Be an Advocate! Help Strengthen Specialized Services
As advocates for people who are blind or visually impaired, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) knows first-hand the value of specialized services. They change lives by teaching people with vision loss the skills needed to thrive in the classroom, the workplace and everyday life. Yet, these services are almost perpetually in danger of being cut due to shrinking state budgets. It is therefore crucial that we continue to advocate to our policymakers of their importance, and to ensure such services are kept in place.
To that end, AFB created new advocacy materials on strengthening specialized services that we hope you will share with your constituents. On AFB.org, you can find an overview of specialized services as well as specific documents on education services, employment services, and services for adults with age-related vision loss. These documents are also available as accessible PDFs that can easily be printed and shared. We created these materials to help educate the public about the importance of specialized services. Help us spread the word today!
How you can help:
- Share AFB's specialized services advocacy materials with professionals in the field, people with vision loss and their loved ones, and your elected officials.
- Post a link to the specialized services advocacy materials on your website and social media channels.
- Share these materials in your newsletters and outreach materials.
Register Now for the 2014 AFB Leadership Conference
A working agenda is now available; this will be updated with more sessions, so please check back frequently. Read about Thursday's special seminars, including a Tech Summit featuring talks from Google and Facebook representatives, a National Transition Network Summit, and VisionServe Alliance Training.
Friday will kick off with a keynote by Google's Kannan Pashupathy, who will talk about his company's accessibility efforts. Friday and Saturday's concurrent sessions cover employment, O&M, education, and professional development, as well as a special VisionServe Alliance Leadership Training track. Speakers include Karen Wolffe, Marjorie Wood, Mike May, Lauren Lieberman, and Nancy Miller.
While you're registering, take the opportunity to book your room at the marvelous New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge for just $189/night with our special group rate. This rate is good from Wednesday, February 26, through Monday, March 3, so stay a while and explore the city that never sleeps! This discounted rate disappears on February 1, 2014, so make your reservation today. If you would prefer to make your reservation by phone, just call 1-888-436-3759 and let the operator know that you are attending the conference.
If you're interested in sponsorship, advertising, or exhibiting opportunities, we have lots of options available. Contact us today and we will work with you to promote your organization or company at AFBLC14!
The 2014 AFB Leadership Conference is made possible by the generous sponsorship of
- Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc.
- Helen Keller Services for the Blind
- American Printing House for the Blind
FamilyConnect Website Gets a New Look
We are pleased to announce the launch of the newly redesigned FamilyConnect site, created by AFB in partnership with the National Association of Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI). The homepage now focuses on the social networking aspects of the site by highlighting current questions on message boards and recent blog posts, as well as an invitation to connect with FamilyConnect on Facebook. A persistent navigation bar, similar to that found on AFB.org and VisionAware, makes it easier to discover the depth of information FamilyConnect offers.
AFB's 2013 Annual Report Now Available
The 2013 AFB Annual Report: Your Bridge to the Future is now available online. The report covers AFB's activities and achievements for the past year and is available in PDF and HTML formats. Special thanks to VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired and its staff for participating in this year's Annual Report photo shoot.
Also available online is AFB's organization-wide brochure: AFB Connects You. The brochure is available in accessible PDF and HTML.
AFB Board Gets New Chair, Trustee
We are pleased to announce the election of a new board chair, Larry B. Kimbler, of Dallas, TX. Kimbler succeeds Concetta F. Conkling, who has served as board chair since 2009. Conkling will continue to sit on the AFB Board of Trustees.
Kimbler is a certified public accountant and a retired senior executive at the Staubach Company who has served in senior leadership roles at large companies, including GTE Corporation and International Paper.
Joining the board for the first time is Susan E. Weidle. Weidle was also elected during the October 2013 Board of Trustees meeting. She brings to the table 25 years of experience at Johnson & Johnson, where she worked with business leaders globally developing and refining strategy for new product launches, market access for new and existing prescription products.
