Future Reflections Winter/Spring 2000, Vol. 19 No. 1


NFB Convention 2000: NOPBC Activities  

The National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC) activities at the 2000 NFB convention will be a wonderful mix of the tried and true, and the new and creative. As usual, parents can expect timely, sensitive, in-depth, and informative presentations on the blindness issues that most concern them. There will be numerous opportunities, both formal and informal, to meet other parents of blind kids, and to form friendships and networking links. Some of the most outstanding teachers of the visually impaired and orientation and mobility instructors will be there, too, and eager to share their knowledge with parents.

Unique, however, to this event is the opportunity to interact with literally thousands of the real experts on blindness—blind people themselves. The blind people—old, young, and middle-aged—who come to NFB conventions represent the entire socio-economic, educational, cultural, racial, and career spectrum.

Here is the information you will need to make your plans to be a part of this exciting event this year in Atlanta, Georgia:

Hotel Information

The convention will be held at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, 265 Peachtree Center Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia 30303. To make reservations call the hotel at (404) 521-0000. The Marriott has a national toll-free number, but do not use it! Reservations made through the toll-free number will not be valid. They must be made directly with the hotel. The room rates are singles, $57; doubles and twins, $59; triples, $61; and quads, $63. There is also a tax, which at present is 14 percent. There is no charge for children in the room as long as no extra bed is requested. A deposit of $60, by check or credit card, is required before the reservation is guaranteed. If a credit card is used, the deposit will be charged against it immediately. If a reservation is cancelled prior to June 4, 2000, $30 of the deposit will be returned. Otherwise, refunds will not be made.

NFB Camp (child-care)

Children must be pre-registered for this service. The pre-registration cutoff date is June 15, 2000. Details follow at the end of this article.


The registration fees for the Family Event, the continental breakfast, the parents seminar, the Braille Carnival, and all other NOPBC-sponsored workshops throughout the week are $25 per couple plus children, $35 for three adult family members (e.g. two parents and a grandparent) plus children, and $15 for one adult plus children. Although we have streamlined our registration procedure, we highly recommend that you pre-register for the seminar this year. It will allow you to enjoy a more relaxed, leisurely morning at the Family Event. The pre-registration form is included in this article.

These fees DO NOT include registration for the NFB convention proper; they only cover the NOPBC events. Registration for the convention is $10 per person and is required in order to get the convention hotel rates quoted above. Convention registration begins Monday morning, July 3.

The following NOPBC activities are only a small part of what goes on at the convention. NFB National Conventions are famous for informative, high-energy division and committee meetings; a huge, diverse exhibit hall; inspiring banquet speeches; fun and informational entertainment (a music talent show, dances, a casino night fund raiser, a Sensory Safari display, a mock trial, a play, etc.); and outstanding general session agenda topics. The convention session runs all day Wednesday, July 5; a half day Thursday, and all day Friday and Saturday. The banquet is Friday night, July 7.The exhibit hall is open all day Monday, all day Tuesday, before the general session and during noon break on Wednesday, all afternoon on Thursday, and during noon breaks on Friday and Saturday. For more information about activities planned for the 2000 Convention, please see the April 2000 issue of the Braille Monitor on the Web Site: <www.nfb.org>.  You may also request a free copy from the NFB at 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230; (410) 659-9314.

Here, now, is the line-up of NOPBC events at the 2000 NFB Convention:

Saturday, July 1

NOPBC Welcome Wagon

Parents who arrive in Atlanta on Saturday, July 1 may get parent-related convention information, tips, and NOPBC seminar and workshop agendas from the NOPBC Welcome Wagon. When you arrive, call on the hotel house phone and ask for Barbara Cheadle. (Note: please do not call after 10:00 p.m.!) You may also get information and pre-convention agendas from the NFB of Georgia suite, the NFB presidential suite, and NFB information tables set up in the hotel lobby.

