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The Braille Monitor,  May 2001 Edition
This is a line.

A New Day in Rehabilitation for the Blind


Dr. Maurer speak to a large group of people in the NFB conference room.
Dr. Maurer opens the Millenium Symposium on Rehabilitation

  From the Editor: For far too many years the rehabilitation of blind people was conducted by professionals, some of whom were blind, but almost all of whom were quite conscious of their exalted position as professionals. The clients were dealt with, repaired as well as possible, and sent off to the outside world, where they resumed their lives as best they could. If they expressed an interest in establishing a dialogue with the professionals about the services blind people needed and their expectations of the capacities of blind people or tried to get to know and help new clients still in the system, they were firmly discouraged and clearly kept on the outside.

     In recent years the popularity of this model has begun to fade. Clients are now called consumers of services or customers, and the notion that we are all engaged in this effort together is certainly becoming fashionable and is even being acted upon more frequently. Professionals are learning that consumers and consumer groups can actually be of help, and the organized blind movement is coming to hold increasing respect for those professionals who are willing to work with us to achieve common goals in rehabilitation.

     The leadership of the National Federation of the Blind decided that the time had come to call together a group of blindness rehabilitation agency leaders and the NFB affiliate presidents in their states. The result was a two-day conference held at the National Center for the Blind in January of 2001. It provided an opportunity for those who shared a commitment to quality service for blind people and a willingness to work together for common goals to think creatively about our problems and look for constructive solutions. Time will tell whether further such discussions will bear additional fruit. Following are the agenda for the meeting, the participant list, and the address delivered by Dr. Fred Schroeder, who that week was completing his term as Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration:

                         

Millennium Symposium on Improving Services for the Blind

January 18-19, 2001

National Center for the Blind
Sponsored by the National Federation of the Blind
Marc Maurer, President

                        

Program                         

1.    Welcome and Introduction

2.    Report from the Rehabilitation Services Administration (Dr. Fredric K. Schroeder)

3.    Structure of Agencies for the Blind—Advantages and Disadvantages (Jim Omvig)

4.    Relationships with Consumer Groups—What Can Consumers Do for Agencies and What Can Agencies Do for Consumers? (Jamie Hilton and Joe Ruffalo)

5.    Services Reasonably to be Expected from an Agency for the Blind (Tom Robertson and Jim Omvig)
       (a) Vocational Rehabilitation Services
       (b) Related Services
       (c) Services to the Elderly Blind
       (d) Nontraditional Services

6.    Studies of Rehabilitation Effectiveness (Joe Cordova)

7.    Legislative Priorities—Federal and State (James Gashel)

       (a) Medicare in Rehabilitation (James Gashel and Kristen Cox)
       (b) Model State Commission for the Blind (James Gashel)
       (c ) State Technology Bills (James Gashel)
       (d) Inequities in the Formula for 110 Funding (Allen Harris)

8.    Randolph-Sheppard Priorities (Kevan Worley)

        (a) Third-party Contracts
        (b) Regional Initiatives
        (c) Traditional Approaches

9.     Training of Rehabilitation Professionals (Joanne Wilson, Susan Benbow, and Joe Cordova)

10.   Operation of Orientation to Blindness Programs (Joanne Wilson, Joyce Scanlan, Diane McGeorge and Julie Deden)

11.    Standards for Rehabilitation Personnel and Programs

12.    Technology in Rehabilitation—The Need for Trained Technology Professionals.

13.    Future Initiatives

14.    Adjourn

Millenium Symposium Participants

Susan Benbow, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of the Commissioner, Rehabilitation    Services Administration, united States Department of Education.

Patrick Cannon, Executive Director, Michigan Commission for the Blind, Family    Independence Agency

Betty Capps, Member, National Federation of the Blind since 1956

Donald Capps, Board Member, National Federation of the Blind; Senior Administrator, Claims Department, Colonial Life Insurance Company (retired)

Nell Carney, Commissioner, South Carolina Commission for the Blind

Joe Cordova, Director, Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Rehabilitation Services Administration, United States Department of Education

Kristen Cox, Assistant Director of Governmental Affairs, National Federation of the Blind

Richard Davis, Assistant Director, Employment Services, Blindness: Learning in New    Dimensions

Julie Deden, Executive Director, Colorado Center for the Blind

Vito DeSantis, Manager, Joseph Kohn Rehabilitation Center, Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, New Jersey Department of Human Services

Parnell Diggs, President, National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina

Peggy Elliott, Second Vice President, National Federation of the Blind; President, National Federation of the Blind of Iowa

Ron Gardner, President, National Federation of the Blind of Utah

James Gashel, Director of Governmental Affairs, National Federation of the Blind

Bill Gibson, Director, Utah Division of Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Allen Harris, Treasurer, National Federation of the Blind; Director of Field Operations, New York State Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped, Office of Children and Family Services

Jamie Hilton, Executive Director, Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, New Jersey Department of Human Services

Ray Hopkins, Visual Services Director, Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Visual    Services Division

Cathy Jackson, President, National Federation of the Blind of Kentucky

Carl Jacobsen, President, National Federation of the Blind of New York

Mary Ellen Jernigan, Director of Operations, National Federation of the Blind

Ed Kunz, Director, Texas Commission for the Blind, Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center

Melody Lindsey, Director, Michigan Commission for the Blind Training Center

Marc Maurer, President, National Federation of the Blind

Shawn Mayo, President, National Association of Blind Students

Diane McGeorge, Member, Board of Directors, National Federation of the Blind; Chairman, Board of Directors, Colorado Center for the Blind

Terry Murphy, Executive Director, Texas Commission for the Blind

Noel Nightingale, President, National Federation of the Blind of Washington; Blindness Skills Development Director, Washington State Department of Services for the Blind

Jim Omvig, Administrator of Programs for the Blind (retired)

Bill Palmer, Executive Director, Washington State Department of Services for the Blind

Zena Pearcy, President, National Federation of the Blind of Texas

Mary Poole, National Development Professional and Consultant

Tom Robertson, Associate Commissioner, New York State Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped, Office of Children and Family Services

Joe Ruffalo, President, National Federation of the Blind of New Jersey

Joyce Scanlan, First Vice President, National Federation of the Blind; Executive Director, Blindness Learning in New Dimensions

Arthur Schreiber, President, National Federation of the Blind of New Mexico

Fred Schroeder, Commissioner, Rehabilitation Services Administration, United States Department of Education

Michael Seay, President, National Federation of the Blind of Tennessee

Carlos Servan, President, National Federation of the Blind of Nebraska; Deputy Director, Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Steven Shelton, President, National Federation of the Blind of Oklahoma

Terry Smith, Executive Director, Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Tennessee Department of Human Services

Greg Trapp, Executive Director, New Mexico Commission for the Blind

Pearl Van Zandt, Executive Director, Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Barbara Walker, Chairman, Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Joanne Wilson, Member, Board of Directors, National Federation of the Blind; Executive Director, Louisiana Center for the Blind

Betty Woodward, President, National Federation of the Blind of Connecticut

Kevan Worley, President, National Association of Blind Merchants

Fred Wurtzel, President, National Federation of the Blind of Michigan; Program Manager, Business Enterprise Program, Michigan Commission for the Blind, Family Independence Agency

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