Braille Monitor                                                May 2013

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No Limits!
2013 National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC) Conference for Families and Teachers

by Carlton Walker

From the Editor: One activity that makes our convention unique is the annual program sponsored by the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children. No other conference in the world does as much to provide programming for blind children and their parents. Here is the list of activities they will enjoy this summer in Orlando:
           
Shortly after my daughter Anna Catherine turned three, an ophthalmologist told me that she was legally blind and had central vision loss. I was surprised, but I was not particularly worried. At that point I had not noticed any evidence of her visual impairment. Besides, blindness was nothing compared to what she had already faced.

Anna Catherine's first year of life had been filled with multiple hospitalizations, endless painful procedures, and tube feeding through a port in her stomach. Just before her first Christmas, her doctors warned us that our nine month old might not live another year. They said we would be lucky if she lived to be five or six years old. Thankfully they were wrong about her diagnosis, but Anna still had much to overcome. When she was one year old, she was finally strong enough to begin the physical milestones of infancy such as rolling over and sitting up. Shortly after her second birthday a month-long stay at a feeding clinic taught her how to swallow. She spent the next year trying new foods and liquids, and we went a whole twelve months without a visit to a hospital emergency room.

Thus, even though I was not expecting the legal-blindness diagnosis, I was not really worried. Anna acted just like most three-year-olds. Nevertheless, I began to research what this term “legally blind” meant. I found out that central vision loss can significantly impair one's ability to read print. I wondered whether she should start learning Braille. I wondered what her future would hold.

I soon found, however, that many people thought my ideas about Braille were simply wrong. Anna's ophthalmologists and optometrists downplayed my thoughts about her using Braille, “She should be able to read print, so she won't need Braille.” Anna's educators conveyed a certainty that she would not be a candidate for Braille. They told me that she would need large print (thirty-six- to forty-eight-point font) and as a result would be a slower reader. I wondered why these people who said she didn't need Braille were telling me about what she couldn't do because of her limited vision. Wouldn't Braille help?

Even in our own family no one seemed eager to admit that Anna's life would be affected in any way by “her eye issues.” My husband retreated from any talk about Braille or canes, while other family members expressed great sadness about her vision. One close family member was downright hostile and even forbade me from saying the “B” word—blind—in front of Anna.

Despite all this, eventually I knew that my little girl needed more than she was getting. I noticed that Anna was not as independent as her peers. My fearless toddler was becoming a fearful preschooler. One day, while walking home from the library, I made Anna let go of her fierce grip on my hand. None of the other children at the library story hour held their parents’ hands as tightly. Two steps later, Anna walked right into a telephone pole and ended up with a walnut-sized lump in the middle of her forehead. I immediately felt terrible and went back to holding her hand all the time. It seemed that her limited vision was truly going to limit her.
Fortunately, through a series of coincidences, I found out about the National Federation of the Blind and a conference being held in just a few weeks. Somehow my husband agreed to take off work to go to this conference for parents and blind kids—even though he knew that Anna wasn't one.

In May 2005, at that conference in Baltimore, Maryland, everything changed. We met successful blind adults who showed us that blindness was not the tragedy we had been led to believe. We heard that blindness skills could “reduce blindness to the level of a physical nuisance.” We learned that our little girl need not be defined by her visual acuity or her visual field. Before the conference we had believed that the amount of vision Anna had would determine how far she would go in life. Instead we began to understand that having the skills to do the task at hand, not level of vision, would be the most accurate predictor of future success for our young daughter.

At that 2005 conference I also came to know the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC). In addition to successful blind adults we had the support of parents from all over the nation. While each family has its own story, we remain together in believing that our children can be as successful and as independent as they would be with full sight. With the help of successful blind adults, our children are reducing blindness to the level of a physical nuisance and tearing down the artificial vision-focused barriers erected by others.

Now, as NOPBC president, I have the great honor and pleasure of welcoming you to our No Limits conference. No Limits means sharing information, ideas, and dreams. No Limits means mastering the skills needed for independence and self-determination. No Limits means the amount of eyesight our children have will not be the determining factor in how far they go in life. No Limits!

The thirtieth annual NOPBC conference, No Limits, will take place from Monday, July 1, to Saturday, July 6, 2013, at the national convention of the National Federation of the Blind in Orlando, Florida, at the Rosen Centre Hotel. We look forward to seeing you at our full-day seminar on Monday and at our many activities, listed below, which continue all week. Preregister (forms below) or register on-site in Orlando. Hope to see you there.

