Vision-AER-y Schedule

November 5 - 7, 2008
Stowe, Vermont

Letters in parentheses indicate intended audiences for each presentation:
A = Adult CF = Consumers/Families CH = Children ED = Education R = Rehabilitation S = Seniors Y = Youth

Preliminary Program

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

5:00 NE/AER Board of Directors Meeting

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

8:00 - 12:00 Preconferences:

8:00 - 12:00PC-1
White Cane Awareness: How to Raise White Cane Awareness within your Communities (Meg Robertson, M.A., COMS & Margie Carney, M.Ed.) R, CH, A, S
The O&M pre-conference will review different ways of raising White Cane Awareness. Discussion will include different outreach programs and how to develop outreach resources for our O&M Division.
8:00 - 12:00PC-2How to Teach Braille to Adults (Linda Hunt, M.A., CVRT & Patricia Miller, CVRT) R, A
The workshop will focus on techniques and resources for introducing and teaching Braille to our adult learners.
8:00 - 12:00PC-3Strategies to Address Adjustment Issues facing Children with Visual Impairment (John L. Morse, Ed.D.) ED, R, CF, CH, Y
Attendees will be provided with strategies to assist children and family members in their attempts to address adjustment issues related to the presence of a visual impairment. The presentation will discuss self-concept development, variable adjustment difficulties as influenced by the degree and type of vision loss, and resulting implications for parents, siblings and service providers.

Note: Registration fees for all pre-conferences are in addition to the general conference registration fees.

NE/AER 2008 Conference Begins

12:30 - 2:00

Welcome Keynote Address

Dr. P. Ann MacCuspie "Characteristics of Canadian School-aged Children who use Braille"

There are a number of significant issues currently relevant to the use of braille by school children in Canada (e.g., consideration of contracted or uncontracted braille in initial literacy instruction; simultaneous literacy instruction in both print and braille for children with low vision; implications for the development of literacy for students who use braille and an array of assistive technology during their early school years; braille literacy instruction for students with additional disabilities; consideration of the adoption of the Unified English Braille Code). There is limited information about the school-aged braille reading population to guide decision making. Therefore a survey was developed and posted online and/or distributed to teachers of students who are blind or visually impaired across Canada. The presentation will highlight some of the significant findings as well as recommendations pertinent to areas of instruction and programming needed for students, professional development for TSVI, supports for parents, and future research questions.

2:00 - 2:15 Break.

2:15 - 3:15 Concurrent Sessions.

2:15 - 3:15W1

Characteristics of Canadian School-aged Children who use Braille (Dr. P. Ann MacCuspie) ED, CH

Dr. MacCuspie will be following up her general session with an opportunity for further questions and discussion.
2:15 - 3:15W2

OceanInsight: Oceanography for Students with Visual Impairments (Kate Fraser, Michele Engelbrecht) ED, CF, A

Using a Powerpoint presentation and accessing interactive, accessible websites and described video, we will describe the career of Dr. Amy Bower and other scientists with visual impairments and their passion for the sciences, present information about the collaboration between WHOI and Perkins School for the blind and introduce materials and resources to help TVIs provide support to students in middle and high school science classes.
2:15 - 3:15W3

Online Learning Gets a Moodle Facelift (Brian Charlson) ED, R, CF, Y, A, S

The Carroll Center for the Blind has been providing online learning in the use of access technology for the past five years through its Carroll Tech program. As part of a new partnership, the Carroll Center is collaborating with several organizations to bring online learning on many subjects and to many audiences. As CANnect, we are now moving our online courses to a new online learning platform, Moodle. Come and learn how this new platform will provide new learning opportunities and how the new organization will broaden online course development.
2:15 - 3:15W4

The Psychological Effects of Returned Vision after Long-term Blindness (Barbara Jennings) ED, R, CF, A, S

The Psychological Effects of Returned Vision after Long-term Blindness includes a history of cases of returned vision along with the severe repercussions of the surgery. These may include illness from sensory overload resulting in death, suicide or insanity. Severe depression occurs in every case of returned vision. Included are case histories, from Biblical times through present day, including Mike Mays’ case and the case of Shirl Jennings, about whom the movie “At First Sight” was made. Techniques for pre-surgical counseling and post-surgical teaching have been developed. Also included are new developments for producing vision, such as brain implants, cameras that are inserted in eyes and a disk that goes on the retina that may help people with retinitis pigmentosa to see again. Some ethical standards and procedures for the psychologist to follow prior to and after surgery will also be discussed.

