Braille Monitor                                             May 2015

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Crafting Your Diamond: The 2015 NOPBC Conference

by Carlton Walker

As the president of the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC), a division of the NFB, I have the privilege of writing this essay inviting you to the NOPBC’s Annual Conference which will be held at the NFB National Convention Sunday, July 5 through Saturday, July 10, 2015, at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, Florida. In addition to serving as the NOPBC president, I am employed as a teacher of the blind and visually impaired in Cumberland and York counties, Pennsylvania, and I am an attorney with my own solo practice. But, by far, my heart and mind are dedicated to the NFB and the NOPBC—I relish the opportunity to share with others and learn from friends.

As I write this essay, I am enjoying a much-anticipated and long-awaited vacation with my husband, Steve, and our daughter, Anna Catherine. I am stretched out on a comfy sofa in a lounge area on our cruise ship, the Norwegian Sun. We enjoy getting away on vacation, and a cruise offers us just what we like: lots of choices and few demands. On these cruises we cannot help but learn about all the shopping opportunities in the Caribbean—and chief among these is shopping for diamonds.

This seemed quite apropos, given that we will be celebrating the seventy-fifth anniversary of our National Federation of the Blind this year. From the gem-buying workshops I have attended, I discovered that the “Four Cs of Diamond Buying” apply to our blind children as well. While the diamond’s four Cs are cut, carat, color, and clarity, the four Cs of rearing a successful blind child are competence, confidence, creativity, and community. Competence requires the acquisition of, practice with, and mastery of nonvisual skills and tools, such as Braille, the long white cane, and access technology. Confidence provides a platform upon which these skills may be used. Creativity brings in the beauty of the individual—a diamond unlike any other who uses these skills in new and exciting ways. Community represents giving back—competent, confident, creative blind children and adults are full members of their communities and contribute to the growth and strength of them.

While I cannot afford to purchase a diamond, I believe that our children, blind or sighted, are the most precious gems we will ever encounter. Like diamonds, they are strong and possess qualities that some might not expect. Diamonds are known for their beauty, but they are actually quite valuable for industrial uses that have no relation to their physical appearance. Similarly, even though outsiders may not understand it, our children help us and others to experience and see our world in ways we would surely have missed without them. And, like rough, uncut diamonds, our children’s beauty and value cannot be fully realized until they experience the empowerment of nonvisual skills that let them shine.

Please join us at the Rosen Centre in Orlando, Florida, July 5 through 10, for our annual NOPBC conference. As noted above, we will also be celebrating the seventy-fifth anniversary of the NFB. Learning and fun, friends and family, love and laughter—you will find each of these in abundance throughout the convention, both with other parents of blind children and with blind adults—our children’s role models. Come meet us in Orlando as we learn the tools, techniques, and philosophies that will allow our diamonds to sparkle now and throughout their lives.

Schedule of Events for Adults, Children, and Youth

Please visit <www.nopbc.org> for activities, updates, and registration information

Sunday, July 5

9:00 AM to 4:45 PM             Full-Day Seminar—General Session and Workshops

7:30 AM to 8:45 AM             Registration
Parents, children, and youth are invited to start the morning together at the “Crafting Your Diamond” Seminar. At 10:45 a.m. children preregistered with NFB Child Care will be escorted to the children’s activity in the child care rooms and youth ages eleven to eighteen will be escorted to the Youth Track activity rooms.

9:00 AM to 10:45 AM           General Session
Welcome with NOPBC President Carlton Walker, Kid Talk with NFB President Mark Riccobono, keynote address, student panel, and more!     

10:45 AM                            Children and Youth Are Escorted To Activities

11:00 AM                           NOPBC Children’s Activity (ages five through twelve) in NFB Child Care
Please visit <www.nopbc.org> for activity details.

11:00 AM                               NOPBC Youth Track Activity (ages eleven through eighteen)

11:00 AM to 12:15 PM       NOPBC Concurrent Workshops for Parents and Teachers

Session 1

Additional workshops sponsored by Professionals in Blindness Education (PIBE) and the National Blindness Professional Certification Board (NBPCB) will be available during each time slot for parents and teachers to attend.

Learn to Play and Play to Learn
Facilitating your child’s learning and play. Instructor: Heather Field, Special Educator

The National Reading Media Assessment (NRMA) and the National O&M Assessment (NOMA)
What’s in these new, cutting edge assessments? Will they benefit your child? Instructors: Sheena Manuel, TBS, NOMC, Outreach Specialist, Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness (PDRIB); Casey Robertson, TBS, Faculty, PDRIB

Using Readers
Learning the critical skill of using a human reader for academic and personal tasks. Instructor: Carol Castellano, Director of Programs, NOPBC

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

12:15 PM                               Lunch on your own. Pick up children from Child Care.