No Limits!
2013 NOPBC CONFERENCE
Schedule of Activities for Parents, Teachers, Children, and Youth

Please Note: NOPBC children’s activities will take place in NFB child care throughout the week. Be sure to register your child for child care. (NFB child care has separate registration and fees—see the article in the April issue.)

MONDAY, JULY 1: Full-Day Seminar for Parents and Teachers 

7:30 AM to 8:45 AM—Registration

9:00 AM to 10:45 AM—General Session
            Welcome—Carlton Walker, president, NOPBC 
            Kid Talk with Dr. Marc Maurer—Kids get a chance to speak to the president of the National Federation of the Blind about anything on their minds.
            No Limits!—Anil Lewis, director of advocacy and policy, National Federation of the Blind 
            Braille Readers Are Leaders Recognition
           Life without Limits—Dr. Jessica Ewell, opera singer; Lindsay Yazzolino, MIT cognitive neuroscience researcher
            No Limits for These Kids!—The students speak.

11:00 AM to 12:15 PM—NOPBC Children’s Activity, Music and Movement with Conchita Hernandez, special educator (ages 5-12, in NFB child care)

11:00 AM to 12:15 PM—NFB Youth Track Session (ages 11-18)
Sponsored by NFB Jernigan Institute
Children who would like to take part in the Kid Talk with Dr. Maurer and Youth Track participants will begin the day in the general session, after which they will be escorted to child care or their activity. 

11:00 AM to 12:15 PM—NOPBC Concurrent Sessions—Parents and Teachers
Access Tech: Apple Products
Come see how the accessibility of iPhone, iPad, iPod products, accessories, and apps could work for your child/student. Instructor: Dan Wenzel, manager, youth services, Blind Industries and Services of Maryland (BISM). Note: This workshop repeats at 2:00 PM.

Early Childhood Language and Play
Learn how to create a stimulating environment for the development of language and play in the young blind/visually impaired child. Instructor: Heather Field, special educator

The Inclusive Classroom
How to set up the classroom and what the classroom teacher needs to know for the student’s full participation throughout the day. Instructors: Denise Mackenstadt, NOMC; Kristen Sims, teacher of blind students

Making and Understanding Raised-Line Drawings
Participants will use raised-line drawing (RLD) boards to create, erase, and revise images through free-hand sketching and more formal manual drawing methods needed for STEM curriculum content. Staff will share tips for improving student ability to read RLDs by touch and understand their content. Instructors: E.A.S.Y. LLC Staff

Social Skills for the Teen Years
Looking good, making friends, dating, and other concerns of the teen years. Instructor: Deja Powell, cane travel teacher. Fashionista: Garrick Scott, president, NFB of GA, and youth mentor

12:15 PM to 2:00 PM—Lunch on your own
Pick up children ASAP from NFB child care at 12:15.

1:30 to 4:30 PM—NFB Youth Track Sessions (ages 11-18)

2:00 PM—NOPBC Children’s Activity Hands-on Art with Ann Cunningham, tactile artist (ages 5-12, in NFB child care)

2:00 PM to 3:15 PM—NOPBC Concurrent Sessions—Parents and Teachers
Access Tech: Apple Products
Come see how the accessibility of iPhone, iPad, iPod products, accessories, and apps could work for your child/student. Instructor: Dan Wenzel, manager, youth services, Blind Industries and Services of Maryland (BISM) (Repeat of morning session)

What’s Available?
What tools and materials are available for my child’s use for access to a full education? Where can my school get them? Instructor: Eric Guillory, director of youth services, LA Center for the Blind

Movement and Exploration for the Young Blind Child
How can you get your child moving and exploring the world? What if your child has delays? Would a cane be good for your child? The session will be appropriate for families with children with or without additional disabilities. Instructor: Mary Jo Hartle, NOMC, teacher of blind students

Aiming for Independence
Independent living skills for home, school, and community. Instructor: Melissa Riccobono, president, NFB of MD, school counselor

The ABCs of Braille
A hands-on workshop for adults that will teach the beginning of Braille reading and writing. Instructor: TBA

3:30 PM to 4:45 PM—NOPBC Concurrent Sessions—Parents and Teachers
Technology: Where Do I Start?
This session will explore the basics of access technology for blind/VI children. Instructor: Jack Mendez, director of technology, LA Center for the Blind

Social Skills for the Younger Years: Interaction and Play
How parents and teachers can facilitate the development of age-appropriate social skills in the younger blind/VI child. Instructor: TBA

Out and About: Independent Mobility for Your School-Aged Child 
High expectations, real-life goals, and how to achieve them in independent travel. Instructor: Denise Mackenstadt, NOMC

Self-Advocacy: A Critical Life Skill 
We want our children to be able to take charge of their own lives as adults. This workshop will explore the importance of self-advocacy and provide suggestions for teaching children to speak up for themselves effectively. Instructor: Arielle Silverman, doctoral student, University of Colorado

Persuade, Negotiate, Collaborate
Choosing your battles and resolving conflict at IEP meetings so that your child can benefit and make the most progress. Instructor: Sharon Maneki, NFB of MD, advocate

7:00 PM to 9:00 PM—NOPBC Family Hospitality
Relax, chat, meet new families, and connect with old friends. Veteran parents will be on hand to welcome you and provide information.

