AERizona View

February 2003

 

 

Look inside!

 

FALL CONFERENCE RUNDOWN!

 

COOL STUFF ABOUT BRAILLE!

 

GREAT WEBSITES!

 

AAABVI—It’s new! How you can participate!

 

U of A  Course Offerings!

 

AZ AER 1-DAY CONFERENCE ON APRIL 4, 2003 at ACBVI! Check out the fabulous program and register now!

 

AZ AER Fall Conference Giveaway—All  expenses paid! Details inside!

 

 

 

 

OFFICERS:

President       Jacki Daniels

Vice President Rachel Jones

Secretary    Vasant Garcia   

Treasurer          Ian Stewart

Past President Penny Rosenblum

Directors       Kerry Duncan Christine Larson Tami Levinson Jocelyn Ruiz    Judi Schneider Rob Schulenburg

 

AER District 1 Board Member Sandra Stirnweis

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

HEADLINES:

Tucson Association f/t Blind & Visually Impaired (TAB) has become Southern Association f/t Visually Impaired (saavi)!

 

Sandra Stirnweis, COMS @ FBC, will present at IMC 11 in Capetown SOUTH AFRICA in March/April. Learn lots, enjoy greatly & safe journey, Sandra!

 

Paul Doyle, TVI and UofA graduate, has left WESD and moved to Maine ! Good luck, Paul!

 

The Foundation for Blind Children will open its Low Vision Clinic on March 5, 2003! Wednesday is clinic day! Schedule appointments with Rainey Kasl @     602-331-1470.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LOOKING AHEAD in 2003:

 

AZ CEC event! Presentation  ON TESTING:  A MUST FOR ALL SPECIAL EDUCATORS!

feb 18, 2003  asdb—Tucson

 

Cortical Visual Impairment Workshop          March 5 -6, 2003   San Francisco Airport Marriot Burlingame CA

 

 

CTEVH 44th Annual Conference       March 7-9, 2003     San Francisco Airport Marriot Burlingame CA

 

 

AERLift  TraINinG March 21-25, 2003 Washington DC

 

 

IMC 11                    Mar 30-Apr 4, 2003      Capetown         SOUTH AFRICA

 

 

AAABVI

Sports Camp June 28-July 2, 2003 Tucson , AZ

 

 

 

 

Low Vision Driving Conference           July 4-6, 2003 England

 

 

AER Field-wide Conference:  Advocacy is Everyone’s ResponsibilitY           July 25-29, 2003 Washington DC

 

 

AZ AER Fall     2-Day Conference    Oct 23-24, 2003   Prescott Resort

 

 

AER O&M Division Conference           Dec 13-16, 2003     New Orleans , LA

 

LOOK WAY AHEAD TO 2004!

 

AER Biennial National Conference July 13-19, 2004     Orlando , FL

 

 

 

 

 

 

TELLING STATISTICS:

 

Mark Richert  shared some interesting statistics on October 24, 2002 , at the AZ AER Fall Conference that clearly support the need to push for specific language to target funding for personnel preparation:

 

The US needs 5000 more VI Teachers right now! We are only training about 250 per year.

 

The US needs 10,000 more O&M Specialists right now! We only train about 100 per year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BE IT RESOLVED

 

On October 25, 2002 , the membership of AZ AER passed Resolution 2002-1. The membership resolved to send an email in support of proposed changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act ( ADA ) guidelines. These changes, among other items, will ensure that striping on stairs is consistent, that pedestrian access be included from sidewalk to business entrances, and that Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS) be placed at any intersection where a pedestrian signal is located.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AER-LIFT Leadership Conference—March 2003!

HOW YOU CAN PARTICIPATE!

 

Jacki Daniels & Rachel Jones will attend AERLift Leadership Training In Washington, DC in March! This conference will have a heavy focus on advocacy in preparation for the July advocacy conference. Jacki & Rachel will spend Monday, March 24, 2003 on Capitol Hill!

