FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: 
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Category: 
John G. Paré Jr.
Executive Director for Strategic Initiatives
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2218
(410) 913-3912 (Cell)

National Federation of the Blind to Conduct Conference for Rehabilitation Professionals

Conference Will Emphasize High Expectations, Innovative Techniques

Baltimore, Maryland (September 12, 2007): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the nation’s leading organization of blind consumers, will host a two-and-a-half-day national training conference for residential rehabilitation centers for the blind.  The theme of the conference is “Dare to Be Remarkable!”  In both plenary and breakout sessions, presenters will focus on the fundamental characteristics essential to creating a high-quality adjustment-to-blindness residential program.  The conference will encourage residential rehabilitation centers for the blind from across the nation to adopt a positive philosophy emphasizing the ability of blind people to succeed in any career and become fully integrated into their communities.  Innovative techniques to teach blindness skills such as traveling with a long white cane, reading and writing Braille, cooking and performing other tasks in the home independently, and using computers with adaptive technology will also be demonstrated and discussed.

Dr. Joanne Wilson, executive director for affiliate action at the National Federation of the Blind, former commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration, and founder and former director of the nationally acclaimed Louisiana Center for the Blind, said: “The purpose of this conference is to encourage rehabilitation professionals who help individuals adjust to blindness to set high expectations for the blind consumers they serve and to better help blind people build competence and confidence in the skills of blindness.”

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “We believe that with proper training and opportunity, blind people can perform at the same level as their sighted peers.  Appropriate training in the alternative techniques of blindness is critical to the ability of every blind person to compete on a basis of equality with the sighted and to participate fully in work, play, worship, family life, and all other aspects of society.  For this reason, it is part of our mission to work with rehabilitation professionals to ensure that blind people receive quality training emphasizing not only blindness skills, but a positive philosophy of blindness that affirms a core belief in the ability of the blind to live normal, productive lives.”

The National Training Conference for Residential Rehabilitation Centers for the Blind will take place from Wednesday, December 5, until noon on Friday, December 7, 2007, at the headquarters of the National Federation of the Blind.  For more information, please contact Joanne Wilson at (410) 659-9314, extension 2335, or by e-mail at jwilson@nfb.org.  You may also visit our Web site: www.nfb.org.