TUESDAY, JULY 2
No NFB child care on this day

7:00 AM to 8:45 AM—NOPBC Board Meeting

8:45 AM to 10:30 AM—CANE WALK Session I

11:00 AM to 12:45 PM—CANE WALK Session II
Learn and experience the structured-discovery method of travel at these special workshops. Parents, teachers, blind children, siblings welcome. Instructors: Jeff Altman, NOMC, and cane travel instructors

2:45 PM to 4:00 PM—NOPBC Youth Style Show
This is an opportunity for your aspiring model to take a walk down the runway in a favorite outfit from his or her closet. Contact Kim Cunningham at (713) 501-9659 or <kim@gulfimagesphoto.com> for more information and to sign up.

4:00 PM to 5:00 PM—NFB Youth Track Session (ages 11-18)

WEDNESDAY, JULY 3

10:00 AM—NOPBC Children’s Activity, Astronaut Activities with Noreen Grice, accessible astronomy educator (ages 6-12, in NFB child care)

11:30 AM to 12:30 PM—NFB Youth Track Session (ages 11-18)

12:45 PM—NOPBC Children’s Activity, Beep Kickball with Judy Byrd, Beep Kickball Association (ages 5-12, in NFB child care). You can drop off your child early at child care on this afternoon so that you can attend the NOPBC annual meeting. 

1:00 PM to 4:00 PM—NOPBC Annual Meeting: Options and Opportunities
Keynote address by the 2013 Distinguished Educator of Blind Children Award winner, special guest speakers, news from NASA, cutting-edge information on products and services, summer programs for our kids, Parent Power, business meeting, elections, and much more

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM—Braille Book Fair 
A book lover's dream! Browse tables of new and used Braille and print/Braille books. Volunteers will box your books, and the post office will deliver them to your home as Free Matter. Books are free; donations are encouraged to help support our Braille programs. Cosponsored by NOPBC and NAPUB. Coordinator: Krystal Guillory, teacher of blind students, NFBL BELL Coordinator

7:00 PM to 9:00 PM—NFB Youth Track Activity (ages 11-18)

7:30 PM to 9:00 PM—Dads’ Night Out
All dads, sighted or blind, are welcome. Call Jim Beyer at (406) 239-2057 for location.

9:00 PM to 10:00 PM—Convention 101
Facilitated convention experience for tweens and teens. Facilitator: Carlton Walker, president, NOPBC

THURSDAY, JULY 4

7:00 to 9:00 AM—NOPBC Board Meeting

8:45 to 9:20 AM—Convention 101
Facilitated Convention experience for tweens and teens. Facilitator: Carlton Walker, president, NOPBC

10:00 AM—NOPBC Children’s Activity, Making Raised-Line Drawings with Staff of E.A.S.Y. LLC(ages 6-12, in NFB child care)

12:15 PM to 1:15 PM—Convention 101

2:00 PM—NOPBC Children’s Activity, NASA at Your Fingertips with David Hurd, NASA scientist (ages 5-12, in NFB child care)

5:10 PM to 5:35 PM—Convention 101

7:00 PM to 10:00 PM—NOPBC Children’s Activity Crafts and Games—For children whose parents are attending NOPBC evening workshops. (ages 5-12)      

7:00 PM to 9:45 PM—NOPBC Concurrent Sessions—Parents and Teachers

7:00 PM to 8:15 PM—Homeschooling a Blind/Visually Impaired Child
Come network with other homeschoolers to share information and tips and discuss the challenges and satisfactions of homeschooling. Instructor: Heather Field, special educator

7:00 PM to 8:15 PM—IEP Basics for Parents of Blind/VI Students 
The sections of the IEP, essential assessments, how assessment information is used, how to be an active and effective participant. Instructor: Carlton Walker, attorney, teacher of blind students

8:30 PM to 9:45 PM—IEP Development and Legal Process Overview
Do’s and Don’t’s for the IEP meeting; preparing for possible mediation, due process, appeal, etc.; overview of the legal process; how to prepare for a due process hearing so you don’t have to have one. Instructor: Carlton Walker, attorney, teacher of blind students