Sunday, July 2

NOPBC Annual Parent Seminar Day

From eight in the morning to nine at night this day is packed with NOPBC events for parents, children, and youth. This year, the day will start on a more relaxed note. From 8:00 to 9:30 a.m. parents and kids are invited to start the day together at our informal Family Event. Here, parents can munch on bagels while they visit special information booths on Early Childhood, the Blind Multiply Handicapped Child, The Gifted Blind Child, Homeschooling, Residential Schools for the Blind, Convention Information, and a Blind Mentors and Models booth sponsored by the National Association of Blind Students. Children and teens can enjoy their juice while they talk to Louis Braille, Helen Keller, and other blind historical figures (in full period costumes) who will be our special guests at this event. For the more rambunctious youth, there are rumors that there will be a “Bop-It” playing corner. Braille Carnival Buddy volunteers will also be on hand to meet the kids and parents.

From 9:30  to 10:00 a.m. parents will have about 30 minutes to check pre-registered children into the NFB Camp before returning for the general seminar session at 10:00 a.m.

Alternatively, parents may remain in the Family Event room and register children ages 4 and up for the Braille Carnival. Under the supervision of Carnival Buddy volunteers, children may go to the Carnival in small groups, pairs, or even one-on-one if age and other factors make this desirable. Carnival Buddies will be available to supervise children from 10:00 a.m. to noon, when the parent seminar adjourns. Parents are asked to go to the Braille Carnival and pick up their children within 30 minutes after the morning seminar session adjourns.

The Braille Carnival will feature exciting and fun games, competitions, demonstrations, and prizes with Braille themes. Carnival booths are sponsored by NFB divisions, state affiliates, NFB centers, and residential schools for the blind. Sighted or blind, Braille reader or non-Braille reader,  kindergartner or teen-ager—there will be lots of fun activities suitable for all. The Carnival will run from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Parents are welcome to join the fun over the lunch break from noon to 2:00 p.m.

The general seminar session for parents will run from 10:00 a.m. to noon. The theme this year is “Roles, Rights, and Responsibilities.” The guest speakers will include Joe Cutter, pediatric O&M specialists from New Jersey, and Allen Harris, Director of Field Operations and Implementation, New York Commission for the Blind. We will also have an exciting panel of 5 or 6 blind students and a panel of the school team members (classroom teacher, teacher of the visually impaired, parent, and school administrator) that are responsible for the education of blind and visually impaired children.

The afternoon workshops will include these topics: “Beginning Braille for Parents” (one, three-hour session); “Got a Hammer? Blind Kids Can Take Shop Class;” “Teaching Self-Advocacy Skills;” “Tactile, Auditory, and Visual Techniques for Low Vision Children;” “Modeling Social Skills for Blind Kids: Discussion Group;” and “The Braille Lite in the Classroom.”

While parents attend the afternoon sessions, all teens who are 12 and older have the choice of attending a Baby-Sitting Course conducted by Carla McQuillan from 1:30 to 5:00 p.m. Carla is the volunteer director of NFB Camp, the owner and operator of a Montessori school, and the president of the NFB of Oregon. She is also blind.

Blind teens also have the choice of attending special discussion groups concerning blindness issues as they relate to typical teen concerns. Young blind women ages 13 to 18 can attend the session called “What Your Mother Couldn’t Tell You,” and young blind men ages 12 to 18 can attend the “Guy Stuff” session. These sessions run from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Sunday evening, the entire family can relax at the NOPBC Family Hospitality from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. Then, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., blind and sighted youth ages 9 and up have the chance to participate in a hotel scavenger hunt. Under adult supervision, kids can explore the hotel and win prizes. To add to the fun and to enhance the educational aspects of the game, sighted kids carry canes and wear sleep-shades (blindfolds) on the hunt.

Monday, July 3

Monday, July 3, begins with two Cane Walk sessions. Parents of blind kids of all ages (babies to teens), teachers, and blind kids can get hands-on experience in using a cane in the hotel environment under the guidance of volunteer instructors from the Louisiana Tech/Louisiana Center for the Blind O&M program. Joe Cutter, pediatric O&M specialist, will provide the demonstration for the parents of babies, toddlers, and children up to pre-school age.

Teens have another chance on Monday from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. to get together, socialize, listen to music, and enjoy games in a Teen Drop-In Room co-sponsored by NOPBC and Blind Industries and Services of Maryland (BISM).

