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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

AFB Leadership Conference 2017 Agenda

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Exhibit Hall will be open from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm.

7:00 am-8:30 am—Registration (Grand Foyer)

7:30 am-10:00 am—Coffee

8:30 am-9:30 am—Sessions

General Session 100
Keynote Address: Kirk Adams, President and CEO, American Foundation for the Blind
Stephen Garff Marriott Award: Robert (Bob) Vetere, Northrop Grumman
Room: Salons ABJK
Panel Discussion
Moderator: Russell Shaffer, Senior Manager, Global Culture, Diversity and Inclusion, Walmart
Description: Robert (Bob) Vetere from Northrop Grumman and Denna Lambert of NASA will discuss their perspectives on how to advance in one’s career as well as share their insights on the importance of mentorship.

9:30 am-10:00 am—Visit Exhibits

Virginia AER Silent Auction
Room: Jackson Room
Description: Silent auction sponsored by Virginia AER to benefit the Barbara McCarthy Scholarship Fund, which supports annual scholarships for students who are studying to be vision rehabilitation professionals, vocational rehabilitation counselors, orientation and mobility specialists, and teachers for the visually impaired. Donations for the silent auction are welcome and may be given during registration on Thursday from 7:00-8:30 am. Auction will end on Friday, March 3rd at 1:00 pm.

10:00 am-12:00 pm—Sessions

PC 101: AccessWorld Magazine Tech Summit and Showcase (Part 1)
Room: Salon C
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.

PC 102: Transition Summit (Part 1)
Room: Salons FG
Facilitators: Dael Cohen, Formerly Transition Services Coordinator, Overbrook School for the Blind; Neva Fairchild, National IL and Employment Specialist, American Foundation for the Blind; Lori Pulliam, Director of Transition, Washington State School for the Blind; and Alicia Wolfe, M.Ed., AFB Content Consultant and Teacher of the Visually Impaired
Description: During this all-day session, participants will acquire more information about the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) from featured speaker Tony Stephens, Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs of the American Council of the Blind. Participants will also have the opportunity to briefly share the unique and specific ways they are using WIOA funds to provide transition services to teens and young adults who are blind or visually impaired. Other scheduled guests will share their resources and innovative service delivery models for providing comprehensive transition services. Participants from community rehabilitation agencies, schools, state vocational rehabilitation agencies, universities, and other organizations are encouraged to participate as we all work together to implement WIOA across the nation.

PC 103: Education Summit Part 1—The Role and Responsibilities of the TVI Today
Room: Salons ABJK
Facilitators: Mark Richert, Director, Public Policy and Senior Advisor, Strategic Initiatives, and Rebecca Sheffield, Senior Policy Researcher, American Foundation for the Blind
Description: This seminar will explore answers to these critical questions:
  • What are teachers of the visually impaired (TVIs)?
  • Who are they currently serving?
  • Who should they be serving?
  • How should the students they serve be assessed?
  • When are services appropriately withheld?
Topics to be discussed include:
  • What's in a name—are we teachers, consultants, related services personnel?
  • How can we ensure consistent definition of what constitutes a TVI across the states?
  • What does an appropriate learning media assessment look like?
  • How can TVIs best meet the needs of specific populations, such as students with convergence disorder, blind and visually impaired students with autism, etc.?
The morning seminar will be segmented into three parts:
  1. Learning Media Assessments (LMAs), braille, low vision services, dual media, and appropriateness of services
  2. Services to specific populations: BVI & autism, convergence disorder, etc.
  3. Defining and describing the TVI

Working lunch: After participants get and eat their lunch for a bit, brief announcements/hot topic presentations of no more than 5 to 10 minutes each will be made as time permits.

PC 104: Rehabilitation Through 1Touch Self-Defense
Room: Salons DE
Presenter: Stephen Nicholls, Director, 1Touch Project
Description: Few rehabilitation programs have been developed to address the areas of self-confidence, independence, feelings of safety, and socialization for people who are blind or visually impaired. 1Touch aims to address these issues by providing an adapted self-defense curriculum. 1Touch research indicates positive trends in psychosocial aspects. The skills acquisition portion of the research shows a high level of retention of the material.

12:00 pm-2:00 pm—Lunch (on your own)

Virginia AER Silent Auction
Room: Jackson Room

2:00 pm-5:00 pm—Sessions

PC 201: AccessWorld Magazine Tech Summit and Showcase (Part 2)
Room: Salon C
Facilitator: Lee Huffman, AccessWorld, Editor and Manager, Technology Information, American Foundation for the Blind
Description: This is Part 2 of the all-day summit and showcase, which 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.

PC 202: Transition to Work (Part 2)
Room: Salons FG
Facilitators: Dael Cohen, Formerly Transition Services Coordinator, Overbrook School for the Blind; Neva Fairchild, National IL and Employment Specialist, American Foundation for the Blind; Lori Pulliam, Director of Transition, Washington State School for the Blind; and Alicia Wolfe, M.Ed., AFB Content Consultant and Teacher of the Visually Impaired
Description: This is Part 2 of the all-day session in which participants will acquire more information about the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) from featured speaker, Tony Stephens, Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs of the American Council of the Blind. Participants will also have the opportunity to briefly share the unique and specific ways they are using WIOA funds to provide transition services to teens and young adults who are blind or visually impaired. Other scheduled guests will share their resources and innovative service delivery models for providing comprehensive transition services. Participants from community rehabilitation agencies, schools, state vocational rehabilitation agencies, universities, and other organizations are encouraged to participate as we all work together to implement WIOA across the nation.