NFB Youth Track Activity (ages 11-18)—Time TBA

FRIDAY, JULY 5

8:15 AM to 8:50 AM  Convention 101
Facilitated Convention experience for tweens and teens. Facilitator: Carlton Walker, president, NOPBC

12:15 PM to 1:15 PM—Convention 101

5:10 PM to 5:35 PM—Convention 101

SATURDAY, JULY 6

8:15 AM to 8:50 AM—Convention 101
Facilitated Convention experience for tweens and teens. Facilitator: Carlton Walker, president, NOPBC

12:15 PM to 1:15 PM—Convention 101

5:10 PM to 5:35 PM—Convention 101


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 Information

Activities for Children and Youth; Child Care Information

Seminar Day Information

Other Activities Going on All Week Long
In addition to the special NOPBC activities for parents, children, and youth listed in this article, other activities that you and your child may be interested in attending will be going on all week. Often activities are going on at the same time, and you and your child will have to make choices. Here is a sampling:

NOPBC Family Outing to Gatorland
Gatorland has made it possible for NOPBC families to visit the park on Sunday, June 30, at a discounted rate. Please note, this is the day before our full-day seminar. We will meet in the lobby of the Rosen Centre Hotel at 1:00 PM on Sunday and then carpool or cab-pool to Gatorland, which is a short distance from the hotel. We can then enjoy the park from 1:30 to 5:00 or 6:00 PM, depending on its closing time that day.

Cost of the discounted tickets will be $17.49 for adults and $10.75 for children 3-12 years. Children under 3 are free. Visit the Gatorland website at <www.gatorland.com/index.shtml> to see all the fun-filled activities it offers.

REGISTRATION
NOPBC 2013 CONFERENCE—NO LIMITS! 

Make check payable to NOPBC and mail with forms to:
Pat Renfranz, NOPBC Treasurer
397 Middle Oak Lane, Salt Lake City, UT 84108
Save money by preregistering. Preregistration must be postmarked by June 15.
After June 15, please register on-site in Orlando.

 

By June 15

On-site in Orlando

Adult

$30

$35

Child/Youth (up to 18 years)

FREE
Children are free, but please list names and ages below

FREE

Adult Name ____________________________________________________
 [ ] parent [ ] professional [ ] other____________________

Adult Name ____________________________________________________
 [ ] parent [ ] professional [ ] other____________________

Please list additional adults on a separate sheet.
Address ______________________________ City _____________________
State _______ Zip _____________ Phone ___________________
Email _______________________________ Alt. phone ________________

Child/Youth 1—Name (first and last), age, brief description of vision and any additional disabilities: _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________
Child/Youth 2: _____________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
Please list additional children/youth on a separate sheet.

How many?                  Prereg. by June 15                 On-site reg.
 Adults _____              @ $30 = $______ or              @ $35 = $______
 
 Child/Youth _____                                                      FREE = $__00__
                                               
                                                                         Total enclosed: $_________

___ I receive Future Reflections
___ This is my 1st national convention
___ I am a member of my state NFB/POBC
       If not, how many national conventions have you attended? ______________

PLEASE NOTE: Preregistrations postmarked after June 15 will be returned.

Also, remember that registrations for the NOPBC conference and NFB child care are separate and must be mailed to different places.

WORKSHOP and ACTIVITY SIGN-UP

SUNDAY, JUNE 30 (Day before conference begins)

1:00 PM—Trip to Gatorland (Please list how many will attend)
 _____ Adults _____ Children 4-12 years _____ Children 3 and under
            (Payment is due the day of the trip.)

MONDAY, JULY 1

11:00 AM to 12:15 PM (Please mark how many will attend each session)

_____ Access Tech: Apple Products 
_____ Early Childhood
_____ Inclusive Classroom 
_____ Raised Line Drawings
_____ Social Skills—Teens

2:00 PM to 3:15 PM (Please mark how many will attend each session)

_____ Access Tech: Apple Products
_____ What’s Available?
_____ Movement and Exploration for the Young Blind Child
_____ Aiming for Independence
_____ ABCs of Braille

3:30 PM to 4:45 PM(Please mark how many will attend each session)

_____ Technology: Where Do I Start?
_____ Social Skills—Younger Children
_____ Out and About: Independent Mobility for Your School-Aged Child 
_____ Self-Advocacy 
_____ Persuade, Negotiate, Collaborate

CHILDREN—You must register your child for NFB child care for the day for child to participate. Child care has separate registration and fees. (See article in the April issue.)