1:30 PM                                 Child Care Reopens
                                               
2:00 PM                                NOPBC Children’s Activity (ages five through twelve) in NFB Child Care
                                                Check <www.nopbc.org> for details.                       
                                                To participate, child must be signed up for child care for this day.

2:00 PM to 4:45 PM           NOPBC Youth Track (ages eleven through eighteen)
                                               
2:00 PM to 3:15 PM           NOPBC Concurrent Workshops for Parents and Teachers

Session 2

Ages and Stages
Facilitating the child’s progress toward the next logical step in development. Instructor: Natalie Shaheen, Director of Education, NFB Jernigan Institute

Standardized Testing and Testing Accommodations: What You Need to Know
What are the issues with Smarter Balanced and PARCC? What testing accommodations will work for your child’s success? Instructors: Mehgan Sidhu, General Counsel, NFB; Valerie Yingling, Paralegal, NFB; Carlton Walker, TBS, President, NOPBC

Independence Skills for Real Life
What skills does your child need for an independent future and how can you cultivate them? Instructor: TBA

Technology: Accessible Apps
What’s new in accessible apps? Instructor: Jeremiah Beasley, Blindness and Low Vision Assistive Technology Specialist, Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired; Board Member, NOPBC and NFBWI

3:30 PM to 4:45 PM              NOPBC Concurrent Workshops for Parents and Teachers

Session 3

Additional workshops sponsored by PIBE and the NBPCB will be available for parents and teachers to attend.

Independent Movement and Travel for Very Young Children and Children with Additional Disabilities
Working toward maximum independence and self-determination for your child. Instructor: Denise Mackenstadt, NOMC

Make-and-Take Graphics
Learn the basics of making tactile graphics for children and create one to take home. Instructor: Carlton Walker, TBS, President, NOPBC

Independent Living Skills and Independent Movement and Travel for the School-Age Child
High expectations, real-life goals, and how to achieve them. Instructor: Mary Jo Hartle, NOMC, TBS

Using College Disability Support Services (DSS)
How DSS offices provide accommodations and how to access and use them effectively without losing your independence. Instructor: TBA

5:30 PM                                  Pick Up Children from Child Care Promptly!

5:30 PM to 7:00 PM              NOPBC Family Hospitality
Relax, snack, chat, meet new families and teachers, and connect with old friends. Veteran attendees will be on hand to welcome you and provide information. Co-sponsored by PIBE.

7:30 PM to 9:00 PM              NOPBC Board Meeting

8:00 PM to 11:00 PM            NABS Student Social (ages fourteen to eighteen)

Monday, July 6

Child Care is CLOSED on this day.

8:45 AM to 10:30 AM           Cane Walk Session I

11:00 AM to 12:45 PM         Cane Walk Session II
Wondering if your child should use a cane? Curious about how a cane works? Learn and experience the Discovery Method of travel at these special workshops. Parents, teachers, blind/VI children, and siblings are welcome. Coordinator: Jeff Altman, NOMCT, CVRCB

11:00 AM to 12:30 PM         Tween Room Open (ages eleven to fourteen)
Text or call Penny Duffy at (603) 892-6355 for location. Feel free to bring your lunch.

2:45 PM to 4:00 PM              NOPBC Youth Style Show (Rehearsal begins at 1:00 PM)
Our young blind models and NFB stars strut their stuff on the runway. Come enjoy the fashions and music and support NOPBC, tickets $5 at the door. Coordinator: Kim Cunningham, second vice president, NOPBC

5:45 PM to 6:15 PM              NOPBC Breaking Barriers Funathlon
Swim through shark-infested waters, race through an alligator-infested swamp, shoot down barriers to independence (on hotel grounds—no danger involved). Join us for this fun-filled family fundraiser, $5 to participate. Raise money for NOPBC by collecting pledges—please bring pledge sheets (at end of this article) and donations to the event.

7:30 PM to 9:30 PM              Parent Leadership Program (PLP)
Has the NOPBC helped you and your family? Would you like to get more involved? Come learn about leadership opportunities in your state. Coordinator: Carol Castellano, director of programs, NOPBC

Tuesday, July 7

In the morning visit the Exhibit Hall and the Independence Market; attend the NFB Board of Directors meeting—it’s open to all. In the afternoon, drop the kids off at their activities early and come to the NOPBC annual meeting.

