Future Reflections        Convention Issue 2013

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Reverse Inclusion: Taking a Sighted Child to an NFB National Convention

by Faye Corman

From the Editor: We know that an NFB convention can make a big difference in the life of a blind child or teen.  But what is convention like for the sighted sibling of a blind child?  In this article, Faye Corman reflects upon her sighted daughter's experiences at the 2013 convention in Orlando.

Camille and John Paul CormanThere is nothing trivial about planning a trip to the national convention of the National Federation of the Blind. My family decided a few years ago that we would attend the NFB convention in 2013. After all, it would take place in Orlando, Florida, a perfect vacation spot. We saved our money and our Frequent Flyer miles. And, on June 29, 2013, we were off!

As we planned for convention I had only one real concern--my eight-year-old daughter, Camille.

I knew that my husband, Mike, who is blind, would have a great time getting to know people at the Blind Lawyers and Guide Dog Users meetings. He would spend happy hours browsing new technology in the exhibit hall. Our five-year-old son, John Paul, could meet other blind children in NFB Child Care and explore the universe through the Space Camp activities. I planned to attend all the Parents of Blind Children activities I could fit into the week. I was excited to meet personally many of the friends I had met over the Internet and on Facebook.

But what about Camille? As a sighted eight-year-old child, what would she do at a convention for the blind?

The answer? Have the time of her life, of course!

Camille and John Paul all dressed upThe Rosen Hotel Group is known for its hospitality, but did you know that the NFB is very hospitable, too? Camille was welcomed with open arms to participate in everything that was going on. With dozens of other kids she hung out at the pool every day. She took part in the Cane Walk, and the instructor let her try out sleepshades. Under sleepshades she joined races and games of Marco Polo. The experience gave her a better idea of how her father and brother travel. It was truly eye-opening--pardon the pun!

When we asked Camille what her favorite part of the convention was, she replied without hesitation, "The fashion show." The fashion show is designed primarily for visually impaired and blind children. It provides them with an opportunity to "strut their stuff" on the runway and show off their favorite fashions. It's a wonderful confidence booster and a very fun event. Camille was made fully welcome. Sporting a pink dress that she loves, she escorted her little brother down the runway with pride.

There were many other memorable events throughout the week. A trip to Gatorland was a special treat for the kids in NFB Camp. But for one sighted eight-year-old at convention this year, the fashion show was the highlight she will never forget.

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