You can participate by contacting either of them with questions or concerns that you would like to see addressed at a national level! Don’t miss this opportunity to be heard!

 

 

 

 

ü

 TO DO:

ü Register for AZ AER 1-Day Meeting—April 4th

 

ü Register for AZ AER Fall Conference Giveaway! Drawing to held April 4th!

 

ü Call Dr. Irene Topor @ 520-626-3863 if you are interested in registering for Advanced Low Vision!

 

ü Call Dr. Penny Rosenblum @ 520-621-1223 if you are interested in registering for VI Methods or O&M for Classroom Teachers!

 

ü Submit your contributions for the next issue of AERizona View by April 1st!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Employment Opportunity for talented TVI!

Washington Elementary School District has an opening for a .5 TVI position. Contact Rachel Jones, TVI @ 602-347-3028 or Katrina Lomax, Assistant Administrator for Special Services @ 602-347-2649.

 

 

 

 

THANK  YOU

to the following contributors to this issue of AERizona View:

 

Sandra Stirnweis FBC

 

 Irene Topor    UofA   

 

 Penny Rosenblum UofA   

 

 Vicki Numkena ASDB

 

Tami Sue Levinson UofA

 

Tom Perski       MDI

 

Mark Richert    AER                   (via Sandra Stirnweis)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the Editor:

 

It is an honor and an opportunity to serve as your AERizona View Editor! Don’t be surprised if AERizona View changes in appearance the first few issues while I get the hang of it! Give me your feedback! What do you like and not like?

 

We will be experimenting with distributing AERizona View via email in the not too distant future. Give us time to perfect the process! Notify me if you would like to receive the newsletter on disk.

 

Submit news & ideas! Every one of you has something to offer! Next deadline: April 1st

 

Kartar Kaur Khalsa

AERizona View

2314 N Richland Street

Phoenix , AZ 85006

 

W 602-347-3438

H 602-252-0643

FAX  602-347-3071

KartarK@cox.net

 

 

May the long time sun shine upon you,

 

All love surround you.

 

And the pure light within you,

 

Guide your way on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President’s Message

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I’m not sure I’m ready for 2003, but time flies, and so I will “wing it”. I am excited about being a part of the new AZ AER Board for the next few years. Although I am not the world’s most inspiring speaker or writer, I want you to know my heart is with AER. I have been a proud member of AER since 1982—before it was AER! When asked by a new staff member or colleague, “Do I need to join AER?” my reply is always a resounding “YES!” It is the premiere international organization for workers in the field of blindness and visual impairment. I wholeheartedly believe in being a participating member of the organization that represents and supports my chosen field.

 

Woo-hoo! The Phoenix Coyotes win again! I’m watching the Coyotes vs. the Edmonton Oilers as I write. I am a hockey fan—a Coyotes fan. They don’t always have the best record, don’t always win, and don’t always play the way I think they should, but they are my team and I support them!

 

I have the same feelings for AER—its members, its board are my team. Teams work the best when they are united in their goals. They need unwavering support and commitment. My goal for 2003 is to encourage continued team work and support within our AZ AER chapter and to let others know the pride and commitment AZ AER members feel for their profession.

 

I was asked to give you a glimpse into who I am, my bio, so to speak. So before I close, here I am in a nutshell: a teacher for 24 years, in the vision field for 20 years, have taught in resource room, residential school, and itinerant settings, have worked with infants as an early interventionist to high school aged students, have worked in five states. I continue to love what I do, the children and families I meet, and my colleagues in this ever-changing and challenging field.

 

I wish you the best 2003 can bring and look forward to working for you as President of AZ AER!

 

Jacki Daniels

President AZ AER

Confessions & Inspirations

 

As your AZ AER Membership Chairperson, I confess! I was not interested in attending the annual conference this year! I looked at the program and thought, “There’s nothing here that I am interested in…” Sound familiar? But my employer paid my registration, so I took off for Prescott to fulfill my duties, visit with friends and maybe do a hike up Granite Mountain .