3:15 - 3:45 Break.

3:45 – 5:15 Concurrent sessions

3:45 - 5:15W5

Intentional Interventions: Program-Planning and Accommodations for Children with Cortical Visual Impairment (Kerry Clifford, Dr. Christine Roman) ED, CF, CH, Y

Often, teams dealing with children who have Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) know only enough to provide broad interventions that do not fit a child’s needs and abilities. This workshop will provide intervention ideas for students with CVI that take into consideration: levels of functioning, specific CVI characteristics, phases, and objectives and routines that are individualized and appropriate. Through this multi-media presentation, participants will see examples of what to do as well as what not to do.
3:45 - 5:15W6

Barriers to Vision Rehabilitation: A new starting point (Dr. Olga Overbury) A. CF, CH, R, S, Y

It is generally accepted that only a small proportion of visually impaired people receive rehabilitation services that may greatly enhance their level of functioning and, consequently, their quality of life. Access to vision rehabilitation may be impaired by a variety of barriers, including lack of referral, inability to access services due to lack of transportation, and resistance in seeking help from agencies that provide services to "blind" people. The Montreal Barriers Study begins the data collection process at the point of potential referral to rehabilitation services and is exclusively gathering information from visually impaired individuals who are eligible for these services. During the first year, the focus has been on ophthalmology departments of urban, university-affiliated hospitals. Even at this early stage, the Montreal Barriers Study is beginning to identify the demographic and psychological variables that influence the decision processes regarding referral to and acceptance of vision rehabilitation.
3:45 - 5:15W7

Yellow Tape is not a Barrier (Meg Robertson) ED, R, CF, A, S

This presentation will discuss the environmental hazards improper sidewalk construction barriers present to pedestrians who are blind. Information on laws pertaining to this issue will be presented as well as how to advocate within your community for safe sidewalk access during construction.
3:45 - 5:15W8

Even More Tools for the Toolbox (Kimberley Stumph) ED, R, CH, Y, A, S

Are there free or no cost technology offerings that can enhance your students’/clients’/consumers’ ability to access information by computer when they do not have access to JAWS, Window Eyes, Zoomtext or MAGic? In this session we will investigate more of the no cost/low cost screen magnification and screen readers available. Included in the discussion will be the accessibility options available in the Windows and Apple operating systems as well as other freeware/shareware. This is a continuation of the session last year, but last year’s session is NOT a prerequisite for attending this session.

Awards Banquet

Thursday November 6, 2008

9:00 - 4:00Vendors Open.
7:00 - 8:45Breakfast and Division Meetings
  • Infant/Toddler/Preschool and Deaf-Blind/Multi-handicapped
  • Information/Technology
  • Psychosocial Services
  • Orientation and Mobility

9:00 - 10:00 Concurrent Sessions.

9:00 - 10:00T1

Vision Loss and Traumatic and Acquired Brain Injury: Strategies for Success Part 1 (Part 2 at 10:30 a.m.) (B.J. Le Jeune) ED, R, CF, CH, Y, A, S

An introduction to traumatic and acquired brain injury, and the impact on cognition, memory, vision and function will provide the background for a discussion on strategies to assist instructional personnel and counselors in enhancing consumer success.
9:00 - 10:00T2

Homemade E-Books (Dr. Tony Richardson) ED, R, CH, CF

Learn to create your own e-books for children. Tony will show you how he created 25 e-books for his youngest son who has CVI. He used a variety of techniques such as incorporating animal and environmental sounds. He recorded his elder son reading one story with great enthusiasm, so essentially the younger son gets to hear his older brother read him a story over and over. He used many family and friends to each read a story which makes the reading time so much more enjoyable for everyone. You’ll enjoy hearing these books, just as much as the children do.
9:00 - 10:00T3

Little Locomotives O&M Program (Kathy Lawrence) ED, R, CF, CH

The purpose of this presentation is to provide information about the development of the Little Locomotives program (O&M for children under the age of 3) its focus on support to families and caregivers, skills that are taught and resources, materials and toys that the program provides.
9:00 - 10:00T4

What a D.R.A.G.! Getting Older, Trouble Seeing and Feeling Sad? A Conceptual Protocol for Dealing with Age-related Vision Loss and Clinical Depression (Joshua Simmonds) R, CF, A, S