Tuesday, July 4

The big event on Tuesday, July 4, is the Annual Meeting of NOPBC, which is conducted from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. The meeting will feature many exciting state parent division reports as well as numerous informative guest speakers.

Wednesday, July 5

Wednesday evening, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. is the traditional, always popular IEP and IDEA Workshop. This year one of the guest speakers is an attorney from Baltimore, Maryland, Mark Martin, who specializes in disability educational law issues.

Thursday, July 6

Joe Cutter, pediatric O&M specialist, will lead a drop-in anytime discussion about cane travel and orientation and mobility for kids in a session from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. called “Have Cane, Will Travel.” Barbara Cheadle will moderate a drop-in discussion group during that same time called “Parent Power.” The focus of this session will be on ideas for organizing and strengthening NFB parent divisions. From 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. parents can drop in for “IEP Small Group Consultations”with  experienced volunteer NFB advocates.

NOPBC Pre-Registration

Deadline June 15, 2000






City                              State      Zip


Phone (H)                        (W)


$________Fee enclosed (make checks payable to NOPBC)

$15 for one adult plus children

$25 for 2 adults plus children

$35 for 3 adults (e.g. parents and a grandparent) plus children

The NOPBC registration fee includes Continental breakfast at the Family Event, Sunday, July 2; NOPBC Seminar registration; Braille Carnival registration; and all NOPBC-sponsored workshops throughout the week. This fee does not include NFB Camp fees or convention registration.

Braille Carnival (ages 4 and up)


List child’s name, birthdate, vision  (blind, sighted, low vision), and other disabilities.







Mail to:

NOPBC Pre-Registration

1800 Johnson Street

Baltimore, MD 21230

NFB Camp 2000: Child Care During Convention

by Carla McQuillan

From the Editor: Carla McQuillan is a member of the National Federation of the Blind Board of Directors and President of the NFB of Oregon. She also operates her own Montessori school, which has been growing rapidly since it opened. Since 1996 Carla has conducted NFB Camp, the childcare program during National Conventions. This year the Board of Directors has decided on an important change in NFB Camp registration policy. If you are considering using this important program during the convention in Atlanta, you will find this notice of deep interest. This is what Carla says: 


Ten years ago, childcare during convention sessions was performed by parents, but times have changed. Last year we cared for ninety-four children in NFB Camp, nearly half of whom had not pre-registered. The increase in family participation at our conventions is wonderful news, but it has made advance preparations a necessity. By decision of the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind, beginning in 2000, all children who wish to participate in the programs and activities of NFB Camp must register this year by June 15, 2000.

NFB Camp will be open during general convention sessions, division and committee meeting day, and banquet evening. Plenty of teens are always available to baby-sit during evening and lunchtime meetings. The schedule this year will be as follows:

Sunday, July 2, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (you are responsible for lunch)

Monday, July 3, Camp is closed

Tuesday, July 4, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (you are responsible for lunch)

Wednesday, July 5, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Thursday, July 6, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Friday, July 7, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; 1:30 to 5:30 p.m.; and banquet

Saturday, July 8, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 5:30 p.m.

These times may vary, depending on the timing of the actual convention sessions. NFB Camp will open thirty minutes prior to the beginning gavel and close thirty minutes after adjournment. Fees for the entire week (including banquet)are: first child, $80; second child, $60. By the day (does not include banquet) fees are each child, $20; banquet, $15.

NFB Camp Pre-registration Form

Return by June 15, 2000


Parent Information:





City                          State       Zip




Child(ren) Information:

List name and age for each child. Give a brief discription of disabilities, if any.










Weekly fees: first child, $80, second child, $60. Daily fees: each child, $20 times number of days. Banquet fee: $15 per child


Total due: $______________


Completed Pre-registration forms and payment must be received by June 15, 2000. Make checks payable to NFB of Oregon.


Mail to:

National Federation of the Blind

 5005 Main Street,

Springfield, Oregon 97478,

(541) 726-6924.

The NFB Camp toddler room at the 1999 convention.