rehabilitation, and employment for individuals with vision loss. The agenda for the 2009 JLTLI, posted online and updated frequently, consists of sessions and seminars covering topics such as digital technology, physical activity and children, helpful online resources, and more.

Some of the highlights include:

  • Managing Finances in this Economy—Keynote Speaker, James McLaughlin, AFB Trustee and Managing Director of Convergent Wealth Advisors
  • Visits to Capitol Hill
  • Panel discussion to foster meaningful research agendas on living and learning with vision loss, facilitated by Stacy Kelly, Ed.D., COMS, Policy Research Associate, AFB
  • Technology exhibit fair
  • Access Awards ceremony and reception on Thursday, March 5
  • Migel Medal Award luncheon honoring Dr. Susan J. Spungin, on Saturday, March 7

This year's JLTLI is filled with informative sessions presented by dynamic speakers from organizations across the country. With all that's going on, the networking lunch on Friday, March 6, will be the perfect time to catch up with old friends and make new contacts. The conference ends on Saturday afternoon, March 7, which leaves you plenty of time to sightsee and tour our nation's capitol. Who knows, you may even catch a glimpse of the president!

Conference registration is now open, so be sure to secure your spot for this exciting event. The conference will be held at the Washington Marriott, so take advantage of the special conference room rate of $189 per night and make your reservations online by February 18, 2009. More details about the agenda, hotel, and registration can be found on the JLTLI section of AFB's web site. The official conference invite was mailed out mid-January, so if you haven't received one, or if you would like more information, please contact Caitlin McFeely at 212-502-7674 or

News and Announcements

Assistive Technology For Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired: A Guide to Assessment
AFB Press is pleased to announce the publication of Assistive Technology for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired: A Guide to Assessment, by Ike Presley and Frances Mary D'Andrea. This user-friendly, comprehensive manual explains the essential role of assistive technology in the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired and the common kinds of technology used. This exciting new publication presents a structured process for conducting a technology assessment, detailed assessment forms that can be used to determine students' technology needs and solutions to address them, and advice on the writing of program recommendations based on assessment results. It's a great resource for teachers of students with visual impairments, members of the IEP team, administrators, technology professionals, and anyone who needs to keep up with the ever-changing world of technology. For more information, visit AFB's online bookstore or contact AFB Press at

Connections Fall/Winter 2008 Newsletter
AFB's Professional Development and CareerConnect® Department is pleased to present the Fall/Winter 2008 issue of Connections, a free newsletter that brings you the latest news about AFB's professional development activities and events, along with news from CareerConnect, and other articles and related information you might find of interest.

In this issue read about:

  • AFB's commitment to professional development
  • Dr. Susan Spungin's career at AFB
  • How AFB staff are encouraging low vision rehabilitation in ophthalmology
  • The importance of reading and how the Braille Bug Reading Club can encourage children to read

JVIB Unveils a Brand New Look!
The latest issue of the Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness (JVIB) features a completely new look! The redesign of the online journal brings readers more information on every page and integrates reorganized links for JVIB readers, authors, and advertisers. The new design nevertheless continues to allow users to access important content for free, such as the popular Speaker's Corner and Perspectives features, and essays on the JVIB centennial and the Louis Braille bicentennial celebration. For more information, e-mail Rebecca Burrichter at

Check out what's new on CareerConnect!
This month on AFB CareerConnect, you'll find some pretty exciting new additions. Check out the newest "Just for Fun!" article "I Love to Jog," which details Sylvie Kashdan's life journey from childhood play in her neighborhood, to treks across New York City, and her life of jogging for 27 years. The most recent virtual worksite lets you see firsthand the tools and technology that allow a person who is blind or visually impaired to work in a retail or restaurant setting. Also, our good friend Aaron is back on his quest to land the perfect job—one that will suit his interests and prepare him for his future career. Listen to this old-time radio skit to discover how he creates an outstanding resume that will impress his potential employer.

Assistive Technology Assessment for Students Who are Blind or Visually Impaired
AFB's Ike Presley will conduct a training on April 23-25, 2009, in Atlanta, Georgia, on assistive technology assessments for students who are blind or visually impaired. Participants will learn to identify the major components of an assistive technology assessment: the gathering of the needed background information, assessing the student's options for accessing printed and electronic information, determining appropriate writing tools, and determining the tools needed to produce materials for the student in alternate formats.

If you are interested in participating, please contact Shirley Landrum at, or call 404-525-2303 to request an application. Applications must be received by March 12, 2009. There are 24 spaces available; applicants will be notified of their acceptance status within one week of the submission deadline.

Purchasing AFB Press Books Just Got Easier!
AFB Press has entered into an agreement with Lightning Source, Inc.—an international, print-on-demand provider—to make its books more readily available to retailers, distributors, and wholesalers abroad. Books will be printed at Lightning Source's UK facility and can be shipped within the UK, Europe, Africa, and Australasia. International customers can now enjoy faster delivery of books and cheaper shipping fees.

AFB Blog
Check out AFB's blog and read about changing perceptions, Apple's accessibility improvements, AFB's Access to Drug Labels Survey results, Dialogue in the Dark, Google employee TV Raman, and much more!

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