The aim of this presentation is to provide both professional and non-professionals a conceptual intervention model for assisting persons with low vision who are clinically depressed. The acronym D.R.A.G. is a protocol consisting of four sections: Detection, Referral, Assessment, Getting up and moving on. The presentation will: 1) discuss aspects of depression (e.g. state versus trait); 2) explain the psychosocial factors associated with depression related vision loss; 3) review the four sections of the D.R.A.G. protocol, its application, and considerations and 4) conclude with a brief discussion. The presentation’s goals are to provide persons with low vision, professionals, family and friends with a general understanding of depression, its symptoms, and a conceptual framework on how to deal with its effect on persons diagnosed with low vision.
10:00 - 10:30New Member Reception.

10:30 - 11:30 Concurrent Sessions.

10:30 - 11:30T5

Vision Loss and Traumatic and Acquired Brain Injury: Strategies for Success Part 2 (B.J. Le Jeune) ED, R, CF, CH, Y, A, S

B.J. Le Jeune will continue with her presentation described in T1
10:30 T6

Functional Braille Literacy: A Case Study (Cheryl Gannon) ED, R, CH, Y

This case study will present the profile of an 8th grade student on the autism spectrum who, while he has been learning Braille since first grade, reads at about a 2nd-3rd grade level. He has a number of non-Braille literacy tools in order to learn content at his comprehension level but as his new Braille teacher, I wanted to try a “non-traditional” approach to increase his Braille reading skills. The presentation will include a profile of the student and his skills and present examples of assessment tools, strategies and materials used in this “functional” literacy program designed to create a “Braille Rich” environment that is age-appropriate.
10:30 T7

Music Transcription & Production is no longer a barrier to the blind: Using JAWS with Sonar (Michael Ciarciello) ED, R, CH, Y, A

The presentation will be divided into two parts. The first part will consist of a brief historical summary on how my research in finding an accessible music recording software led me to CakeTalking and Sonar. I will also give details on contact information on a distributor who sells the scripts for JAWS, and music software. In the second part of my presentation , I will demonstrate how I use Sonar, along with the Caketalking scripts, and record a brief musical demo.
10:30 T8

The Benefits of Home-Based Balance Exercises for Visually Impaired Seniors (Elizabeth Dannenbaum, Daphne Mulrooney) R, S

A randomized study was performed investigating whether 7 weeks of performing standing-balance vs sitting-stretching home exercise improves the balance in visual impaired seniors. It was found that significantly more participants in the balance group felt that their balance was improved than in the stretching group. It was concluded that clients who committed to performing balance home exercises standing perceived an increased level of confidence in their balance. It is unknown whether the improvement in self-reported balance perception impacts on their functional status, warranting further investigations and discussion.
11:30 - 1:00Box Lunch.

1:00 – 2:30 Poster Session & Vendor Demonstrations.

1:00 - 2:30PS - 1

Landscape Painting is Possible (Debby Smith) R, A, S

At the ELC, Perkins adult education classes for people 55+, the participants turned a blank canvas into an imaginary landscape. The painting technique was based on the PBS program, The Joy of Painting, featuring Bob Ross. The class was taught by Terri Werner, an art teacher at Perkins. Each participant completed a painting and felt proud of their master piece. For some it was a totally new experience. For others, it rekindled an interest from their past. The students also visited the Museum of Fine Arts where works by classic artists were made accessible to them through description and raised line drawings.
1:00 - 2:30PS - 2

Book Clubs Are Popular (Beth Caruso) R, A, S

For the past decade or so many adults in the community have, and still do, join book clubs. Do you have an inclusive book club in your community, accessible for adults who have vision loss? At the Perkins ELC we have book club for people 55 and over using Braille books, large print books and Talking Book tapes.

At each book club class there is a lively discussion. People have strong opinions about the book and its subject matter. Books can open up a whole new world for the reader. Starting a book club is easy and requires no materials other than books in an accessible format for the members and it is so rewarding for everyone involved.
1:00 - 2:30PS - 3

Camp Inter-Actions Family Camp (Debbie Gross, Maribeth Geraghty) ED, R, CF, CH, A

Camp Inter-Actions, a traditional summer camp program for children who are blind or visually impaired has extended its summer programming to include time for families to come together for education, support, and fun!
1:00 - 2:30PS - 4

From Rehab Teacher to Film Producer – How Perkins School for the Blind produced a documentary to promote its services for people 55+ (Renee Man) R, A, S