12:45 PM                                Child Care Will Be Open Early This Afternoon
Give your child lunch, then drop him/her off early at child care so that you can attend the NOPBC annual meeting which begins at 1 PM.

NOPBC Children’s Activity (ages five through twelve) in NFB Child Care
Takes place during Child Care afternoon session. To participate, child must be signed up for child care for this day. Visit <www.nopbc.org> for details.

1:00 PM to 4:00 PM              NOPBC Youth Track Session (ages eleven to eighteen)

1:00 PM to 4:00 PM              National Organization of Parents of Blind Children Annual Meeting:
Options and Opportunities

Attention parents and teachers! Be sure to attend this important meeting featuring the 2015 Distinguished Educator of Blind Children; an update from the NFB Jernigan Institute; the latest information on accessible textbooks, art, games, and technology; writing contest winners, Parent Power, Kid Power; and NOPBC business and elections. Special bonus: meeting attendees receive a priority entrance ticket into the Braille Book Fair.

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM              Braille Book Fair
To celebrate the NFB’s seventy-fifth anniversary, the American Action Fund has generously donated 750 print-Braille books to this year's 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 deliver them to the post office for Free Matter shipment to your home. Books are free; donations are encouraged to support our Braille programs. Co-sponsored by NOPBC and NAPUB. Coordinator: Krystal Guillory, teacher of blind students, NFB of Louisiana BELL Coordinator.

7:30 PM to 9:00 PM              Dads’ Night Out
All dads, sighted and blind, are welcome at this NOPBC-sponsored event. Call Bill Cucco at (201) 602-6318 for location.

Wednesday, July 8

7:00 AM to 9:00 AM             NOPBC Board Meeting

9:30 AM to 12:00 PM           NFB Convention Opening Session
Be there for the bang of the gavel and the roar of the crowd. See the NFB Convention Agenda for program details. NFB general sessions take place all day Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Many additional events and meetings take place before the morning session, at lunchtime, and in the evenings.

12:15 PM to 1:45 PM            Tween Room Open (ages eleven to fourteen)
Text or call Penny Duffy at (603) 892-6355 for location. Feel free to bring your lunch.

7:00 PM to 9:45 PM              NOPBC Concurrent Workshops
                       
7:00 PM to 8:15 PM              Adopting a Blind/Visually Impaired Child
A look at the adoption process from initial considerations to real life at home from experienced adoptive parents. Instructors: Sandy Bishop, adoptive parent, POBC of MD; Merry-Noel Chamberlain, TBS, NOMC; and Marty Chamberlain, adoptive parents, POBC of NE
           
7:00 PM to 8:15 PM              IEP Workshop for Parents of Blind/VI Students
The basics of IEP development and how to be an active and effective participant. Instructor: Dan Frye, attorney, executive director, NJ Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired

7:00 PM to 10:00 PM            NOPBC Craft and Game Night (ages five to twelve)
This activity is for children whose parents are attending NOPBC evening workshops.

7:00 PM to 10:00 PM            NOPBC Youth Track Activities (ages eleven to eighteen)

8:30 PM to 9:45 PM              Staying Calm
How to get through an IEP meeting without raising your blood pressure and losing your cool and your mind! Instructor: Sharon Maneki, advocate, president, NFB of MD

Thursday, July 9

12:15 PM to 1:45 PM            Tween Room Open (ages eleven to fourteen)
Text or call Penny Duffy at (603) 892-6355 for location. Feel free to bring your lunch.

7:30 PM to 9:30 PM             Parent Leadership Program—PLP
Has the NOPBC helped you and your family? Would you like to get more involved? Come learn about leadership opportunities in your state. Coordinator: Carol Castellano, director of programs, NOPBC

Friday, July 10

12:15 PM to 1:45 PM            Tween Room Open (ages eleven to fourteen)
Text or call Penny Duffy at (603) 892-6355 for location. Feel free to bring your lunch.

12:30 PM to 1:45 PM            NOPBC Brainstorming Session
Come share your ideas and help to plan next year’s conference.

Insider Information

The NFB National Convention is a complicated week of events. This insider information can help you stay organized and take advantage of the many opportunities that will be available. The NOPBC Conference takes place within the NFB National Convention. The NOPBC conference, the NFB National Convention, and NFB Child Care have separate registration fees. To receive our special hotel room rates, you must also register for the NFB National Convention.