PC 203: Education Summit Part 2—Refining the Characteristics and Roles of the TVI
Room: Salons ABJK
Facilitators: Mark Richert, Director, Public Policy and Senior Advisor, Strategic Initiatives, and Rebecca Sheffield, Senior Policy Researcher, American Foundation for the Blind
Description: This three-hour session will allow participants to have input into the revision of national standards for teachers of students with visual impairments. Using the current specialty set of initial licensure standards from the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), participants will discuss the specific knowledge, skills, and expected roles of TVIs today given the diversity of the populations to be served.

PC 204: Association of Vision Rehabilitation Therapists (AVRT) Summit
Room: Salons DE

PC 204A: How to Recharge Your Battery, Improve Your Anatomy, and Perk Up Your Personality
Presenters: Susan M. Dalton, M.S.Ed., CVRT, Treasurer, AVRT (and MACRT) and Faculty Member, Northern Illinois University, and Helen Hahn, CVRT, Braille and Academic Instructor, Alphapointe, Kansas City, MO
Description: Recreation activities are outlets to gain health benefits and provide satisfaction and pleasure for the participant. An essential part of human life, recreation comes in many different forms, shaped naturally by individual interests and the community. Discover how to incorporate recreational activities that result in relaxation and improved performance while learning new skills in the rehabilitation process.

PC 204B: Publish or Perish: How Our Profession Will Thrive
Presenter: Susan M. Dalton, M.S.Ed., CVRT, Treasurer, AVRT (and MACRT) and Faculty Member, Northern Illinois University
Description: What we do and the results that come from our interventions in vision rehabilitation need to be documented in order to validate our profession. Learn how you can take your everyday practices and put them into a professional article, what makes a good article, understand the peer-review process and the steps to publication.

PC 204C: VRT Research: Preserving the Profession
Presenters: Elyse Connors, Ph.D., CVRT, COMS, Assistant Professor, Blindness and Low Vision Department, Western Michigan University; Dr. Helen Lee, Ed.D., CVRT, COMS, Associate Professor, Department of Blindness and Low Vision Studies, Western Michigan University; Jennifer Ottowitz, Ms.Ed., CVRT, Instructor, Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired; and Lachelle Smith, CVRT, Program Director and Assistant Professor, Vision Rehabilitation Therapy Program, Salus University.
Description: Have you ever Googled “teaching a VRT skill” and come up with zero or only a few hits? Our field is in desperate need of research specific to VRT content areas. Lack of literature in our discipline has contributed to the lack of visibility and knowledge of our specialty by other health care practitioners, third-party insurers, and to the general public. Have you ever been intimidated about what you could do to get involved? This session discusses how every VRT can contribute.

PC 205: AFB Strategic Planning Session
Room: Madison
Presenters: Arshad Merchant, Managing Director, Boost Social Sector Consulting
Description: Initiated in Fall 2016, the American Foundation for the Blind has been engaged in a strategic planning process, facilitated by a team from Boost Social Sector Consulting. To date, Boost has gathered the perspectives of AFB's staff, Board of Trustees, and a number of field leaders and experts. Additionally, Boost has conducted external research around the scope of work currently being undertaken across the blindness and visual impairment field.
 From these insights and findings, and from extensive collaboration with AFB's senior leadership team and Board of Trustees, AFB's strategic focus is emerging. The purpose of this conference session is to share the key insights and underpinnings of this emerging strategy, and to gather feedback from AFB's peers and stakeholders in order to inform the strategy going forward. Please join this interactive session to help shape the field of blindness and visual impairment for years to come.
Note: There will be no CEU for this session.

12:00 pm-4:30 pm

PC 206: ILOB (Independent Living Older Blind) Program Directors and Staff Meeting
Room: Salon H
12:00 pm-1:00 pm (Lunch for OIB staff only.)
1:00 pm-5:00 pm (Meeting open to all.)
Presenters: Kendra Farrow, Mississippi State University; B. J. LeJeune, National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision; Laurie Collins, Analyst, Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development; Roseann Ashby, RSA Unit Chief, State Monitoring and Program Improvement Division (SMPID); and Priscilla Rogers, Acting Director, Web Programs, American Foundation for the Blind
Description: Participants will have the opportunity to talk to staff from RSA who manage the older blind program. They will have an opportunity to talk to the project managers of the new TA grant for Services to Older Individuals Who Are Blind. They will also hear a presentation about the emerging trends in outcomes of older persons served through the older blind programs.

Friday, March 3, 2017


7:30 am-8:30 am—Foundations of Education Celebration Breakfast

Room: Skyview

Breakfast is the foundation for a day of learning at AFBLC, and a perfect time to celebrate the publication of the NEW third edition of the AFB Press text, Foundations of Education. This long awaited revision is the core textbook for all educators in the field of blindness and visual impairment and has been extensively updated for the 21st century. Enjoy a complimentary hot breakfast, meet the editors and authors, check out the associated online learning materials, and be one of the first leaders in the field to preview this new text. A limited number of copies will be available for sale at a discounted price of $150 for the 2 volume set.