Please mark how many children will attend each session
 
 _____ 11 AM to 12:15 PM: Music and Movement (ages 5 – 12)
            Name   _____________________      Age_______
                          _____________________      Age_______

 _____ 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM: Hands-On Art (ages 5 – 12)  
            Name   _____________________      Age_______
                          _____________________      Age_______

TUESDAY, JULY 2
 
8:45 AM to 10:30 AM: Cane Walk Session I
            _____ adults   _____ children      _____ youth
                                       ________ ages    ________ ages

11:00 AM to 12:45 PM: Cane Walk Session II
            _____ adults   _____ children      _____ youth
                                       ________ ages    ________ ages

2:45 PM to 4:00 PM—Youth Style Show
            Name   _____________________      Age_______
                          _____________________      Age_______
 
WEDNESDAY, JULY 3 

CHILDREN—You must register your child for NFB child care for the day for child to participate (separate registration and fees).

Please mark how many children will attend each session
 
 _____ 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM—Astronaut Activities (ages 6-12; mature 5-year-olds may attend)
            Name   _____________________      Age_______
                          _____________________      Age_______

 _____ 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM—Beep Kickball (ages 5-12)
            Name   _____________________      Age_______
                          _____________________      Age_______

THURSDAY, JULY 4

CHILDREN—You must register your child for NFB child care for the day for child to participate (separate registration and fees).

Please mark how many will attend each session.
 
 _____ 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM—Making Raised-Line Drawings (ages 6-12)
            Name   _____________________      Age_______
                          _____________________      Age_______

_____ 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM—Space Exploration (ages 5-12)
            Name   _____________________      Age_______
                          _____________________      Age_______

ADULTS

7:00 PM to 8:15 PM(Please mark how many will attend each session) 
           _____ Homeschooling

           _____ IEP Basics for Parents of Blind/VI Students

8:30 PM to 9:45 PM(Please mark how many will attend)
            _____ IEP Development and Legal Process Overview

CHILDREN (ages 5-12 years)

Please note: Sign your child up for this activity only if you will be attending NOPBC workshops that evening.

_____ 7 to 10 PM Crafts and Games (Please mark how many will attend)
            Name   _____________________      Age_______
                          _____________________      Age_______

NOPBC 2013 CONFERENCE OVERVIEW

Gatorland trip is Sun., June 30. Teen Room and Tween Room schedules to come.

Monday, July 1
9:00 AM to 10:45 AM            No Limits Seminar (Adults, Children, Youth)
11:00 AM to 12:15 PM           NOPBC Children’s Activity in Child Care
11:00 AM to 12:15 PM           Youth Track
11:00 AM to 12:15 PM           NOPBC Concurrent Workshop Sessions
1:30 PM to 4:30 PM               Youth Track
2:00 PM                                  NOPBC Children’s Activity in Child Care
2:00 PM to 3:15 PM               NOPBC Concurrent Workshop Sessions
3:30 PM to 4:45 PM               NOPBC Concurrent Workshop Sessions
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM               Family Hospitality

Tuesday, July 2
7:00 AM to 8:45 AM              NOPBC Board Meeting
8:45 AM to 10:30 AM            Cane Walk Session I (Adults, Children, Youth) 
11:00 AM to 12:45 PM           Cane Walk Session II (Adults, Children, Youth)
2:45 PM to 4:00 PM               Youth Style Show
4:00 PM to 5:00 PM               Youth Track

Wednesday, July 3
9:00 AM                                  NOPBC Children’s Activity in Child Care
11:30 AM to 12:30 PM           Youth Track
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM               NOPBC Annual Meeting—Drop kids in child care early
2:00 PM                                  NOPBC Children’s Activity in Child Care
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM               Braille Book Fair
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM               Youth Track
7:30 PM to 9:00 PM               Dads’ Night Out
9:00 PM to 10:00 PM             Convention 101

Thursday, July 4                                 
7:00 AM to 9:00 AM        NOPBC Board Meeting
8:45 AM to 9:20 AM        Convention 101 meets
10:00 AM                           NOPBC Children’s Activity in Child Care
12:15 PM to 1:15 PM      Convention 101 meets
2:00 PM                             NOPBC Children’s Activity in Child Care
5:10 PM to 5:35 PM        Convention 101 meets
7:00 PM to 9:45 PM       NOPBC Concurrent Workshops
7:00 to 10:00 PM            Children’s Activity for children whose parents are in the NOPBC workshops
Time TBA                          Youth Track

Friday, July 5 and Saturday, July 6
8:15 AM to 8:50 AM              Convention 101 meets
12:15 PM to 1:15 PM             Convention 101 meets
5:10 PM to 5:35 PM               Convention 101 meets

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