International Conference for Professionals Serving Persons who are Blind and Visually Impaired Tackle Eye Health, Technology, Education, Access, Mobility and More

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The Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) announce a diverse range of topic strands for its 2012 international conference on many important issues. Keynote and motivational speaker, Tom Sullivan, also a famed writer and TV producer will share his personal journey living with blindness and the power of the human spirit.

As we enter the next decade of digital living, the question becomes how do we, as professionals and advocates, provide more access, real-time education, quality tools and good paying jobs for others who are interdependent?

The Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) are gearing up for its AER International Conference 2012 in Seattle, (Bellevue) Washington, at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue on July 18 - 22, 2012.

Tom Sullivan, the famed writer of Adventures of Darkness and TV producer of the new Superior Beings will keynote to jumpstart a discussion on the human spirit. Sullivan, a motivational speaker, shares his personal journey living with blindness and uses a dash of humor with thoughtful inspiration. “How can you make your life everything you want it to be when your world is dark?” asks Sullivan. “As a kid, I was told repeatedly that I would be dependent on others all my life. That was a turning point. I said ‘no’, I will be ‘interdependent.’ Each of us has every day moments when we are tested. I believe the word ‘dis-ability’, doesn’t represent us well. All persons are capable of significant accomplishments. We just need a support network and tools to accommodate their needs. This is the mission of AER and its members.”

“AER attracts practitioners, researchers and advocates who want to network, learn, and take action to improve the quality of life for people living with blindness and low vision,” said John Kelly, Chair of the Conference Program Committee. “Professionals from all walks of life (academia, government, commercial business, and special education) can share, learn and discover what’s working in the field and in their areas of expertise.”

The 2012 AER conference will focus on 13 essential areas, including the pre-conference MacFarland Seminar, named after Douglas C. MacFarland, Ph.D., former director of the Office for the Blind and Visually Handicapped, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, and former president of American Association of Workers for the Blind. This year’s MacFarland seminar presents findings on ‘Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Responding to New Challenges in Education and Rehabilitation.’

Conference Learning Strands:

  •     improving eye diseases and health related issues that cause blindness, such as diabetes;
  •     providing education and assistance for those who use accessible curriculum and technologies in schools for equal access to learning;
  •     teaching and promoting braille literacy;
  •     delivering mobility and orientation programs and the use of guide dogs for navigation;
  •     rehabilitating veterans to rejoin their families, surroundings and civilian life activities;
  •     advocating for government and state funding;
  •     preparing for improved living quarters, working conditions and employment opportunities.

Conference attendees can view the latest products and services in the exhibition hall and participate in 180 hours of programming on relevant topics such as:    

  •     Administration;
  •     Rehabilitation Counseling;
  •     Employment & Business Enterprise Program (BEP) Services;
  •     Multiple Disabilities and Deafblind;
  •     Psychosocial Services, Information and Technology;
  •     Low Vision Rehabilitation and Therapy;
  •     Infants and Preschool;
  •     Orientation and Mobility;
  •     Education Curriculum;
  •     Aging.

Patricia Leader, President of the AER Board of Directors, said, “As we enter the next decade of digital living, the question becomes how do we, as professionals and advocates, provide more access, real-time education, quality tools and good paying jobs for others who are interdependent? One answer is to give them a network of talented individuals and provide the right foundation professional services to help them achieve their goals. This is the energy and expectation for our AER International Conference of 2012 – to help everyone move ahead!”

Learn more at http://aerbvi.org/2012international/index.htm and register for the AER International Conference 2012 or call 877-492-2708.

Who Should Attend?
Vision, special education and low incidence teachers, orientation & mobility specialists, low vision therapists, vision rehabilitation therapists, psychologists, counselors, braille tutors, college and university instructors, DSS administrators, specialists in assistive technology (AT) and occupational therapy (OT), ophthalmologists, optometrists, social workers, therapists, administrators of the schools for the blind, disability advocates and military “veteran” support staff.

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About AER

The mission of AER is to support professionals who provide education and rehabilitation services to people with visual impairments, offering professional development opportunities, publications, and public advocacy. International in scope, AER has a diverse membership of more than 4200 members including administrators, vision rehabilitation therapists, orientation and mobility specialists, low vision therapists, itinerant teachers, and support personnel, who work with infants, children and teens, adults, seniors, and veterans. Whatever the specialty, all AER members are committed to the principle that persons who are blind and visually impaired have unique needs which require specialized services delivered by trained individuals. Follow AER on Facebook and check out the AER Job Exchange.

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Ginger Croce
AER
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Valerie Chernek

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