This poster session will illustrate how the Perkins School for the Blind Outreach Services: Strategies for Life and the local Watertown Cable Access Channel in MA collaborated to create a documentary showcasing their services available to people with visual impairments. Both groups spent a year working together to film, write, produce, and edit the documentary, which was shown on local cable access channels in the Greater Boston area. This documentary will also be available for viewing during the poster session.
1:00 - 2:30PS - 5

Meet the Board (Cindy Reed Brown, Kelli Jarosz) ED

The Board of NE/AER will share information about board members and the benefits of membership.
1:00 - 2:30PS - 6

Challenges in providing Vision Rehabilitation Services in Northern Quebec (Stephanie Desjardins) ED, R, CF, CH

The MAB-Mackay Rehabilitation Centre provides vision rehabilitation services to clients who live closer to the Arctic circle than to our rehabilitation centre. I will provide insight into the social, geographical and cultural factors that are taken into consideration in working with a child in their natural environment.
1:00 - 2:30PS - 7

VT LEAP: A Wilderness Trail Crew in the City (Scott Langley, Matt Brantner) ED, R, Y

Slide and Video presentation on the success of a summer youth employment model based on a wilderness trail crew program, but modified to take place in town. The success was dependent on the unique collaboration between several organizations.
1:00 - 2:30PS - 8

Don't Give Up Gardening (Kae Fretz) R, A, S

Question and answer format discussing personal experiences in gardening with a vision loss.
1:00 - 2:30PS - 9

Drivers and Blindness: NH's New Law Regarding Blind Pedestrian Safety (Kathleen Turner, Nancy Druke) ED

In May of 2008, NH passed a law requiring that all new drivers and renewal license applicants be informed of and examined on the laws relating to blind pedestrians. The process of this legislation becoming a law, the methods in the way the law will be instituted and the rules that were stressed will be discussed during this session.
1:00 - 2:30PS - 10

The Braille Challenge (Dr. Karen Ross) ED, CF, CH, Y

The Braille Challenge is a national program of the Braille Institute of America. In February 2009, the Carroll Center will be hosting its 9th Annual Braille Literacy Celebration & Qualifying Event for the national competition, which is open to all Braille students throughout the NE/AER region.
1:00 - 2:30PS - 11

CarrollKids: Short Courses for Improving Student Outcomes Through Academic and Social Enrichment (Janet Ulwick-Sacca, Dr. Karen Ross) ED, CF, CH, Y

During the past five years the Carroll Center has developed and implemented a series of short courses for students, ages 6 – 16 years, providing individualized evaluation and instruction in Literacy, Technology, Communication Skills & Devices, Orientation & Mobility and the Expanded Core Curriculum. High emphasis is placed on developing independent learning skills, including socialization and self-advocacy.
1:00 - 2:30PS - 12

APSEA: Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority (Vicki Jeans, Christine Purcell) ED, R, CF, CH, Y

Services that are available to blind or visually impaired students throughout Atlantic Canada.

2:30 - 3:00 Break.

3:00 - 4:00

Vender Raffle.

4:00 - 5:00 Concurrent Sessions.

4:00 - 5:00T9

Functional Literacy: The TVI Perspective for Students with Visual and Multiple Disabilities (Dr. Kim Zebehazy) ED, CH

This presentation will report the results of a functional literacy survey distributed to teachers of the visually impaired (TVI) in about 35 states. TVIs were asked their opinions and practices regarding literacy programs for students with severe cognitive disabilities. The following questions were investigated: 1. Is there a pattern of agreement among TVIs regarding the literacy skills that are important to teach students with visual impairments and severe cognitive disabilities? 2. Is there a difference in response when considering students with and without some level of usable vision for pictures and print? 3. What adaptations do TVIs feel are possible for this population of students to utilize? 4. What types of literacy activities do TVIs do with their students? Results, trends, and implications will be discussed.
4:00 - 5:00T10

Rehabilitation in Motion: The Inclusion of Sports in Rehabilitation Programs (Michele Gardiner, Sara Jane McDonald) ED, R, CF, CH, Y

The topic of our presentation will be the inclusion of sports into our pediatric programs at the MAB-Mackay Rehabilitation Centre, primarily at the Mackay Centre School and Philip E. Layton School for children who are blind/visually impaired and children with motor, language and hearing impairments. How we have created links to community sports programs and the experience of our paediatric clients participating in an International sporting event called “Defi Sportif”. We will use power point, a video and handouts to illustrate our topic of discussion.
4:00 - 5:00T11

