In The Drivers Seat
2005 NFB Convention Bulletin
Programs for Families and Teachers of Blind Children
sponsored by the
National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC)
Saturday, July 2 – Friday,
July 8, 2005
Galt House Hotel
Did you know that one of
the technology priorities of the NFB Jernigan Institute is promoting the development
of a car that blind people can drive? Fantastic as it may seem, it is entirely
possible that today's generation of blind children will one day have the opportunity
to operate a vehicle. But blind kids don't have to wait for this to happen to
experience being "in the driver's seat." After all, the term is metaphorical,
not literal. When we say someone is “in the driver's seat," we mean that
this person is in charge; this person has power to choose a course of action
and make it happen. Choices, power, control, action, movement, travel; the phrase
connotes all these things. In short, "in the driver's seat" means
everything that is the opposite of the words historically and universally associated
with blindness; words like passive, immobile, limited, and powerless. Fortunately,
not everyone believes that those words accurately describe blind people anymore
(if they ever did). In fact, thanks in large part to the work of the National
Federation of the Blind (NFB), a great many people in our country and around
the world have come to believe that blind people can lead normal lives. For
over sixty-five years, the NFB has been chipping away at these crusty, false,
stereotypical notions about blindness and replacing them with words like normal,
okay, respectable, and competent. At the 2005 NFB Convention, the NOPBC will
help parents, kids, and teachers expand their vocabulary about blindness as
we take a journey together to explore just what it means for blind kids to be
"in the driver's seat."
Our journey begins on Saturday,
July 2, and ends on Friday, July 8. The NOPBC has events scheduled the first
five of those days and on the last two days, Thursday and Friday, we continue
our journey in learning about blindness as we watch Dr. Marc Maurer and other
blind leaders lead discussions about technology, legislation, and other matters
of a critical importance to the future of our blind children. As usual, the
NOPBC will also announce the big winner of our 50/50 raffle on banquet night
(Thursday), and we will participate in the discussions and reports about the
year's progress on Friday, the final day of the convention.
So, to help you plan your
trip, here's a brief description and schedule –a map, if you will–of the NOPBC-sponsored
On Saturday, July 2, the
NOPBC kicks off the convention with a full day of activities for the entire
family. The day's events (all of which take place in the Galt House Hotel)
- 8:00 a.m. – Registration:
pick up packets and your new WHOZIT family t-shirts! (See your preregistration
packet for more details.)
- 9:00 - Noon –
In the Driver's Seat: A morning family-friendly session for parents,
teachers, and kids mature enough to sit and listen to presentations for the
morning (three hours) with one half-hour break. The event begins, as usual,
with a Kids Talk, featuring NFB president, Marc Maurer, and followed by the
keynote presentation on "Travel, Technology, and Choices." Next,
a panel of students will talk about how the 2004 NFB Science Camp changed
their lives in the program item called: "Launching Rockets and Inner
Journeys." The next item is a combination break and family activity:
putting together a travel bag of age-appropriate toys, games, and puzzles
(ages 0-11). Bags and items provided by NOPBC and the Indiana School for the
Blind COGS Club. (NOTE: Preregistration is required for participation in this
activity). After the break, a panel of parents discuss how to "Beat Boredom:
Make any Trip a Learning Experience." Scenic family trips, daily errands,
car rides to grandma's house, long waits in the doctors office, and even NFB
convention meetings can be very boring indeed to blind and visually impaired
kids for whom the visual landscape means little of nothing. This creative
panel will help parents and kids learn how to make the most of these opportunities
for learning blindness skills, or just having fun. The final panel, made up
of blind adults and older blind youth, will talk about how they "took
charge" in personal stories about travel experiences for the final presentation
entitled: Plane, Train, Cab, Bus, Bike, and 'Foot Leather': Blind People 'In
the Driver's Seat.'
- 8:00 a.m. - 11:00
a.m. – A training workshop for Braille Carnival volunteers. (concurrent
with the morning session, above)
- Noon - 2:00 p.m.
– Small group lunches hosted by NOPBC leaders in their personal East Tower
Suites. (NOTE: Preregistration is required.)
- 1:45 - 5:00 p.m.
– Braille Carnival (2:00 - 4:00 p.m.) and Braille Story time (4:00 - 5:00
p.m.) for children ages five and up.
- 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.
– Concurrent workshops for parents and teachers.
Workshop choices include:
Traveling Solo: Focus on the School Years. When, where, and how should
blind and partially sighted kids start traveling by themselves?
2. Exploration: Focus
on the Early Years, Ages 0-8. When is the trip, not the destination, the
goal of movement and travel?
3. Braille: The Passport
to the World, two sessions; one for novice parents called: Beginning Braille
for Parents; and one for parents with advance knowledge about Braille called:
Formatting and Producing Braille: What Every Parent and Teacher Should Know.
4. Cruising the Internet
and Other Technology Travels. Two sessions of this workshop will be presented
by the Indiana School for the Blind COGS Club and will include demonstrations
of technology and questions and answers from a blind student panel.
5. Active Learning
for the Blind, Multiply Disabled Child.
- 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.