8:00 am-10:00 am—Coffee

8:30 am-9:30 am—General Session

General Session 201: Presentation of 2017 Virginia AER Barbara McCarthy Scholarships to Jessica Caylor, full-time student scholarship, and Becky Peach, part-time student scholarship. Keynote Address by Patricia Walsh
Room: Salons ABJK
Description: Patricia Walsh, blind since childhood, is the author of Blind Ambition: How to Envision Your Limitless Potential and Achieve the Success You Want. She is also an award-winning engineer, champion paratriathlete, and IRONMAN world record holder. Ms. Walsh will share her path to achieving her goals and living a personally enriching and professionally rewarding life.

9:30 am-10:15 am—Visit Exhibits
9:30 am-10:00 am


Virginia AER Silent Auction
Room: Jackson Room

10:15 am-11:15 am—Sessions

Session 101: Advancing Policy Priorities: Continuing Our National Conversation on Aging and Vision Loss (Part 1)
Room: Salon C
Facilitators: Mark Richert, Director, Public Policy; Priscilla Rogers, Acting Director, Web Programs; and Rebecca Sheffield, Senior Policy Researcher, American Foundation for the Blind
Panel: Paul Saner, Commissioner, Massachusetts Commission for the Blind and Chair, NCSAB Independent Living Committee (via telephone), and Representatives from the National Agenda on Aging and Vision Loss Goal Groups
Description: In 2015, AFB gathered feedback from service providers and older Americans with vision loss in response to the White House Conference on Aging, and at the AFB Leadership Conference in 2016, we launched a renewed National Agenda on Vision and Aging. Over the past year, more than 200 people have been engaged online, on the phone, and in person—discussing and organizing around four priority goals: 1) funding for services; 2) the availability and quality of professional services; 3) collaboration across systems; and 4) funding for low vision devices. Whether attendees are new to the Agenda or deeply involved in one of the goal areas, this year's Leadership Conference provides opportunities for everyone to get involved. Presentations will include timely updates and valuable insights from leaders in policy, research, and service provision. Attendees will have many opportunities to ask questions and contribute ideas!

Session 102: WIOA—Charting the Changing Seas of Rehabilitation
Room:
Salon 1
Presenter: Tony Stephens, Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs, American Council of the Blind
Description: Recent changes to the rules governing rehabilitation in our country have created a number of constraints and barriers for Americans who are blind and seek to become independent. In this presentation, Mr. Stephens will focus on the drivers of change through the Rehabilitation Services Administration, identify what challenges lay ahead, and present the various pathways to gaining full independence and equal opportunity in our society.

Session 103: Autism and Visual Impairment: Using a Collaborative Model to Develop Goals and Teaching Strategies Through the Lifespan, Part 1: Focus on Children
Room: Salon 2
Presenters: Linda Hagood, Speech Language Pathologist, Washington State School for the Blind and NLCSD Doctoral Student, Portland State University
Description: The growing population of individuals with combined diagnoses of autism and visual impairment has presented new challenges for service providers. In this two-part presentation, strategies from the field of autism will be introduced, and adaptations for individuals with visual impairment will be demonstrated.
 Linda Hagood will introduce the Better Together curriculum model, which blends methods from the fields of autism and visual impairment. Activities for teaching specific social-communication skills will be discussed and skills and strategies for dealing with common problems (e.g., prompt reliance, rigidity, echolalic speech, and restricted interests) will be demonstrated.

Session 104: Leadership Through Authorship: Sharing Your Research and Practice
Room: Salons FG
Speakers: Dr. Sandra Lewis, Ed.D., Editor-in-Chief, and Rebecca Burrichter, Senior Editor, Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness (JVIB)
Description: Join Dr. Sandra Lewis, along with Rebecca Burrichter, as they describe the importance of authorship in building the knowledge and evidencebase of the field of visual impairment for the purpose of encouraging new and existing authors to gather evidence and write up their research and practical techniques for scholarly publication.

Session 105: Support Service Providers and Sign Language Interpreters: Facilitating Communication and Other Support Needs of People Who Are Deaf-Blind
Room: Salon H
Presenter: Debbie Harlin, Director of Information, Research and Professional Development, Helen Keller National Center, New York
Description: The presenter will provide information regarding the role and availability of Support Service Providers (SSP) and the support needs that the SSP can provide for deaf-blind people. The presenter will describe the different types of SSP support available, training needs, and how to access SSPs. In contrast, the presenter will also provide information on sign language interpreters and how their role is different than an SSP, and how to access qualified certified interpreters.

Session 106: Needs Assessments
Room: Salons DE
Presenter: Elaine Welch, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Association for the Blind
Description: In 2015, the Pennsylvania Association for the Blind (PAB) conducted a year-long statewide needs assessment focusing on the needs of older blind Pennsylvanians. This study was commissioned by PAB in order to provide its members with information to help plan for needed services over the next five years as the population ages. We are using the results to develop a service delivery plan in response to answers to these important questions: What needs are the most critical? What are some possible solutions? Which solutions are best? Learn how to replicate this survey in your state or community and how to use the results to provide better services for all people of all ages.

