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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Vision Loss Organizations Host Conference to Improve Lives of Children who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

New York ( July 13, 2007)—When a child is born and new parents come home from the hospital, they are often accompanied by two bundles: the baby bundle and a bundle of questions. For parents whose child is born with vision loss, those questions become more numerous and harder to answer. Surrounded by friends and relatives who cannot relate to their problems and anxieties, parents need the support and understanding of those who share their experiences. The Families Connecting with Families Conference, taking place July 13-15 in Omaha, Nebraska, is a national conference bringing together more than 150 families from 30 states and 5 continents designed to address all aspects of raising and educating a child with vision loss.

The weekend-long event, sponsored by American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI), and The Seeing Eye (America's preeminent dog guide school), comprises multiple workshops, panel discussions led by a variety of experts, and support groups. Young conference attendees will also stay engaged with fun activities such as a trip to Omaha's renowned Henry Doorly Zoo and an authentic pioneer-style family cookout.

"As someone who lost his vision at a young age, I know firsthand the medical, educational, and emotional needs of blind children," said Carl R. Augusto, AFB President & CEO. "I am honored to serve as a sponsor and keynote speaker for an event that cultivates much needed support, confidence, and knowledge for families raising a child with vision loss."

"Parents of children with visual impairments are oftentimes their most tireless advocates when it comes to securing the proper resources and services crucial to the success of a child with vision loss," said Susan LaVenture, NAPVI Executive Director. "The Families Connecting with Families conference provides a forum for these parents to connect on a personal level and share stories that can help make their experiences more productive and positive."

"It is so exciting to be part of a national conference that brings together dedicated parents who are committed to ensuring that their children have the tools they need to live healthy, fulfilling lives," said Dr. James A. Kutsch, Jr., President, The Seeing Eye. "I have the daily opportunity of seeing older people with vision loss take steps to make their lives more independent, so I know the importance of building confidence and esteem at a young age."

Media Contact: Abby Manishor
AFB Communications
212-502-7615

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