– Special programs for mature youth (blind and sighted), about ages 12 and
up. Choices include:
1. Puzzles, Brainteasers,
and Fun Things to do with Math
2. Art is for Everyone
3. So, You Think You
Would Like to Run a Meeting? –Microphone and speaker etiquette and techniques
for aspiring blind speakers and leaders. (Space is limited in some of the sessions,
so preregistration recommended.)
- 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
– Family Scavenger Hunt. Families are teamed up with a blind mentor (canes
and sleepshades for sighted family members are optional) for a fun evening
of exploring the hotel, picking up some blind travel tips, and making new
friends. (Preregistration is recommended to guarantee that we have enough
blind mentors for all families wishing to participate.)
- 7:00 - 10:00 p.m.
– Family Hospitality
- 9:00 - 11:00 a.m.
and 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. – Cane Walk for Parents, Kids, and
Teachers. This program provides a hands-on introduction to the Guided Discovery
method of cane travel, orientation, and mobility. Blind and sighted instructors
from the Louisiana Tech/Louisiana Center for the Blind O&M program take
parents, kids, and teachers on a "cane walk"–a mini-lesson with
NFB canes and sleepshades–in the hotel. NOTE: Participants are required to
register for the NFB Convention before or immediately after their Cane Walk.
- 1:00 - 5:00 p.m.
– Teen Get-Acquainted Party, cosponsored by NOPBC and Blind Industries
and Services of Maryland (BISM).
- 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
– NOPBC Annual Meeting, featuring a keynote address by the 2005 winner
of the Distinguished Educator of Blind Children.
- 3:30 - 5:00 p.m.
– Parent Power Workshop. Expanding and strengthening state and local
parent groups, fund-raising, developing programs, networking, and recruiting
- 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
– Braille Book Flea Market at the Braille Readers Are Leaders Annual
Reunion. All Braille lovers are welcome! Co-sponsored by the National Association
to Promote the use of Braille (NAPUB) and supported by the local UPS volunteers.
Come browse tables and tables of used and new Braille and print-Braille storybooks.
UPS volunteers will box and ship books to your home, Free Matter for the Blind,
right then and there. Donations are requested and will be used to support
the Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest and Literacy program.
- 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
and 8:30 - 10:00 p.m.
– Children Can Learn to Handle Emergencies. A Special program to teach
basic body awareness (how to find and read a pulse) and procedures for handling
common medical emergencies (calling 911 and reporting an emergency) for children
and youth. This program is conducted by NOPBC parent leader and paramedic,
Maria Garcia. The first session is for young children (about 5 - 9). These
children must be accompanied by parent or an adult. The second session is
for more mature children and youth (about 10 and up). Older youth may attend
without parents depending upon maturity level of the youth and if enough adult
supervision is available. Preregistration is required.
- 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
– Planning Your Child's IEP and Education Program: Focus on the Transition
Years (Middle/High School).
- 8:30 - 10:00 p.m.
– Planning Your Child's IEP and Education Program: Focus on the Elementary
- 8:30 - 10:30 p.m.
– Planning Your Child's Education Program: Focus on the Early Years, 0-Kindergarten
- 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
– Implementing an Active Learning Program for Blind, Multiply-Disabled
- Dr. Doolittle Comes
to Louisville! On tour afternoon, NOPBC leaders Brad and Jill Weathered
and Sandy and Joe Taboada have put together a fun afternoon for families.
At a location and time to be announced (we are looking at two places accessible
by city bus), blind kids and their families can get a very close-up, hands-on
experience with a variety of live animals from the area's 4-H Clubs, the Farm
Bureau, and a therapy animals organization (WAGS). The Weatherds are Range
Managers by profession (they live in Wyoming) and their blind daughter, Hannah,
has raised and shown rabbits, chickens, and other animals in the 4-H Club.
The Taboadas are professional Veterinarians, and both teach full-time at the
university level. Preregistration is recommended as we expect to have limited
- 7:30 p.m. – Family
Night at the Movies, presented by NCI Described Media. Title to be announced.
FEES: $35, two adults
plus children. $15 one adult (no children). $25, one adult plus children. This
fee includes a bag lunch hosted by NOPBC leaders in their East Tower Suites.
It will also help defray the cost of workshop materials.
We will send 2005 NOPBC
Preregistration packet information by mail, fax, or email. When you make a request
for a packet, please give us your name, a phone number, tell us where and how
to send you the packet, and tell us if you are a parent of a blind child, a
family member, a teacher, a blind adult, etc. You may contact us at:
1800 Johnson Street
Fax: (410) 659-5129
Phone: (410) 659-9314,
extension 2360 or 2361
are invited to leave your request with your name and address if you get a voice
mail message. Please be sure to also leave a phone number so we can call you
back if we have any questions about the spelling of your name, etc.).
Information and a preregistration
form will also be available on the NOPBC Web page at <http://nfb.org/nopbc.htm>.
Sorry, we cannot take credit cards.
CHECKS AND COMPLETED PREREGISTRATION FORMS TO:
Sandy Taboada, NOPBC Treasurer
6960 South Fieldgate
Baton Rouge, Louisiana