Session 107: AIRA, Access Any Information Anywhere
Room: Salons ABJK
Presenter: Candice Jordan, AIRA, Explorer, and Patrick Lane, AIRA Agent
Description: AIRA is on a mission to make information that is presently inaccessible immediately accessible. AIRA is integrating best-of-breed technologies such as wearables, widespread bandwidth, and human-assisted artificial intelligence to power our intelligent platform. AIRA current explorers are using this information to experience myriad of activities: navigating streets, performing in the workplace, shopping, multiple modes of transportation, easing social interactions, participating in new adventures such as sports and entertainment, and literally traveling the globe.

11:15 am-11:30 am—Break

11:15 am-1:00 pm

Virginia AER Silent Auction
Room: Jackson Room
Auction ends promptly at 1:00 pm.

11:30 am-12:30 pm—Sessions

Session 201: Advancing Policy Priorities: Continuing Our National Conversation on Aging and Vision Loss (Part 2)
Room: Salon C
Facilitators: Mark Richert, Director, Public Policy, and Priscilla Rogers, Acting Director, Web Programs
Panel: B.J. LeJeune, M.Ed., CRC, CVRT, Training Supervisor, National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision, Mississippi State University, and Rebecca Sheffield, Ph.D., Senior Policy Researcher, American Foundation for the Blind
Description: In 2015, AFB gathered feedback from older Americans with vision loss and service providers in response to the White House Conference on Aging, and at the AFB Leadership Conference in 2016, we launched a renewed National Agenda on Vision and Aging. Over the past year, more than 200 people have been engaged online, on the phone, and in person—discussing and organizing around four priority goals: 1) funding for services; 2) the availability and quality of professional services; 3) collaboration across systems; and 4) funding for low vision devices. Whether attendees are new to the Agenda or deeply involved in one of the goal areas, this year's Leadership Conference provides opportunities for everyone to get involved. Presentations will include timely updates and valuable insights from leaders in policy, research, and service provision. Attendees will have many opportunities to ask questions and contribute ideas!

Session 202: Toddler Canes: An Innovation in Addressing the Mobility with Vision Impairment Needs of New Walkers with Congenital/Early Onset Visual Impairment
Room: Salon 1
Presenter: Grace Ambrose-Zaken, Ed.D., COMS, Hunter College of CUNY
Description: The vulnerable population of early intervention/preschool learners with visual impairment needs a developmentally appropriate mobility with visual impairment (MVI) device to combat the effects of repeated ambulation without protection from MVI. MVI is a term used to describe the unique motor demands that result when visual impairment inhibits sufficient reaction distance and reaction time to obstacles (e.g., objects, changes in elevation and surface texture) in the path ahead. Constant exposure to MVI and its effects on balance, gait, and locomotion results in impaired physical functioning.
 The purpose of this session is to discuss MVI as an important new term of art, introduce and present the findings of the research on the toddler cane and supporting curriculum, and show videos demonstrating the difference in gait and active engagement in the environment by toddlers with MVI when wearing a toddler cane.

Session 203: Autism and Visual Impairment: Using a Collaborative Model to Develop Goals and Teaching Strategies through the Lifespan, Part 2: Focus on Teens and Adults
Room: Salon 2
Presenters: Valerie Alvarez, Blindness Trainer Coordinator, Texas Workforce Commission, and Linda Hagood, Speech Language Pathologist, Washington State School for the Blind and NLCSD Doctoral Student, Portland State University
Description: The growing population of individuals with combined diagnoses of autism and visual impairment has presented new challenges for service providers. In this two-part presentation, strategies from the field of autism will be introduced, and adaptations for individuals with visual impairment will be demonstrated.
 Valerie Alvarez will identify problems and solutions for adult job seekers and teenagers who are blind with a secondary impairment of autism. She will highlight the importance of effective strategies in rehabilitation to address common challenges for those job seekers such as self-advocacy, problem-solving, and social interactions. The presentation will also facilitate a discussion about the importance of getting the autism diagnosis before adulthood.

Session 204: When Is Self-Employment an Option?
Room: Salons FG
Presenter: Colleen Wunderlich, Director, Forsythe Center for Employment and Entrepreneurship, Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually impaired
Description: As the nation's unemployment rate remains unchanged since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), self-employment is increasingly becoming a path to economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities. However, it is a path for some, and not for all. In this presentation, Colleen Wunderlich will share what she observes from her colleagues and students who are entrepreneurs about what factors contribute to success. You will discover the common characteristics in people who succeed in self-employment; the resources and support that help sustain a person who is self-employed; and how to realize if and when it is time to find employment in the workplace.

Session 205: The 21st Century Board of Directors
Room: Salon H
Presenter: Regina Hopkins, D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center
Description: Saying "yes" to serving on a Board of Directors is the easy part. Traditionally, to be asked to become a board member was perceived more as an honor than a responsibility, thereby setting the tone for the director's performance on the board. This session will help you understand your role as a board member and the level of responsibility directors must accept in the governance of nonprofits, membership organizations, homeowners' associations, and more.

Session 206: Bridging the Gap Between Mainstream and Assistive Technology: A Look at the BrailleNote Touch
Room: Salons DE
Presenter: Mike Tindell, HumanWare, and Patricia Zawasky, Accessibility Solutions Group, Integration Technologies Group, Inc.
Description: The BrailleNote Touch is the first certified braille tablet providing Google Play Store access, a 21st century note taker for a 21st century world! The new BrailleNote Touch from HumanWare is bridging the gap between current mainstream and assistive technology using Keysoft and the Google Play Store. Participants will learn about tools for successful collaboration, review mainstream apps from the Play Store, and become familiar with the new features of the BrailleNote.

12:30 pm-1:45 pm—Lunch (on your own)

The Attorney Clinic
Room: Salons ABJK
Presenter: Volunteer attorneys from the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center
Description: Are you starting a business, creating a new nonprofit, serving on a board of directors, or have a question about disability or HR law, but you don’t know who to talk to? Bring your question or issue to our pro bono attorney clinic, and speak one-on-one with a volunteer attorney from the D.C. Bar. Experienced lawyers will be prepared to confidentially assist you. Fifteen-minute sessions will be available at either 12:30 or 1:15. Advance signup is required. An e-mail will be sent to all AFBLC registrants one week prior to the conference. Participants should reply to request a session and indicate their time preference. Time slots will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

1:45 pm-2:45 pm—Sessions

Session 301: Cultural and Linguistic Competence in Serving Older Individuals with Vision Loss
Room: Salon C
Presenter: Suzanne M. Bronheim, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development
Description: This session will discuss considerations in serving older individual with vision loss from culturally and linguistically diverse groups, including how culture affects perception of disability, independence, and acceptance of help. Participants will learn how cultural and linguistic competence plays out in their roles as service providers and how the organizations that employ them need to support cultural and linguistic competence with policies, structures, and resources.

Session 302: Unveiling an Accessible Toolkit for Social Networking
Room: Salon 1
Presenter: Larry L. Lewis, Jr., President and Founder, Flying Blind, LLC
Description: This session explores the phenomenon of social networking and identifies nonvisual obstacles that these networks present to the user who is visually impaired. Optimal strategies leveraging off assistive technologies on desktop and mobile platforms will be demonstrated to provide educators and rehabilitation professionals with a blueprint for successful outcomes within educational and employment settings. Attention will also be given to consumers wishing to get the most out of their social networks using their preferred platform(s).

Session 303: Preparing for Transition to Adult Life—It Begins Earlier Than You Think!
Room: Salon 2
Presenter: Mary C. Zatta, Ph.D., Director of Professional Development, Training and Educational Resources Program Perkins School for the Blind
Description: This workshop will emphasize the importance of planning for the future at an early age and how to incorporate this instruction within the school day. From the moment that a child begins school, teachers should be planning for the future and ensuring that all instruction is focused on providing students with knowledge and skills that will enhance post-school quality of life.
 Using the Total Life Learning Curriculum, we will look at the specific skill areas that should be emphasized in elementary, middle, and high school and explore how the curriculum aligns with the Expanded Core Curriculum. The shift that occurs in high school as planning and preparation become more intensive will also be discussed, specifically, the importance of engaging service providers and community members and using strategies to facilitate engagement in the transition planning process.

Session 304: How Technology Can Enhance Spatial Cognition
Room: Salons FG
Presenter: Christopher J. Tabb, M.A., COMS, Statewide Orientation and Mobility Consultant, Outreach Programs, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Description: What can be done to prevent challenges with spatial cognition in the developmental process? What strategies can be used to nurture the development of skills for spatial cognition? Are there tools that can be used to facilitate greater awareness of one's current travel environment and other environments to make informed choices about where to travel? These are just a few of the questions that will be addressed in this session. We will consider what spatial cognition is, how to facilitate its development, as well as how to extend the natural abilities of spatial cognition by employing technology to provide new information resources that aid and enhance the cognitive processes involved. We will connect resources that are presently available as well as discuss technologies that are just on the cusp of development and will soon be in the hands of everyday travelers.

Session 305: From Grassroots to Reality: How Can You Advocate for Legislation
Room: Salon H
Presenter: Andrew T. Mason, General Counsel, Maine Education Association
Description: In this session, the ways in which blindness rehabilitation professionals can impact legislation from the grassroots on through to the legislation becoming reality will be explored. How professionals can advocate for and directly play a role in the legislation impacting the field and ultimately its clients will also be discussed.

Session 306: Visionary Leadership
Room: Salons DE
Panel: Sharon Giovinazzo, President, World Services for the Blind; Virginia Jacko, President/CEO, Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired; Denise Jess, Wisconsin School for the Blind; Sylvia Perez, Executive Director, Lighthouse for the Visually Impaired and Blind; and Sharon Sacks, Superintendent, California School for the Blind
Description: This panel of strong leaders, who just happen to be blind and female, will tell you about their paths to leadership, the highlights and pitfalls of leadership, and how to prepare if you too would like to lead a department, organization, or your own business.

3:00 pm-4:00 pm—Sessions

Session 401: Elder Abuse—What It Is, How to Identify It, and What You Should Do
Room: Salon C
Presenter: Andrew Capehart, Assistant Director, National Adult Protective Services Association
Description: This presentation will cover how elder abuse is defined, warning signs of elder abuse, and your responsibilities as a provider, and resources that can help.