Informal Trip Day—Saturday, July 4

A group of parents will be meeting informally in the hotel lobby to take a trip to Wonder Works, an interactive indoor amusement park a short distance from the hotel. All are invited. Please visit <www.nopbc.org> for details.

Seminar Day Information—Sunday, July 5

On Seminar Day, Sunday, July 5, adults, children, and youth are invited to start the morning together at the “Crafting Your Diamond” Seminar. Children will have the opportunity to chat with NFB President Mark Riccobono. At the end of the general session (10:45 AM) children preregistered with NFB child care will be escorted to the children’s activity in child care and youth ages eleven to eighteen will be escorted to the Youth Track activity while adults attend workshops. At the lunch break pick up your child from child care for lunch on your own. After lunch there will be workshops for adults, a children’s activity in the child care rooms, and a Youth Track activity.

Activities for Children and Youth, Child Care Information

Special Events and Activities All Week Long

Many activities will be going on at the same time. You and your child might have to make choices. Read both the NOPBC agenda as well as the NFB agenda so that you don’t miss out!

REGISTRATION
NOPBC 2015 CONFERENCE—CRAFTING YOUR DIAMOND

Register online at www.nopbc.org or make check payable to NOPBC and mail with form 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.

FEES

By June 15

On-site in Orlando

1 Adult
2 or more Adults

$30
$50

$40
$70

Child/Youth (up to 18 years)

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

FREE

Adult Name ____________________________________________________________________
            [ ] parent of blind child          [ ] professional                        [ ] other___________________

Adult Name ___________________________________________________________________
            [ ] parent of blind child          [ ] 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 people?

Prereg. by June 15

On-site reg.

Totals

1 Adult                 _____

@ $30

or @ $40

= $______

2 or more Adults _____

@ $50

or @ $70

= $______

Child/Youth         _____

FREE

FREE

= $__00__

Total Registering _____

 

 

Total enclosed: $______

For parents/teachers of blind children:

_____ I would like to receive the NOPBC free national magazine Future Reflections.
            _____ in print  _____ as an e-file
_____ This is my first national convention. If not, how many have you attended? _____
_____ I am a member of my state NFB/POBC.
_____ I would like to receive more information about my state NFB/POBC.

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.

NATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF PARENTS OF BLIND CHILDREN (NOPBC)

Second Annual
BREAKING BARRIERS FUNATHLON
at the National Federation of the Blind National Convention
July 6, 2014, Orlando, FL

SPONSOR PLEDGE SHEET

Please make checks payable to NOPBC and bring to the event. Donations are tax-deductible.

FUNATHLETE NAME: _________________________________________ Goal: $___________

ADDRESS: __________________________________________________________________

PARENT’S EMAIL: ____________________________________________________________


Sponsor Name: __________________________________ Pledge/Donation Amount: _______

Address: ____________________________________________________________________

Email: ______________________________________________________________________


Sponsor Name: __________________________________ Pledge/Donation Amount: _______

Address: ____________________________________________________________________

Email: ______________________________________________________________________


Sponsor Name: __________________________________ Pledge/Donation Amount: _______

Address: ____________________________________________________________________

Email: ______________________________________________________________________


Sponsor Name: __________________________________ Pledge/Donation Amount: _______

Address: ____________________________________________________________________

Email: ______________________________________________________________________


Sponsor Name: __________________________________ Pledge/Donation Amount: _______

Address: ____________________________________________________________________

Email: ______________________________________________________________________


FUNATHLETE NAME: _________________________________________ Goal: $___________

Sponsor Name: __________________________________ Pledge/Donation Amount: _______

Address: ____________________________________________________________________

Email: ______________________________________________________________________


Sponsor Name: __________________________________ Pledge/Donation Amount: _______

Address: ____________________________________________________________________

Email: ______________________________________________________________________


Sponsor Name: __________________________________ Pledge/Donation Amount: _______

Address: ____________________________________________________________________

Email: ______________________________________________________________________


Sponsor Name: __________________________________ Pledge/Donation Amount: _______

Address: ____________________________________________________________________

Email: ______________________________________________________________________


Sponsor Name: __________________________________ Pledge/Donation Amount: _______

Address: ____________________________________________________________________

Email: ______________________________________________________________________


Sponsor Name: __________________________________ Pledge/Donation Amount: _______

Address: ____________________________________________________________________

Email: ______________________________________________________________________


Sponsor Name: __________________________________ Pledge/Donation Amount: _______

Address: ____________________________________________________________________

Email: ______________________________________________________________________

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