Skip to Content

AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

AFB Leadership Conference 2016 Topics

The following sessions, listed in alphabetical order by title, have been planned for the upcoming AFB Leadership Conference to be held at the Crystal Gateway Marriott on March 3-5, 2016. Please check in periodically as more topics will be added as the schedule is finalized.

Accessible Wireless Phones and Apps for the Blind (Demo Session)

Presenters: Kelly Egan, Sprint Customer Relations Manager, and John Moore, National Customer Relations Manager
Description: A hands-on workshop and roundtable discussion highlighting ways to use our wireless devices to support daily independence.

AccessWorld Magazine Tech Summit and Showcase

Facilitator: Lee Huffman, AccessWorld, Editor and Manager, Technology Information, American Foundation for the Blind
Description: This all-day summit and showcase will feature usable, pertinent information about new accessibility developments in key technologies — from mobile communications and GPS, to advancements in vision research. It will also offer opportunities for attendees to ask burning and detailed questions of these companies’ experts, as well as other leading companies in the mainstream and access technology spaces.

Advancing Policy Priorities: Continuing Our National Conversation on Aging and Vision Loss

Presenters: Mark Richert, Director, Public Policy; and Rebecca Sheffield, Ph.D., Senior Policy Researcher, American Foundation for the Blind
Description: In 2015, AFB gathered extensive feedback from older Americans with vision loss and service providers in response to the White House Conference on Aging. This information was compiled into a report and letter signed by over 70 organizations in the field of blindness and visual impairments, and the letter was sent to the President, congressional issue groups, and numerous federal agencies. This year, congressional and agency representatives have been invited to participate in a panel discussion on the policy priorities identified in the letter and report. Following an overview of the findings from AFB’s 2015 data collection, the distinguished panelists (to be determined) will each share their perspectives on current and future policy approaches to respond to the needs of older Americans who are blind or visually impaired. Attendees and panelists will have multiple opportunities to ask questions, continuing the dialogue that began during last year’s conference and initiating the development of a new National Agenda on Vision and Aging.

AFB Leadership Breakout Session: Linking the CVI Range with Cognition

Presenter: Christine Roman-Lantzy, Ph.D., Director, Pediatric VIEW Program, Western Pennsylvania Hospital, Pittsburgh
Description: The CVI Range is a reliable and valid vision assessment used (1) to measure the degree of affect of CVI, (2) to plan interventions, and (3) to monitor improvements in functional vision. But the goal of increased vision falls short if the CVI Range scores are not integrated into the fundamentals of learning. This session will be used to integrate the principles of visual plasticity, the CVI Range scores and essential learning concepts as a method to facilitate improvements in both functional vision AND cognition.

AFB/VisionServe Alliance Leadership Seminar: Part I. Declaring War on Student and Client Dependency: The Leader’s Essential Role

Presenters: Michael Bina, Ph.D., President and CEO, Maryland School for the Blind, and Marjorie Kaiser, Ph.D., Superintendent, South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Description: While our schools and agency mission statements are independence-centered—and our services independence-focused—do our daily actions align with our formal words? Are our kind hearts sabotaging our students’ and clients’ current and future independence? Are our good intentions unknowingly enabling dependency and, in effect, hurting students? Are we overprotecting our students from the reality of natural consequences? Are we holding them back by not allowing them to assume calculated risks that are necessary in developing independence? Do we provide unnecessary verbal and physical prompts? Is it quicker and more convenient to do certain things for them that they could do for themselves? Are we helping them when they don’t need it because we are afraid they will get injured? Are we setting the same age-appropriate high expectations that we would set for someone who is not blind or visually impaired? Are we denying them the personal thrill of doing something on their own? Are we robbing them of self-confidence and eroding their personal dignity? Do we really know how our clients or students feel about what we say and do? Is it possible that they are too kind to be fully honest with us? Is it time that we are more honest with ourselves?

This thought-provoking session will ask tough questions. Leaders will be challenged to carefully examine if their mission and services are aligned with the daily operations within their agencies or schools to promote independence. Are we getting the job done? Is it time for the agencies or schools to establish a formal Declaration of Independence? Independence is not rocket science, but it is a fine art.