Session 402: Transition to Work
Room: Salon 1
Presenter: Alicia Wolfe, M.Ed., AFB Content Consultant and Teacher of the Visually Impaired
Description: Teens who are blind or visually impaired need to explore and hold jobs while they are still in high school so they are prepared to enter and succeed in the workforce as adults. It is essential for them to have an edge on the sighted teens competing for the same in-demand part-time, after-school, and summer jobs, and this edge is only achieved if the teens receive specialized instruction in workplace readiness training no later than age 14. Participants in this session will learn how to use AFB's Transition to Work: Program Activity Guide as a resource for providing workplace readiness training to teens who are blind or visually impaired. Participants will leave the workshop with access to 19 new lesson plans for facilitating instruction in career skills with their clients or students.

Session 403: Assistive Technology Assessment for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired
Room: Salon 2
Presenter: Ike Presley, National Project Manager, American Foundation for the Blind
Description: Too often technology purchased for people who are blind or visually impaired ends up not being used. There are many reasons why this might occur, but one of the most common reasons is that the technology is not the "right tool for the job" for that individual. Conducting a comprehensive assistive technology assessment is the first step in providing assistive technology that will allow people who are blind or visually impaired to accomplish educational, employment, and personal tasks. This session will present a framework and guide for conducting an assistive technology assessment.

Session 404: Triangulation: Planning for Impactful O&M Services for School-Age Students with Visual Impairments and Additional Disabilities
Room: Salons FG
Presenter: Diane L. Fazzi, Ph.D., COMS, Coordinator, Orientation and Mobility Specialist Training Program, Charter College of Education, California State University, Los Angeles
Description: Participants will be encouraged to consider the Home-School-Community triangle for planning O&M lessons that will maximize outcomes for school-age students with visual impairments and additional disabilities. Case scenarios will be used to formulate plans and approaches for engaging families, school personnel and community experiences to promote inter-dependent travel for students with visual impairments and additional disabilities.

Session 405: Teaching History the Accessible Way: Exploring the Helen Keller Archive
Room: Salon H
Presenter: Helen Selsdon, Archivist, Helen Keller Archives, American Foundation for the Blind
Description: In 2005, the American Foundation for the Blind began an odyssey to make the Helen Keller Archive available to sighted, hearing, blind, deaf, and deafblind audiences worldwide through digitization and an accessible online interface. Join AFB and Hudson Archival digitization staff as they review the work that has taken place and demonstrate these free tools for teachers to build and share resource lists and curricula, and to teach students who are blind or visually impaired the joys and value of research using primary source materials.

Session 406: Multi-Generational Workforce
Room: Salons DE
Presenter: Lou Tutt, Executive Director, AER
Description: Today's multi-generational workforce: the Matures or Silent Generation (born between 1932–1945); the Baby Boomers (born between 1946–1964); the Generation X (born between 1965–1981); the Millennials (born between 1981–2000); and the new Z Generation (born between 1993–2000), can be found employed in most occupations across the board. Just as employers are adapting their approach to accommodate this multi-generational workforce, so are those who provide services to different generations.

4:00 pm-4:30 pm—Break and Final Chance to Visit Exhibit Hall

4:30 pm-6:00 pm—Access Awards

Room: Salons ABJK

Saturday, March 4, 2017

7:00 am-8:00 am—Memorial Service

8:30 am-10:00 am—General Session

General Session 301: Recalculating Our Route: Updating Our GPS to Navigate the Future of Services and Opportunities for People with Vision loss
Room: Salons ABJK
Moderator: Mark Richert, Director, Public Policy and Senior Advisor, Strategic Initiatives, American Foundation for the Blind
Panel: TBA
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—Sessions

Session 501: Managing Your Caseload While Staying Sane and Focused
Room: Salon C
Panel: Polly Abbott, CVRT, OMS, Director of Rehabilitation Services, Second Sense; Kendra Farrow, Research and Training Associate, National Research and Training Center, Mississippi State University; and Tandra Hunter-Payne, M.Ed, CPhT, Program Manager, Office for Blindness and Vision Services, Maryland State Department of Education, Division of Rehabilitation Services
Description: This panel discussion will cover a variety of concerns related to managing caseloads of older persons with vision loss. Discussants will encourage a dialogue among participants regarding topics such as the effect of funding and staffing shortages on caseload management and services, dealing effectively with waiting lists, prioritizing services, and determining when it is time to close a case.

Session 502: Beyond Initial Placement: A Panel Discussion on Practical Tips for Guiding Adolescent and Adult Consumers to Develop a Career Path and Advance in Employment
Room: Salon 1
Moderator: Shannon Carollo, M.Ed., TVI, O&M, AFB CareerConnect and FamilyConnect Content Creator
Panel: The panel comprises individuals who are blind who have progressed beyond a first job, a VR counselor, a TVI, and a transition specialist
Description: A diverse panel of both consumers and service providers will discuss practical suggestions for directing consumers after the initial worksite placement. The panel will be asked questions about obstacles blind and visually impaired consumers face to maintain and advance in employment. Panelists will share their own advice on helping others navigate modern employment progression.

