by Laura Weber
From the Editor: Laura Weber is president of the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children. In the following article she provides a glimpse of what families of blind children will experience at this year’s national convention with its many programs and opportunities for parents and teachers of blind children and blind children and young people themselves. This is what she says:
When my daughter Lindsay was six years old, she wanted to be the president of the United States. But only for one term, she told me. After that she wanted to be a clown and make balloon animals at Chick-fil-A.
When she was seven, Lindsay decided that she wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. She told me that she was going to have two children, both girls, and that their names would be Brittany and Emma. I asked her whether a husband fit into this picture, and, if so, did she already know his name too? She didn’t miss a beat. “His name will be Mr. Lindsay.” Of course. How silly of me not to know that.
Now Lindsay is eight years old. She wants to be a baker…and a singer…and an author…and a mom. Her plans may change a hundred more times before she grows up, but the important thing is that, when she thinks about her future, she’s not putting limitations on herself based on her blindness, or anything else for that matter.
What does your child want to do when he or she grows up? Go to college? Get a job? Have a family? What do you want for your child? We all want our children to succeed, but no single definition of success applies to all people--blind or sighted. I believe that our goal should be to help our children reach their full potential, whatever that may be. Whether our kids have academic goals or developmental goals, it is our job as parents and teachers to learn all that we can to help them succeed. The NOPBC conference at the national convention of the NFB is the place to learn how to do just that.
My family attended our first national convention in 2006, and, by the time I left, I knew that the NFB’s philosophy was what I wanted my daughter to learn and live. I want her to have a positive attitude, self-determination, and high expectations; and I want her to have blind adults in her life to model the skills, competence, and confidence needed for success. I don’t know what Lindsay’s future holds, but, whether she’s destined to be the president of the United States or a clown making balloon animals at Chick-fil-A, I want to make sure she has all the tools she needs to achieve her dreams. I want that for your child too, so I hope you’ll join us at the NOPBC conference this year.
The 2011 NOPBC conference, “When I Grow Up,” will take place at the NFB national convention in Orlando, Florida, from July 3 through 8. All families and teachers of blind and visually impaired children are welcome, and we have planned activities for everyone. Be on the lookout for the final conference information bulletin, which will include registration materials. Meanwhile here are some highlights for parents and teachers:
• Sunday, July 3: the full-day NOPBC seminar with speakers, workshops, and activities for children and youth, and a family hospitality meet-and-greet in the evening
• Monday, July 4: cane walks in the morning and a family field trip to Sea World in the afternoon
• Tuesday, July 5: the NOPBC annual meeting, the Braille Book Fair, and Dads’ Night Out
• Wednesday, July 6: NOPBC evening IEP workshops and other workshop sessions
All of this is in addition to the NFB convention sessions, with exciting and important agenda items; the Exhibit Hall, filled with the latest technology and aids and appliances; and division meetings, such as the blind students, Sports and Recreation Division, Performing Arts Division, computer science, guide dog users, and car lovers, just to name a few.
Hope to see you there.
NOPBC Insider Information
National convention is a complicated week of events. Here are a few tips to help you stay organized and take advantage of the many opportunities that will be available.
• Registration for the NOPBC conference will appear in Future Reflections magazine and will be posted on the blindkid listserv and the NOPBC Website shortly. Preregistering will save you money.
• The NOPBC conference takes place within the larger NFB convention. You will need to register for the NFB convention as well, especially if you would like to get our amazingly low room rates. Registering early for the NFB convention will save you money too.
• NOPBC children’s activities take place in the NFB child care rooms and this year will include cars, crafts, and clowns. If you would like your child to participate in the NOPBC children’s activities, please register your child for NFB Child Care.
• NFB Child Care is for children ages six weeks to ten years of age. NFB Child Care information, schedule, and registration forms appear elsewhere in this issue. Child care will be offered each day except Monday, July 4. Check the schedule for details. Note: NFB Child Care can accept only a limited number of children; also there is a deadline for NFB Child Care registration.
• On seminar day (Sunday, July 3), adults, children, and teens will start the day together at the “When I Grow Up…” seminar, where the children will have a chance to chat with NFB President Marc Maurer. At a certain point in the morning, children who are registered for child care will be escorted to the child care rooms, and youth eleven to eighteen will depart for Youth Track activities. Parents and children will rejoin at lunch time. In the afternoon parents and youth will have concurrent workshops, and other children’s activities will take place in the child care rooms.
• NOPBC teen room (ages fourteen to eighteen) and tween room (ages eleven to fourteen) will be available for chaperoned, informal activities at various times during the week.
• In addition to the special NOPBC activities for parents, children, and youth, many other activities that you and your child may be interested in will be going on all week. Often many activities are going on at the same time, and you and your children will have to make choices. Here is a sampling:
• NFB convention sessions Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday
• Karaoke Night, the Mock Trial, the Talent Show, a play written and performed by blind people, open houses of our blindness skills training centers, and technology demonstrations
• Meetings of divisions such as blind students, sports and recreation, performing arts, writers, blind educators, blind office professionals, blind lawyers, computer science, employment, legislation, guide dog users, agriculture and equestrian, and classic car lovers
• The NFB banquet and scholarship presentations
• Our incomparable exhibit hall