AFB/VisionServe Alliance Leadership Seminar: Part Part II. The Parent Perspective on the Role Specialized Schools Play in Facilitating Independence: A National Study

Description: This session will provide summary data of a national study conducted by Drs. Anne Corn, Kelly Lusk, and Michael Bina on how parents of blind and visually impaired children and young adults view specialized services in terms of providing them the skills, experiences and self-confidence for current and future independent functioning, career readiness, socialization, and meaningful integration in their communities. This study was a replication of a 1995 study done by the same researchers. The data between the two studies will be compared and implications for school and rehabilitation leaders will discussed.

Android Accessibility Features

Presenters: Google Team
Description: Mobile devices running the Android platform are becoming increasingly popular. These products are being increasingly adopted by consumers, educational institutions and business organizations. Google will describe and demonstrate the built-in accessibility features in the Android platform.

An Offbeat and Humorous Look at American Politics and Presidential Elections from a Blind British Political Reporter

Presenter: Gary O'Donoghue, BBC News Washington Political Correspondent
Description: Mr. O’Donogue, who lost his sight at the age of eight, will share his inspiring personal story of becoming a successful political reporter and foreign correspondent. He will discuss the tactics, strategies, and organizational skills a blind reporter uses in his work. Gary will also offer his unique observations about American politics and presidential elections from an international perspective.

Bank on It—Financial Literacy and People with Vision Loss: What Do We Know and How Can We Help

Presenters: Rebecca Sheffield, Ph.D., Senior Policy Researcher, American Foundation for the Blind, and Thomas Foley, World Institute on Disability
Description: With the generous support of JPMorgan Chase, the American Foundation for the Blind and the World Institute on Disability have embarked on an assessment of the financial literacy of people who are blind or visually impaired. How "banked" are they, what challenges exist to their full participation and independence in financial contexts, and how can financial literacy be improved? Findings from consumer research and useful consumer-oriented training will be discussed.

The Balancing Act: A Fall Prevention Program for Older Adults with Vision Loss

Presenter: Anne Cowles, B.S., MPH, U-ExCEL Fitness Director
Description: U-ExCEL Balancing Act (BA) is a balance improvement program designed for anyone who is looking to improve his or her balance. Recent projects have helped BA adapt to a variety of audiences, specifically older adults and people with vision impairment. This presentation will take attendees through the program, important terminology and functions of the program, and how to administer the program to clients. There will be opportunities to practice the variety of balance progressions and to make suggestions on how to further improve the program. In addition, there will be a review of the most recent research involving BA with older adults with vision impairment. This presentation will be a fun opportunity to learn more about balance, how to improve it through BA's simple curriculum, and put it to practice.

Cerebral/Cortical Visual Impairment: A National Conversation

Facilitators: George Abbott, Director, AFB Press and Professional Development, American Foundation for the Blind; and Susan Sullivan, CVI Project Leader, American Printing House for the Blind
Presenters:Chris Clark-Bischke, Ph.D., Director, Multi-University Consortium, University of Utah; Michelle Clyne, M.S.Ed., TVI, Deaf-Blind Specialist, EI, Coordinator, Project Reach: Illinois Deaf-Blind Services, Philip J. Rock Center and School; Mindy Ely, EL VISTA Project, Coordinator, Illinois State University; Christine Roman-Lantzy, Ph.D., Director, Pediatric VIEW Program, Western Pennsylvania Hospital, Pittsburgh; > Amanda Hall Lueck, Ph.D., Professor Emerita, San Francisco State University; Dr. Lotfi Merabet, OD, Ph.D., MPH, Director, The Laboratory for Visual Neuroplasticity, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School; and Mary Morse, Ph.D., TVI, Private Practice
Description: This two-part workshop will feature panels of speakers who will focus on specific topics. Each speaker will be allotted a designated amount of time to address a previously provided question on their topic. Each session will be followed by Q&A from the audience.

The program is designed to support participants and presenters in developing practical outcomes that will positively impact the CVI population. It is anticipated that these outcomes will be carried over for further collaboration and action at upcoming conferences.