Session 503: Working with Babies (Birth to 3) with CVI-Cerebral/Cortical Visual Impairment: A Session for All Professionals Working with Babies with CVI
Room: Salon 2
Presenter: Anne V. McComiskey, M.Ed., TVI and Retired Founder/Director, BEGIN Early Intervention Program, Atlanta, GA
Description: The diagnosis of cerebral/cortical visual impairment (CVI) is confusing, especially for parents of babies and toddlers. Often parents and professionals working with the family don't understand until months or years after the diagnosis that there are appropriate, effective, and time-specific methods that can enhance the vision and development of a baby with CVI.
 This presentation will review information about CVI and its impact on babies and their parents, offer thoughts about working with parents of babies with CVI, and suggest interventions to support babies' visual and developmental growth.

Session 504: A Culture of Accessibility in the Sciences: Teaching and Learning Science in the Context of Blindness and Visual Impairment
Room: Salons FG
Presenter: Mahadeo A. Sukhai
Description: Taking one or more science courses is mandatory in high school and in postsecondary education. Formal science education is increasingly important in ensuring an appropriate level of scientific literacy in students. However, science education presents unique challenges to students who are blind or visually impaired, as well as to science teachers and educators of the visually impaired.
 Students face many barriers in acquiring a solid education in the sciences, these include negative attitudes of educators and other professionals, lack of appropriate support in the classroom, and lack of knowledge on the part of educators on how to appropriately instruct a student who is blind or has low vision. For the student, disclosure of their disability, advocacy around inclusive teaching and accommodation, and the stresses associated with potentially being a trailblazer in their school or course/program, pose significant challenges. On the other hand, the educator faces challenges in understanding how to teach effectively to the student who is blind or visually impaired, in parsing the essential requirements of the scientific concepts, course, or program, and in communicating these requirements to the student in an appropriate manner.
 In this presentation, the panel will discuss both student and educator challenges in the context of science education, present potential solutions, and provide a bridging perspective to ensure that students and their teachers can better understand the efforts undertaken by the other in teaching and learning science in the context of blindness and visual impairment. Finally, the concepts of Universal Design and their application to the learning environment in the sciences, in the context of both secondary and post-secondary education, will be highlighted.

Session 505: May the Workforce Be with You: How WIOA Is impacting Vision Rehabilitation Therapy Services
Room: Salon H
Presenters: Ian Shadrick, M.A., CVRT, CRC, Program Manager, Transition and Children's Services, Rehabilitation Services for the Blind of Missouri and Past President, AVRT; and Susan M. Dalton, Treasurer, AVRT (and MACRT) and Faculty Member, Northern Illinois University
Description: With the current talk about the Workforce Investment Opportunity Act (WIOA) and final rules for WIOA being implemented, this session will review the five required services and nine authorized services of the act. Attendees will also learn how WIOA impacts vision rehabilitation therapy services, and how VRTs can enhance or expand services and service provision under WIOA.

Session 506: Rio Leadership Lessons Learned at the Paralympics
Room: Salons DE
Presenter: Michael J. Bina, Ed.D., President, The Maryland School for the Blind
Description: Attending the 2016 Paralympics held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, provided a diverse and enriching culture in which to observe the world's best elite athletes and their families. Many significant insights were gained that have relevance and application for professionals in our field.
 This session will focus on the role of the Paralympics—less as a venue to earn medals for an athlete's country, but more as an opportunity an athlete to change the world's perception of people with disabilities. The session will provide profiles of individual athletes who demonstrate that disability doesn't mean inability and who, through their hard work and sacrifice, dispel harmful myths, break through the barriers of discrimination, prejudice, and low expectations commonly assigned to people with disabilities in many pursuits, including employment.
 In addition to providing "leadership lessons learned," the presentation will highlight visits to an adult rehabilitation center and a school for the blind in Brazil. Participants will have many relevant takeaways from this presentation. They will be exposed to thought-provoking observations questioning how our schools and agencies can better and more profoundly—one student and client at a time—change the world; that is, the general public's perception of people with disabilities.

11:30 am-12:30 pm—Sessions

Session 601: Recognizing and Appropriately Responding to Medical Issues Your Older Consumer Might Encounter
Room: Salon C
Presenter: Audrey Demmitt, VisionAware Peer Advisor and R.N.
Description: This presentation will cover recognizing medical emergencies and identifying medical conditions occurring with older consumers. Examples of topics to be covered include stroke and heart attack, blood glucose levels, cognitive issues, adverse drug reactions, and urinary tract infections.

Session 602: Building and Crossing the Bridge from Education to Vocational Rehabilitation Services
Room: Salon 1
Presenter: Valerie Alvarez, Blindness Trainer Coordinator, Texas Workforce Commission
Description: This presentation is for those who are interested in knowing more about how to access rehabilitation services upon graduation from high school through the adult VR process. It will provide information about the variety of services, programs, and opportunities that an agency can provide to job seekers who are blind. The presentation will also prepare customers to most effectively communicate with educators and rehabilitation providers in order to best prepare for the transition from youth to adult VR.