Cooking for Life: Teaching Practical Cooking and Eating Skills to Students in Grades 5-12 (Kelly Cote, Renee Man) ED, R, CF, CH, Y

"Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime." Perkins Outreach Services has conducted successful weekend programs focusing on cooking and eating skills for students in grades 5-8 and 9-12. This presentation will cover the methods Perkins used to ensure every student got practical hands-on experience with cutting, recipes, use of three different appliances, online grocery shopping, familiarization to kitchen utensils and more.
4:00 - 5:00T12

Medical Managing Challenges in Employment (Margaret Cleary) R, Y, A

We professionals know that there is a significant relationship between some health conditions and visual impairment. Compound co-morbidities result in “disabilities” to employment-age individuals. At the conclusion we will be able to recite reasons health conditions interfere; explain American with Disabilities Act; and identify reasonable accommodations of select health conditions.

5:00 - 5:15 Break.

5:15 - 6:15

Business Meeting & Raffle

6:30 - 7:30

President's Reception.

7:30 - Night on the Town.

Friday November 7, 2008

7:00 - 8:45Breakfast and Division Meetings
  • Education Curriculum/Itinerant Personnel
  • Low Vision
  • Vision Rehabilitation Therapy/Aging
  • Personnel Preparation
  • Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment

9:00 - 10:30 Concurrent Sessions.

9:00 - 10:30F1

My Life, My Journey – A Therapeutic Creative Arts Project (Cammy Holway-Moraros, Ruth Mlotek, Montress Kenniston, Lisa Rosene) R, A, S

We are excited to have an opportunity to share with you the outcomes of this pilot project. This was a collaborative project with a community arts project, Spiral Arts, Inc. Fourteen Elders participated in this project that focused on providing individuals with resources and strategies to explore creativity while reflecting on their life’s stories, including celebrations and significant losses. We will have materials available for you to experience first hand and at least one of the art projects that our group participants completed – with surprising reactions and results!
9:00 - 10:30F2

GeoCaching-using GPS systems for fun! (Meg Robertson) R, CH, A, S

This presentation will discuss what GEO-Caching is, how it could be used for outdoor activities to get out & have fun. Discussion will also include how to make a geo-cache accessible. Depending on weather, a geo-cache event will occur after a ½ hour of introduction inside work. Dress for outdoor travel.
9:00 - 10:30F3

CVI Advisor Training Project: Building a Foundation for Effective Local and Regional Training (Dr. Tracy Evans Luiselli, Susan DeCaluwe) ED, R, CF, CH, Y

This presentation will provide an overview of the CVI Advisor Project conducted by the New England Center Deafblind Project over the past five years. The CVI Advisor Project has focused on training to TVI’s and professionals regarding the CVI Assessment Protocol (Roman, 2007), intervention strategies and use of coaching, feedback, and peer support strategies. Positive changes in child, teacher and parent skills will be highlighted using video examples of children who have CVI.
9:00 - 10:30F4

Parenting with a Visual Impairment (Sandra Cassell) ED, CF, CH, Y

This presentation will dispel some of the misconceptions about parenting with a visual impairment. It will highlight some parenting skills and challenges experienced by blind and partially sighted parents. The focus will be on the three major stages of child development (ages infancy to five years, six to 12 years and 13 to 19 years). The presentation will include handy parenting strategies and resources for visually impaired parents.

10:30 - 11:00 Break.

11:00 - 11:15General Session
Building our Professional Capacity through the Development of a New Quarterly: The Goals of the AER Journal (Dr. Deborah Gold)
11:15 - 12:45

Keynote Address

Mike May,
There is Always a Way: Making the most of your abilities and the most of life in the face of adversity."

Mike May is Co-founder and CEO of Sendero Group. Mike lost his vision at three years of age as the result of a chemical explosion and then at age 46, he had a revolutionary stem cell transplant surgery restored some of his vision. "The procedure was filled with risks, some of them deadly, others beyond May's wildest dreams. Even if the surgery worked, history was against him. Fewer than twenty cases were known worldwide in which a person gained vision after a lifetime of blindness. ( "Crashing Through" is a published book about his life and is being prepared as a feature film.
12:45 - 1:00

Acknowledgements - Conference Close.


Lunch – 2008 & 2009 Committees Meet.