The intended audience is teachers of students with visual impairments, orientation and mobility specialists, early interventionists, parents, administrators, and university faculty with a firm understanding of CVI. It is assumed that participants possess basic knowledge about CVI. There will be no introductory material. AFB will be offering a bundled package of relevant JVIB articles as recommended reading prior to the workshop. Attendance is limited and will be on a first-come, first-served basis. This is an all-day workshop with lunch included.

Chrome Accessibility Features (Demo Session)

Presenter: Google Team
Description: Chromebooks are highly secure, speedy, and affordable internet-based laptops. These products are being increasingly adopted by consumer, educational, and business organizations. Google will describe and demonstrate the built-in accessibility features in the Chrome OS platform.

Comprehensive Low Vision Outreach Services for Children with Low Vision

Presenters: Rebecca Coakley, MA, CLVT, Director of Outreach; and Paula A. Lang, MA, CLVT, Low Vision Education Specialist, West Virginia University Eye Institute
Description: Treating a child with low vision requires a comprehensive approach. Using this approach in evaluating the “child” proves to be more successful than solely focusing on the “low vision needs of the child.” Areas of focus are medical, low vision, education, technology, optical devices, social, and additional areas of the expanded core curriculum.

Creating Supportive Environments for People with Low Vision

Presenter: Henry L. Green, Hon. AIA, President of the National Institute of Building Sciences and Member of the Institute’s Low Vision Design Committee (LVDC)
Description: Low vision—chronic visual impairments that cannot be reversed by medical or optical intervention—causes difficulty with reading, mobility, visual motor activities, and interpreting visual information for 19 million Americans today. With the number of people with low vision increasing as the population ages, members of the building industry who own, design, and manage buildings of all types need to increase their awareness of how people with low vision can be helped by a well-thought-out physical environment. Mr. Green will share the committee’s understanding of the connections between low vision and the physical environment and outline specific recommendations to support people with low vision in their quest to lead independent and fulfilled lives. He will also will share the Institute’s progress on creating guidelines and standards for low vision design, working toward the ultimate goal of low vision requirements adoptable as part of the building code.

Cultivating Tomorrow’s Leaders: Career Changers, Doing What It Takes to Succeed, and Preparing Employees and the Next Generation

Presenters: Karen Pal, MPH, SPHR, Business Leaders Program Director, National Industries for the Blind; Tony Stephens, MA, Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs, American Council of the Blind; and Cindy Watson, MBA, Director, Center on Vision Loss and Web Programs, American Foundation for the Blind
Description: Twelve years and over 8,000 participants since its inception, this program has continued to energize, inspire and empower people who are blind by offering learning and professional development opportunities to participants all over the country. The National Industries for the Blind (NIB) Business Leaders Program has a track record where participants of this, and other NIB employment programs, are expanding job options and rising to the top. In this session, you will find out what these programs offer, how they have evolved since 2003, and how NIB, by making leadership development and employment a priority, has helped people who are blind become more well-rounded professionals with an array of business skills they can use to take their careers to the next level.

Electronic Magnifiers with OCR: Should I Buy One?

Presenter: Ike Presley, National Project Manager, American Foundation for the Blind
Description: Most manufacturers of electronic/video magnifiers are now offering at least one model with an optical character recognition (OCR) feature. These include desktop models, flex-arm camera models that connect to laptop computers, and some portable models. Each manufacturer emphasizes features that they hope will allow their product to stand out from the others. This type of marketing can lead to consumer confusion when determining which model will best meet the needs of the end user.

Electronic magnifiers with OCR features are useful tools for a wide spectrum of the population with low vision including K-12 and college students, working-age adults, and older adults. These tools allow users to complete a variety of tasks including educational, employment and personal tasks which require accessing printed information and some electronic information. This presentation will provide participants with information about the various features available and strategies for determining which features might best assist a user in completing specific tasks.

Encouraging Seniors to Adopt Technology for Independence, Communication, and Daily Living

Moderator: Lee Huffman
Panelists: Neva Fairchild, National Independent Living Associate, American Foundation for the Blind; Steve Kelley, MA, CVRT, Vision Rehabilitation Therapist, The Iris Network; and Ike Presley, National Project Manager, American Foundation for the Blind
Description: This panel will discuss how seniors can live more fulfilling lives through adopting both high- and low-tech devices and methods. Information about smartphone and tablet access technology, combined with the apps most relevant to a senior’s needs, will be addressed. Lower-tech devices for in and around the home will also be presented. To help make the adoption of technology easier for seniors, panelists will provide information and resources that can be used to help obtain technology at lower costs. Suggested resources for training seniors on the use of technology will also be included.

Facebook Accessibility Advancements for Desktop Web Browsers

Presenters: Matt King and Jeffrey Wieland, Facebook Accessibility Team
Description: Facebook has been making significant changes to its News Feed and Messenger products to improve the experience for people using them with a screen reader in a desktop web browser. This workshop will demonstrate how users can take advantage of these changes and get more enjoyment from these Facebook products.

From the Classroom to the Workplace: Incorporating Cloud-based Mobile Access into One’s Technology Toolkit

Presenter: Larry L. Lewis, Jr., President and Founder, Flying Blind, LLC
Description: This session explores how today’s built-in accessibility tools on mobile devices can be used to facilitate the acquisition, interaction with, and sharing of information between blind and sighted classmates, teachers, employees, and employers. The presenter will demonstrate concrete examples of how one might obtain, manipulate, and share different types of data using a mobile device.

Forum on the Future of Vision Rehabilitation Professionals: Strategies for Vitality in a Complex Environment

Description: In light of New York State's move toward licensure of vision rehabilitation professionals under a single designation, "Visual Impairment Specialist," the winding history of efforts to establish Medicare reimbursement, and the ongoing challenges of a shortage of personnel and training programs, this open forum will explore the opportunities and obstacles that our fields face in ensuring the ongoing viability and vitality of services offered by orientation and mobility specialists, vision rehab therapists, and low vision therapists.

Google Apps with a Screen Reader (Demo Session)

Presenter: Google Team
Description: Google Apps like Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Gmail, and Calendar are powerful productivity tools for creating content, sharing that content, and collaborating with others. Google will describe and demonstrate using Google Apps with screen readers on different platforms.

”Hire” Vision for Older Workers

Presenters: Detra Bannister, CareerConnect Employment Specialist, American Foundation for the Bind; Neva Fairchild, National Independent Living Associate, American Foundation for the Blind; and John McMahon, Director, DBVI, Maine
Description: This presentation will cover issues and strategies related to older workers with vision loss, including self-advocacy, accommodations, demonstration programs, consumer experience, and national mainstream perspectives.

Innovative Transition Programming from Perkins

Presenters: Kate Katulak, Co-facilitator, Pre-Employment Program, Perkins; Karen Wolffe, Ph.D., Career Counseling and Consultation, LLC; and Teri Turgeon, Director, Community Programs, Perkins
Description: Known throughout the world for its stellar on-campus programming for students with visual impairments and additional disabilities, Perkins is expanding its offerings to meet the transition needs of students attending mainstream programs off-campus. While most students with visual impairments, including those with disabilities, are served in mainstream schools, it has been an ongoing concern amongst professionals and families that all of these students’ disability-specific needs cannot be met in regular education classrooms. This is a particular concern as students are preparing to exit out of public schools and join the workforce, pursue higher education, or start families of their own. Perkins faculty and staff have built and continue to build innovative transition programs to meet their needs: the recently launched Pre-Employment Program (a 12-week employability skills training geared specifically to students with visual impairments) and new programs under construction focusing on areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum that may not have received adequate attention in academic programs such as social skills, recreation and leisure, independent living skills, career education, etc. and a supported employment program geared to the needs of students with visual impairments who need work experiences but cannot capture them without assistance in their home communities.

Leaders and Visionaries: Reminiscences, Reflections, and Recommendations

Presenters: Carl Augusto, President and CEO, American Foundation for the Blind, and Tuck Tinsley, American Printing House for the Blind
Description: Few leaders have transformed our field and the major organizations they represent more than Carl Augusto and Tuck Tinsley. Together they will discuss the dramatic changes in education, rehabilitation, technology, and services for people with vision loss. Anchoring their views with the deep perspective of history, they will describe current challenges and encourage our field to tackle those challenges head on.

Learn About Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder, Presented By Vanda Pharmaceuticals (Demo Session)

Presenter: Trey Williams, Ph.D., Senior Medical Science Liaison
Description: Attend a live event to learn about Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder and have your questions answered by a medical expert. The presentation will aim to educate everyone present about Non-24, its symptoms, its impact, and its prevalence in the blindness community. Following the event there will be an opportunity to sign up to receive additional information from Vanda regarding Non-24. Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder, also known as Non-24, is a serious, chronic disorder that disrupts a person’s circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms tell your body when to sleep and when to wake, among other things. Non-24 affects up to 70 percent of people who are blind, whether they were born blind or became blind later in life.

Learning Nonvisual Desktop Access (NVDA): From Basic Concepts to Advanced Tips and Tricks

Presenters: Aaron Preece, National Technology Associate, and William Reuschel, Manager, Technical Solutions, American Foundation for the Blind
Description: AFB Tech will present a guided tutorial session for learning how to get started with Nonvisual Desktop Access (NVDA). In the first hour, NVDA installation, basic navigation within Windows, and the most important NVDA hotkeys will be covered. In the second hour, more advanced topics such as navigating the web, examining some of NVDA’s customizable settings, and using Microsoft Word will be presented. Participants are encouraged to bring their own laptops to follow along.

Let Your Fingers Do the Walking: Integrating Non-Visual, Mobile GPS Strategies into Independent Travel

Presenter: Larry L. Lewis, Jr., President and Founder, Flying Blind, LLC
Description: This session will provide an overview of the global positioning system (GPS) as an excellent means of providing information to the nonvisual traveler on his or her current location, surroundings, and most appropriate vehicular and pedestrian routes for arriving at a desired location. The presenter will demonstrate a variety of mobile GPS solutions and present a variety of options to meet a number of independent travel needs.

Making Our Case for Future Success: Effective Communications by Authentic Voices

Presenter: Jack Levine, Founder, 4Generations Institute
Description: All of us can communicate more effectively if we bring our emotional and authentic selves into the conversation. This inspiring presentation shines the light of reality on the importance of being conscious of why we chose the profession, appreciating the families we serve, honoring the colleagues who are our partners and finding new ways to advocate for the causes we care about.

Mentoring Students with Blindness from College to Employment

Presenter: Karla B. Antonelli, Postdoctoral Associate, and Michele McDonnall, Director and Research Professor, National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision
Description: Graduates with fresh college degrees are not, unfortunately, guaranteed jobs in the modern economy. College graduates with visual impairments or blindness often face additional challenges to obtaining employment. Mentors with blindness who have already successfully navigated job seeking and employment can share their experience and knowledge with students entering the work force, and bolster their chances for success in that transition. Results will be presented from an experimental research study that paired graduating college students with mentors in their field, including how mentoring affected students’ assertiveness in job seeking, student and mentor descriptions of their experience, and employment outcomes. Lessons learned and recommendations for mentoring programs will be discussed.

National Transition Group Meeting

Facilitators: Dael Cohen, Transition Services Coordinator, Overbrook School for the Blind; Lori Pulliam, Director of Transition, Washington State School for the Blind, and Alicia Wolfe, AFB CareerConnect Content Consultant and Teacher of the Visually Impaired
Description: Don't leave this year's AFB Leadership Conference without a plan to stay connected with your colleagues in the field of preparing students and young adults who are blind or visually impaired for Transition! New and returning participants of the National Transition Summit are invited to participate in an informal discussion to share what was learned from attending sessions at the conference that can be implemented to improve transition services. Participants will also discuss strategies to increase employment outcomes and success of students pursuing higher education as related to knowledge gained from conference sessions. A plan will be developed for the Summit Members to continue to share information, resources and instructional strategies during the coming year as related to the provision of Transition Services for students and young adults who are blind or visually impaired. Participants who attend this reflective session will leave organized and energized as a Transition Professional.

One Parent’s Perspective and Resources for Families

Presenter: Emily Coleman, Parent, Educator, and Contributor for FamilyConnect
Description: As a parent to a child who is blind, a teacher of students with visual impairments (TVI) , and administrator in Washington state, Emily has a unique parent’s perspective. Emily will share personal anecdotes and quotes from her blog on FamilyConnect (www.FamilyConnect.org) while also highlighting resources she found helpful along the way. By sharing her story, Emily hopes to help parents feel justified and understood, and also hopes to help educators better understand the daily technical and emotional struggles faced by their families. Although many professionals understand the parent perspective, it doesn’t hurt to be reminded on occasion through the experiences of one.