For more on the elections of Kimbler and Weidle, visit AFB's Press page.
Tools for Professional Development
O&M Instructors with Spanish-Speaking Students Will Have a New Resource from AFB Press
People whose primary language is Spanish comprise 13% of those older than 5, a substantial and still growing segment of the U.S. population. The number of Spanish-speaking individuals with visual impairments far outweighs the number of O&M instructors who speak Spanish, and interpreters are not always available.
Basic Spanish for Orientation and Mobility: A Phrase Book and Dictionary is a new reference guide for O&M instructors who have Spanish-speaking students. This phrase book and dictionary offers basic O&M lessons broken down and displayed side by side in English and Spanish. This format makes it easy to find the phrases needed to convey a concept, explanation, or instruction to a student. It includes O&M terminology not found in any traditional Spanish dictionary or app. The print version is a handy size and e-book versions are also available, making it easy for instructors to use in the field.
Editor/author Brenda Naimy and consulting editor/translation coordinator Matthew Hogel will present on how to make the most of this guide at the upcoming AER Orientation and Mobility Conference in New Orleans, December 11-14, 2013. The book will be released in early 2014. For updates, like the AFB Press Facebook page or check the AFB Bookstore.
AFB eLearning Center Webinars Help Make Sense of Low-Vision Devices
The AFB eLearning Center will launch a two-part series on low-vision devices this fall to help individuals with low vision and professionals to better understand the array of low-vision devices that allow for independence in daily and work life. Both are presented by Ike Presley, AFB National Project Manager.
"Low-Vision Nonoptical Devices: Improving Visibility for People with Low Vision" focuses on tools that do not magnify, but still allow people to accomplish tasks efficiently and comfortably. The webinar describes the use of lighting options, filters/sunglasses, reading/bookstands, and writing devices.
"Low-Vision Optical Devices: Improving Visibility for People with Low Vision" will describe the use of tools that magnify or enlarge the image of text or objects. It explores the wide variety of optical devices currently available, including magnifiers and telescopes.
Each webinar helps participants learn how to match the right tool to the individual and the task, and includes helpful tips. For updates on the release of the webinars, like our Facebook page or check the AFB eLearning Center webpage.
Join JVIB for a Special Online Event on Transition and Employment
Karen Wolffe, Ph.D., CRC, of the Austin, TX-based firm, Career Counseling and Consultation, spent a year traveling the globe in an effort to garner interest, stimulate research, and elicit high-quality submissions for the Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness (JVIB) Special Issue on Transition and Employment, which will be released in November 2013. In honor of this special issue, JVIB will host an open forum during the week of November 18 with a blog post on creating individualized transition and employment goals with youth and adults by Joe Strechay, program manager for CareerConnect, AFB's employment information resource for students and adults with vision loss and the professionals who work with them. All those who are interested in transition and employment are invited to visit the blog and post questions or leave comments. All of the special issue authors have been invited to be on hand to join in the discussion, respond to questions, or ask questions of their own. Teachers: Consider asking your students to read the blog and post a question for extra credit! A subscription to JVIB is not required to participate in the online event. Simply go to JVIB.org the week of November 18th and follow the links to join in this special event. If you would like more information, please write to Rebecca Burrichter, senior editor, JVIB: firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the AFB Blog
The Importance of Specialized Education Services
Emily Coleman, our FamilyConnect parent blogger, discusses the importance of specialized services.
Celebrating National White Cane Safety Day
Joe Strechay, CareerConnect program manager, offers his take on the freedom that comes with a white cane.
AFB in the News
Please check out our "In the News" webpage for recent media articles featuring AFB, our experts, and issues related to blindness and vision loss. September, October, and November featured national news stories about blindness-friendly vacation destinations, technologies being developed by Disney that would incorporate 3D to touchscreens, and issues facing jobseekers who are visually impaired. AFB's Paul Schroeder and Joe Strechay are quoted.
Stay Informed Through Social Networking
AFB employs a number of social networking tools to keep you in the loop: