The Braille Monitor                                                                                       April 2003

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Schedule of NOPBC-Sponsored Events for Parents,
Teachers, and Youth at the 2003 NFB Convention

by Barbara Cheadle


Every year brings wonderful new opportunities for learning, networking, and having fun at the NFB convention; 2003 will be no exception. The following is a brief description and schedule of the convention activities that will be sponsored by the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children.

NOPBC Activities Fees:

($5 discount for preregistration)

$10 one adult (no children)

$15 one adult plus children

$25 two adults plus children

If you preregister and mail payment by June 1, 2003, you can take $5 off your fee. The fee includes NOPBC membership; lunch for your family on Saturday, June 28; and all the NOPBC-sponsored activities described in this schedule of events. It does not include NFB convention registration (which is $15 per person, adult or child) or NFB Camp (childcare) fees.

Saturday, June 28

On Saturday, June 28, the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (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) include:

* An all-day seminar for parents and teachers

* A Braille carnival for children age four and up

* Small group lunches hosted by NOPBC leaders in the East Tower Suites

* Workshops and programs for children and youth ages eight and up

* Family hospitality

* Touch the Universe�Astronomy Is for Everyone

The all-day seminar for parents and teachers

* 8:00 a.m. Registration

* 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Program

The theme for the June 28, 2003, NOPBC seminar is Transition to Independence. From infancy to young adulthood, children go through many transitions, some of which are developmental--the terrible twos and puberty--and some cultural--the transition from preschool to kindergarten, the move from elementary school to middle school, high school graduation. Transitions, in this sense, are biological or cultural points at which children take a leap forward in maturity, autonomy, self-realization, and independence. Naturally these transition points are junctures of great opportunity and great peril for children.

Jennifer Kennedy places a balloon animal crown on the head of Hannah Weatherd of Montana while others look on.
Jennifer Kennedy places a balloon animal crown on the head of Hannah Weatherd of Montana while others look on.

In this seminar we will explore the elements that make it possible for blind children and youth to navigate these transitions successfully. Our program will feature a mix of blind adults, teachers, parents, and blind youth, who will share experiences and provide practical suggestions. Whatever the age--zero to twenty-one--of your child or student, you will find lots of good information and inspiration at this seminar.

Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. The seminar begins at 9:00 a.m. with a short program for the entire family. The program breaks at 9:45 a.m. to allow time for parents to take their children to the Braille Carnival, NFB Camp, or other youth workshops and then resumes at 10:30 a.m. and continues until the lunch break at noon. The afternoon program resumes at 2:00 p.m. and adjourns at 5:00 p.m.



Braille Carnival

10:00 a.m.--12:30 p.m.: This popular activity, coordinated by Melody Lindsey of Michigan, is for children, sighted or blind, ages four and up. Volunteer carnival buddies, under the direction of educator Robin House, are available to supervise the kids for two hours of games, crafts, and other fun Braille-related activities. The carnival booths are sponsored by NFB affiliates and other organizations that come to participate in the convention. The volunteer carnival buddies are recruited from within the NFB membership.

Small Group Lunches

Noon to 1:45 p.m.: This year NOPBC is sponsoring small lunch groups in the East Tower Hotel Suites. At registration your family (including kids not registered for NFB Camp) will be assigned a room to go to for a casual lunch with other families from your state or region of the country. Your host or hostess will be a NOPBC board member, state president, or other leader in the organization. NOPBC will provide a sandwich buffet and drinks in each room.


The workshops described below are just that, workshops; they are not childcare services. NOPBC does not sponsor childcare services at the convention. This service--NFB Camp--is provided by the National Federation of the Blind through the volunteer efforts of Carla McQuillan. NFB Camp is open all day (including lunch) on Saturday, June 28, for eligible children. For more information about fees, hours during convention, etc., contact Carla McQuillan, NFB Camp Coordinator, 5005 Main Street, Springfield, Oregon 97478; telephone (541) 726-6924.

Workshops for Children and Youth

Because we want this day to be a learning experience for the entire family, NOPBC is also offering some great activities and workshops for older children and youth, including sighted siblings, on Saturday, June 28. Although the plans for the activities and workshops are not complete as we go to press, here is what we currently plan to offer:

Babysitting Clinic (ages 12 to 18)

Learn skills and techniques in managing and caring for children. Certificate awarded. Workshop leader: Carla McQuillan, NFB Camp Director and owner/operator of Children's Choice Montessori School, Portland, Oregon.

Notetaking with an Electronic Notetaker (blind youth, ages 14 to 18)

There's more to taking good notes than you think. This workshop combines instruction and tips on taking notes in class with a Q&A session about electronic notetakers. You must bring your own electronic notetaker. Slate users also welcome--bring your own slates. Workshop Leader: Ann Taylor, blind adaptive technology expert, International Braille and Technology Center for the Blind.

Braille Is Beautiful and Fun for Everyone! (ages 8 to 11)

Blind or sighted, competent Braille user or novice, you will increase your knowledge and skills in Braille with this workshop. You'll do fun activities from the Braille Is Beautiful curriculum program, work in small groups, make tactile books for blind babies, and work on other Braille service projects. Workshop Leader: Angela Wolf, president of the National Association of Blind Students (NABS).

I Want to Be a Writer (ages 13 to 16)

Think you'd like to be a writer? Bring your writing tools, creativity, and enthusiasm with you to this workshop conducted by successful blind writers, educators, and authors. Workshop Leaders: Robin House, Sheila Koenig, and children's author Deborah Kent-Stein.

Exploring Careers in Blindness (ages 16 to 18)

Ever wonder what it would be like to teach cane travel to blind people? Ever consider being a rehabilitation counselor or a teacher of blind kids? Competitions, prizes, and the hands-on activities in this workshop make exploring careers in blindness fun and interesting. Workshop Leader: Anil Lewis, rehabilitation job specialist and president of the NFB of Georgia.

Mikaela Stevens (left) and Makenzie Stevens (right) examine the Braille book, TOUCH THE UNIVERSE, while author Noreen Grice leans above them.
Mikaela Stevens (left) and Makenzie Stevens (right) examine the Braille book, Touch the Universe, while author Noreen Grice leans above them.

Teen Discussion Groups (blind teens ages 13 to 18)

Two groups, one for teen men and one for teen women. Engage in guided discussions about dating, grooming, making friends, being comfortable in social situations, relationships with parents, and other topics of importance to teens.

Touch the Universe --Astronomy Is for Everyone (time to be announced)

How can blind people learn about astronomy and the universe? Dr. Bernhard Beck-Winchatz, assistant professor of astronomy, NASA Space Science Center for Education and Outreach at DePaul University, will help kids and adults discover the answers to those questions during this program, sometime Saturday. Mark Riccobono, director of the Wisconsin School for the Blind, will help coordinate and moderate the program. At this program parents will be able to see and purchase the exciting new book developed by a NASA grant: Touch the Universe: A NASA Braille Book of Astronomy, by Noreen Grice.

At the conclusion of the workshops scheduled during the day, the leaders will bring the kids to the seminar room to join the parents and other adults for a final session. Together we will hear from the youth leaders and the kids themselves what they did and what they learned in their workshops.

NOPBC Family Hospitality

7:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. Relax and chat in an informal atmosphere with other parents, teachers, and blind adults while your kids roam and play around the tables. There will be some door prizes and a few mixer games, but mostly this will be an unstructured evening in which you can network with others. While parents will be responsible for the supervision of their children at hospitality, NOPBC will provide toys, books, and a play station to help keep your little ones happy and occupied while you talk.

Sunday, June 29

Teen Get-Acquainted Party

1:00-5:00 p.m.: Sponsored jointly by NOPBC and Blind Industries and Services of Maryland (BISM). All teens are invited to drop in anytime at this room for games and music or just to hang out with other teens. Supervised at all times by BISM counselors.

Monday, June 30

Parent Power: NOPBC Annual Meeting

1:00-3:30 p.m.: Keynote address by the 2003 Distinguished Educator of Blind Children, roll call of POBC affiliates, updates on educational issues, committee reports, and elections.

Twentieth Anniversary Reception and Reunion
in Honor of the Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest

5:00-7:00 p.m.: Funded by a UPS grant and cosponsored by the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille and the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children. Come and help celebrate twenty years of promoting Braille through the Braille Readers Are Leaders contest. There will be lots of free food, wonderful displays, great fellowship, a Braille book flea market/exchange, and a brief but inspiring program at 6:30 p.m. reviewing the accomplishments of the Braille Readers Are Leaders contest.

Donations from the Braille book flea market will be used to establish a permanent Braille Readers Are Leaders reunion and mentorship fund. Immediately following the program, NAPUB will conduct its annual program, at which a formal Braille Readers Are Leaders mentors group will be established. Bring the whole family. Stay for the NAPUB meeting. All Braille enthusiasts are invited, but former contestants and winners are extended a special invitation. About twenty scholarships are available for current and former contest participants to attend the celebration. For more information see the article elsewhere in this issue.

Tuesday, July 1

IEP's, Transition Plans, Rehabilitation Services, and IDEA

7:00-10:00 p.m.: A workshop about the educational rights of blind and visually impaired students with a special emphasis on transition issues. When does transition begin? What is a good transition plan for blind youth? What is the role of state rehabilitation services while kids are still in school?

Wednesday, July 2

The following workshops will take place the afternoon of Wednesday, July 2, sometime between 2:00 and 6:00 p.m. Some of the workshops will repeat, some will be drop-in sessions, and the Beginning Braille workshop will be an intensive 2-3-hour session.

* Braille for the Partially Sighted: Methods and Techniques

* Beginning Braille for Parents

* Kids and Canes: When (should a child get one)? Who (should teach it)? What (type of cane should a child get)? How (long should the cane be)? How much (instruction is enough)? What about (sleepshades, folding canes, cane tips, partially sighted kids, etc.)?

* It Takes More Than a Good IEP: Creative Ways to Improve Your Child's Educational Services


NOPBC 2003 Activities Preregistration

Mail to Sandy Taboada, NOPBC Preregistration, 6960 South Fieldgate Court, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70808-5455; e-mail� <[email protected]>.

Fees: $10, one adult, no children; $15 one adult, children; $25, two adults, children

Adult Name(s). Please include first and last name of each adult and indicate if the adult is a parent, grandparent, blind parent, teacher, other relative, etc.




City, State, ZIP____________________________

Telephone (��� �)____________________________

E-mail ___________________________________

Fee enclosed (make checks payable to NOPBC)� $___________

Remember to deduct $5 for early registration.

Will you be bringing children? [ ] Yes�� [ ] No�� [ ] Undecided

If yes or undecided, please list names and birth dates of child(ren); reading mode (Braille, print, large print, nonreader); and brief description of characteristics of which workshop volunteers should be aware. Examples: mild autism; wears hearing aid; has ADHD; shy--doesn't talk to strangers.

Finally, check the workshops your child may be interested in attending. Please note the age restrictions. The lower limit on the Braille carnival is firm. The age limits on the other workshops may go up or down by a year or two depending on circumstances. Youngsters over eighteen who are still in high school may also participate in the appropriate workshops. Please copy this form or add an additional sheet of paper if you need additional space to register more children.


1. Name and birth date_____________________

Reading mode________________________


Please preregister my child for:

__Braille Carnival (4-up) 10:00-12:30 p.m.

__Notetaking (blind, 14-18)10:30-12:00 p.m.

__Babysitting Clinic (12-18) 11:30/12:00-4:30 p.m. (includes lunch)

__I Want to Be a Writer (13-16) 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

__Braille Is Beautiful (8-11) 2:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m.

__Exploring Careers in Blindness (16-18)2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

__Teen Discussion Groups (blind, 13-18) 8:00 p.m.-9:30 p.m.

__Touch the Universe (9-up)Times to be announced

2. Name and birth date___________________________________________

Reading mode_____________________________________________________


Please preregister my child for:

__Braille Carnival (4-up), 10:00-12:30 p.m.

__Notetaking (blind, 14-18), 10:30-12:00 p.m.

__Babysitting Clinic (12-18), 11:30/12:00-4:30 p.m. (includes lunch)

__I Want to Be a Writer (13-16), 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

__Braille Is Beautiful (8-11), 2:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m.

__Exploring Careers in Blindness (16-18), 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

__Teen Discussion Groups (blind, 13-18), 8:00 p.m.-9:30 p.m.

__ Touch the Universe (9-up), times to be announced

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