Orientation and Mobility for Seniors with Vision Loss: An Interactive Experience

Presenters: Laura Bozeman, Ph.D., COMS, CLVT, Associate Professor/Director, Vision Studies UMass Boston School for Global Inclusion and Social Development, and Nora Griffin-Shirley, Ph.D., Coordinator, O&M Program and Director, Virginia Murray Sowell Center for Research and Education In Sensory Disabilities, Texas Tech University
Description: This session will cover the changes in health, living options and support systems that may be associated with aging in the context of orientation and mobility and the importance of physical fitness to improve health, reduce falls and to support mobility. It will also discuss adjustments in assessment and instructional strategies in orientation and mobility (O&M) that may be necessary for the older adult with visual impairment and the role administrators can play in the provision of O&M services to older adults with vision loss.

Power in Numbers: Making the Most of Census Data from the Country to the Community Level

Presenter: Nesreen Khashan, Data Dissemination Specialist, U.S. Census Bureau
Description: The U.S. Census Bureau is the leading source of quality data about the nation's people and economy. It honors privacy, protects confidentiality, shares its expertise globally, and conducts its work openly. This one-hour presentation will show how to access American Community Survey statistics about persons with disabilities at local geographic levels. The American Community Survey is the agency’s largest demographic and housing data that produces annual estimates for more than 65 indicators at granular geographic levels. Learn about how this survey is conducted and how it reaches survey respondents with visual disabilities in residential and institutional settings. Get tips on how to use data-access tools on census.gov that can help you conduct community needs assessments or complete your grant funding proposals.

Recalculating Our Route: Updating Our GPS to Navigate the Future of Services and Opportunities for People with Vision loss

Moderator: Mark Richert, Esq., Director, Public Policy and Senior Advisor, Strategic Initiatives, American Foundation for the Blind
Panelists Kimberly Avila, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Coordinator for the Virginia Consortium for Teacher Preparation in Visual Impairment, George Mason University; Olaya Landa-Vialard, Ed.D., Assistant Professor and Coordinator, Low Vision Blindness Program, Illinois State University; Anil Lewis, Executive Director, National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute; and Tony Stephens, MA, Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs, American Council of the Blind
Description: What macro-level policy, economic, and professional dynamics in play today do we need to understand to best protect and strengthen services? Where can we expect services and rights for kids, working-age adults, and seniors with vision loss to be headed in the years to come, and what do we need to do now as a field to respond to these developments?

This moderated interactive discussion among expert leaders and observers will help us identify critical issues "points of interest" as we consider destinations for our field's future.

Relating Communities of Practice (CoPs) and TVIs’ Technology Proficiency: Research Findings and Recommendations for Practice

Presenter: Yue-Ting Siu, Ph.D., TVI, tplus Educational Vision Services
Description: As tools for learning and instructional content become increasingly digital, it is more important than ever that students who are blind or visually impaired use necessary technologies for independent and timely access to information. Teachers of students with visual impairments (TVIs) are often gatekeepers between students and technology, and must understand how to use technology in flexible ways as tools, student needs, and classroom demands change.

Dr. Siu and her colleague, Valerie Morash, Ph.D., recognize that new models of training are necessary to better support the TVIs’ development of technology proficiency (Siu and Morash, 2014). This session will report data from over 500 TVIs in the United States and Canada and propose that in order to keep up with the fast-changing pace of technology information, teachers can sustain their technology skills via membership to a like-minded community of practice (Wenger, 1998). Findings from their research will inform specific recommendations to better support TVIs’ technology training and ongoing professional development.

Serving the Educational Needs of the Range of Children Who Have Cerebral Visual Impairment: Issues and Methods

Presenter: Amanda Hall Lueck, Ph.D., Professor of Special Education, San Francisco State University
Description: Behavioral consequences of cerebral visual impairment in children can manifest in a variety of ways. They need to be addressed in educational programs so that these children receive the services they require. The ways in which this might impact service delivery is on everyone’s mind when looking at the broad needs of this population. This session will discuss (1) behavioral consequences of cerebral visual impairment, (2) identifying the concerns of the full range of children with cerebral visual impairment, and (3) working with these children in multidisciplinary teams. Issues will be raised surrounding services needs and service options for the field to consider.

