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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Aging and Vision Loss Track


1:30 pm-4:30 pm
ILOB Program Directors and Staff Closed Meeting


8:30 am-9:30 am
Recalculating Our Route: Updating Our GPS to Navigate the Future of Services and Opportunities for People with Vision Loss

Moderator: Mark Richert, Director, Public Policy and Senior Advisor, Strategic Initiatives, American Foundation for 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.

10:15 am-11:15 am and 11:30 am-12:30 am
Advancing Policy Priorities: Continuing Our National Conversation on Aging and Vision Loss: Part One and Part Two

Presenters: Mark Richert, Director, Public Policy; Priscilla Rogers, Program Manager, VisionAware; American Foundation for the Blind; 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.

12:30 pm-1:45 pm

1:45 pm-2:45 pm
Orientation and Mobility for Seniors with Vision Loss: An Interactive Experience

Presenters: Laura Bozeman, Ph.D., COMS, CLVT; and Nora Griffin-Shirley, Ph.D.
Description: This presentation will provide participants with information in the changes in health, living options and support systems that may be associated with aging in the context of orientation and mobility; the importance of physical fitness to improve health, reduce falls and to support mobility; the 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.

3:00 pm-4:00 pm
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.


8:30 am-9:30 am
Plenary (TBA)

9:45 am-10:45 am
Encouraging Seniors to Adopt Technology for Independence, Communication, and Daily Living

Moderator: Lee Huffman, AccessWorld, Editor and Manager, Technology Information, American Foundation for the Blind
Panelists: Neva Fairchild, National Independent Living and Employment Specialist, American Foundation for the Blind; Steve Kelley, CVRT,CRC, 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.

11:00 am-12:00 pm
Hire Vision for Older Workers

Moderator: Neva Fairchild, National Independent Living and Employment Specialist, American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
Panelists: Neva Fairchild; John McMahon, Former Director, DBVI, Maine; Gil Johnson, Former Director, National Employment Center, AFB; and Andre Webb, older consumer.
Description: This presentation will cover issues and strategies related to older workers with vision loss, including self-advocacy, accommodations, demonstration programs, and consumer experience.

12:00 pm-2:30 pm
Migel Medal Ceremony and Lunch

2:30 pm-3:30 pm
ILOB Program Directors and Staff Closed Meeting

Presenter: Lynda Jones, CVRT
Description: During this session the presenter will interact with program managers to gather input on the VisionAware curriculum she is developing. Also program directors will complete conference post-test and evaluation.

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