Future Reflections                                                                                         Winter/Spring 2005

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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
Louisville, Kentucky

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 convention events:

SATURDAY, JULY 2

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) include:

Workshop choices include:

1.   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.

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.)

SUNDAY, JULY 3

MONDAY, JULY 4

TUESDAY, JULY 5

WEDNESDAY, JULY 6

NOPBC PREREGISTRATION

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.

REQUEST FORMS FROM:

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:

NOPBC
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21230
Email: bcheadle@nfb.org or khartsgrove@nfb.org
Fax: (410) 659-5129
Phone: (410) 659-9314, extension 2360 or 2361

(You 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. 

MAIL CHECKS AND COMPLETED PREREGISTRATION FORMS TO:

Sandy Taboada, NOPBC Treasurer
6960 South Fieldgate Court
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70808-5455
Email: smerchant@vetmed.lsu.edu

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