Setting and Achieving Personal and Professional Goals

Presenter: Erika Arbogast, CEO, Blind and Vision Rehab Services of Pittsburgh
Description: As a young leader, the presenter of this workshop will discuss personal and shared experiences that have proven successful time and time again. It will help participants realize the importance of taking reasonable risks, setting both personal and professional goals, and achieving them. This workshop is an excellent choice for individuals looking for personal and professional growth, as well as those interested in advancing in their careers. It is also perfect for those who get bored with repetition and are always looking for excitement. The presentation will be upbeat, informal, and is designed to leave the learner motivated and ready to take on the world!

To Be or Not to Be…A Student with Low Vision Who Is an Independent and Safe Traveler

Presenter: Marjorie Wood, M.Ed., COMS, Austin, TX
Description: This session looks at current O&M services being provided for those children who are identified as low vision in various parts of the U.S. As states are beginning to recognize the importance the role of O&M plays in a child’s life, are we, as O&M specialists, meeting those needs? How and why are we evaluating and serving?

Today’s Access Technology, the Accompanying Concerns, and What Should Tomorrow Bring for Blind Professionals

Presenter: Dominic Gagliano, Vice President Sales Americas, and Greg Stilson, Product Manager, Blindness Products, HumanWare
Description: Today there are more technology options available for blind and visually impaired professionals than ever before. From very specialized assistive technology products to mainstream devices, there are many options for everyone to consider. During this presentation, participants will identify three primary categories of access technology; determine the strengths and weaknesses of each segment; and determine where assistive technology will fit going forward.

Transition Summit

Facilitators: Dael Cohen, Transition Services Coordinator, Overbrook School for the Blind; Lori Pulliam, Director of Transition, Washington State School for the Blind, and Alicia Wolfe, AFB CareerConnect Content Consultant and Teacher of the Visually Impaired
Description: This all-day session will allow participants to share and learn about topics in the field of youth transition from their colleagues around the country. The session will be topic focused and participants can share what they are doing in their states related to these topics. We hope to have a presentation and discussion on the “latest and greatest” Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) information. Participants from community rehabilitation agencies, schools, state vocational rehabilitation agencies, universities, and other organizations are welcome to participate and share!

UEB: It's Time, Now What?

Presenter: Kathryn D. Botsford, Ph.D., C.O.M.S., NBPTS: ECYAEN-VI, Executive Director, Vision Education Research
Description: The first part of this presentation will review the results of recent focus group interviews of consumers', professionals', and families' perspectives on the transition to the Unified English Braille (UEB) Code. Using these stories as a grounding foundation, this presentation will then explore resources and strategies for helping students of all ages start learning about the changes to the braille code.

What Does It Take to Find Employment as an Accessibility Specialist

Presenters: Matt Ater, Vice President of Services, Freedom Scientific, and Jonathan Avila, Chief Accessibility Officer, SSB BART Group
Description: Companies and organizations (large and small) are hiring individuals to address accessibility of products and services leading to employment opportunities for people with vision loss. In this session, two well-known accessibility experts will describe what it takes to become an accessibility specialist or consultant. They will outline the skills needed, how best to acquire the relevant knowledge and experience, and provide guidance on how to determine if the job is a good fit. In addition, they will look at challenges involved in accessibility work.

Writing Tasks: Tools and Tips

Presenter: Neva Fairchild, National Independent Living Associate, American Foundation for the Blind
Description: Vision loss often means dramatically changing the way one reads, but it also impacts the way one writes. Whether it is writing a grocery list for someone else to read, or jotting down a reminder of an appointment, effective writing tools are needed by anyone who cannot use a pencil and pad. This hands-on session will explore a wide variety of options for different levels of vision and people of all ages. From braille to tablets and 20/20 pens to 6 Dot, you will be able to explore the world of writing from a different perspective.

services icon Directory of Services

book icon Featured Book

O & M for Independent LivingO&M for Independent Living

O&M for Independent Living

Join Our Mission

Your generosity makes our programs possible.