Session 603: Shedding Light on Cloud Computing
Room: Salon 2
Presenter: Larry L. Lewis, Jr., President and Founder, Flying Blind, LLC
Description: This session on cloud computing will discuss the technology's significance within educational and vocational settings. A variety of assistive technologies and strategies will be demonstrated to promote an inclusive approach to information management for students transitioning from high school to either a higher education setting or to the workplace.

Session 604: The Unique Role of the O&M Specialist in Working with Babies Birth to Three
Room: Salons FG
Presenter: Marjorie Wood, M.Ed., COMS, Austin, TX
Description: For the first two years of life, growth in all areas of development is rapid. Many things a sighted child learns just by watching will have to be actively taught to a child with a visual impairment. This session will focus on identifying some of the foundational skills that are necessary for motivating the child to move safely, securely, and independently within the environment; the role of the O&M Specialist; and how to advocate for services.

Session 605: Strategies for Collaborating Effectively with the Aging Network—What's Working in Massachusetts
Room: Salon H
Presenters: Mary Kay Browne, Director of Special Projects, Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging, and Karen Hatcher, Director, BRIDGE Program, Massachusetts Commission for the Blind
Description: This panel will include presenters from the Aging Network and from the vision rehabilitation field discussing how the two “systems” can work together effectively to meet the needs of older persons with vision loss.

Session 606: Strategic Planning for Effective Management: The Basics
Room: Salons DE
Presenter: Jeffrey Brasie, MA
Description: Strategic planning can be used to guide an organization, department, division, or even our personal careers. Mr. Brasie will offer basic insights as to the logic, need, process/steps, and implementation of strategic planning. Multiple programs and locations, varying services, potential acquisitions, mergers and collaborations will also be discussed. A brief group dialogue and questions and answer period will be included.

12:45 pm-2:30 pm—Migel Awards Lunch

Room: Salon ABJK

2:45 pm-4:00 pm

Session 701: Forum on the Future of Vision Rehabilitation Professionals: Strategies for Vitality in a Complex Environment
Room: Salon C
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, a strong push for redirecting federal funding from specialized vision rehabilitation agencies to generic disability organizations, "most integrated setting" legislation sometimes used to try to eliminate specialized services for people with visual impairment, and the ongoing challenges of a shortage of personnel and training programs, this session will explore the opportunities and obstacles that our field faces in ensuring the ongoing viability and vitality of services offered by orientation and mobility specialists, vision rehab therapists, and low vision therapists.

Presentation 1: Licensure: Why Passage Is More Important than Ever
Presenter: Grace Ambrose-Zaken, Ed.D., COMS, Hunter College of CUNY
Description: For twenty years, a coalition of advocates, consumers, providers and schools in New York have been working to pass legislation to license vision rehabilitation professionals. In 2005, the New York Vision Rehabilitation Association was formed with one of its goals to get New York State licensure for vision impairment specialists (VIS) with subspecialties in vision rehabilitation therapy (VRT) and orientation and mobility (OM) specialists. There is pressure from the New York public schools to reduce and/or eliminate the O&M specialist from their list of covered providers. Neither O&M nor VRT is listed as a profession by either the Department of Health or Department of Education. Doctors do refer patients with vision loss to OTs for low vision rehabilitation because they are licensed. The policy of physician referral to VRTs and O&M specialists’ services is less clear because they are not licensed professions. New York State needs licensure more than ever as government and private vision rehabilitation agencies and schools have job openings for VRT and O&M specialists that they cannot fill because not enough students are graduating with either degree. This Q&A session will review the current status of the NY bill to license vision impairment specialists: VRTs and O&Ms and provide a rationale for VIS licensure in NYS.

Presentation 2: A Roadmap to Implementation
Presenters: Kathie Zeider, ACREP; Roxann Mayros, VisionServe Alliance; Laura Bozeman, UMass Boston; and Mark Richert, Director, Public Policy and Senior Advisor, Strategic Initiatives, American Foundation for the Blind
Description: Representatives from ACVREP, AER, AFB, Salus University, UMass Boston, and others who are CVRTs and COMS wrote a white paper in early 2017 wherein it was proposed to create one single professional title for non-licensed vision professionals—Vision Impairment Specialist. The paper was distributed widely, a survey was posted through several listservs, and presentations seeking feedback were made at several professional conferences, including AFB’s 2016 Leadership Conference. Survey responses and on-site presentations revealed positive support and feedback. This interactive session will present and seek feedback on a proposed “roadmap” to implementation at professional organizations, nonprofits, universities, etc.

Presentation 3: The New Medicare Reimbursement Model
Presenter: Barry Barresi, O.D.
Description: On October 14, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a final rule to implement key provisions of the bipartisan Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) in a new program called the Quality Payment Program. The Program advances Medicare’s value-based transformation for hundreds of thousands of physicians and other eligible clinicians by tying these payments to quality patient care. These new payment models define “bundling” and clinical episode payments for both Medicare and commercial insurance alternative payment models that will open the door for new financial incentives for expanded clinical collaboration in healthcare and significant implications for vision impairment specialists.

Session 702: Autism Q&A
Room: Salons DE
Presenters: Valerie Alvarez, Blindness Trainer Coordinator, Texas Workforce Commission, and Linda Hagood, Speech Language Pathologist, Washington State School for the Blind and NLCSD Doctoral Student, Portland State University

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