 

I am writing to tell you that it was one of the most interesting and inspiring conferences I have attended in quite some time! Dr. Erin’s Keynote Address entitled “Historical Images of Blindness in Literature” was quite interesting, and looking around the room, I think everyone enjoyed hearing Dr. Erin share one of her personal interests.

 

After lunch, Mark Richert, AER Executive Director, talked about legislation. Legislation! Uck! Boring! That’s how I felt before I heard him speak! Now I am a convert! I was so inspired by Mark that I attended the next break-out session: “Developing a Legislative Plan for Arizona ”. I hope that our AZ AER Board and interested members will follow some of Mark’s suggestions and become more active. I think I may have found a new interest!

 

Friday AM: Dorinda Rife and I had a breakfast meeting with interested AER members about Quality Programming for Students with Visual Impairments (QPVI). It was gratifying to share information and enthusiasm! Contact Dorinda or myself for more information about QPVI!

 

A general session with Peter Powers MD, speaking about growing up with diabetes, was informative, inspiring and humorous! His personal story will stick with me for a long time. Best of all, I have another adult role model to call upon to meet with a student, parent or administrator.

 

I went to the next session and sat in the back, ready to bolt if it wasn’t interesting. Dr. Sandy Rosen talked about “Walkers, Wheelchairs and Canes: Mobilizing Individuals with Visual Impairment”, Part I of III. I am not a mobility specialist, but I do mobility daily with my preschoolers, some of whom are in wheelchairs or using walkers. Sandy was full of good information; I knew I was coming back for Part II!

 

Friday PM: Do I really want to stay? I wanted to hear Dr. Rosen speak, and once again, I was pleasantly surprised by what I learned about mobility techniques with students who are in walkers and wheelchairs! Yes, I did skip the last session! I’m only human!

 

AZ AER friends, no one asked me to write this! But if you don’t think AZ AER’s fall conference has anything to offer, go anyway! I’ll look for you! We can sit together, in the back!

 

Vicki Numkena, AZ  AER Membership Chairperson

Tom Perski named Margaret Bluhm AZ AER Worker of the Year 2002!

CONGRATULATIONS, TOM!

 

University of AZ : The Scoop!

 

As always, life at UofA is busy for those of us preparing future personnel for our field. We have just submitted a federal grant that we hope will be funded. If so, our O&M program will be back in Fall 2003, and we’ll have money to support full-time and part-time TVI students in Tucson . We’d also begin summer-emphasis courses for TVIs who wish to become O&M Specialists starting in Summer 2004. If you or someone you know may want to join our O&M programs or TVI on-campus program, please have them contact Jane Erin for TVI (520-621-0945) / jerin@u.arizona.edu or Ian Stewart for O&M (520-621-3887 / istewart@u.arizona.edu).

We truly appreciate all of you who have supported our program during the Fall 2002 semester by serving as cooperating teachers for an O&P or Intern Student. These individuals are Pam Ashbaugh, Nancy Effiwatt, Diane Everhart, Kathie Frankel, Sheryl Katzen, Jon Howe, Ruth Parsons, Spencer Peterson, Dorinda Rife and Christina Schoch.

Dr. L. Penny Rosenblum— University of Arizona

University of AZ —Spring & Summer Courses

 

SERP 519a—Advanced Low Vision—This 2 credit course is being offered the weekends of April 25/25, May 9/10 and May 23/24 at The Foundation for Blind Children in Phoenix. Classes will meet from 5-8 on Friday evenings and Saturday from 8-3. Participants will go in-depth into functional vision assessment, use of optical aids, and much more. Contact Irene Topor, ilt@u.arizona.edu or via phone 520-626-3863.

 

SERP 422/522—Orientation & Mobility for Classroom Teachers—This 3 credit course is being offered June 9-27 at the University of Arizona . Class meeting times are 1:00 to 4:00 PM , Monday-Friday. It is appropriate for individuals seeking entry level information about orientation and mobility for individuals with visual impairments. Housing can be arranged for out-of-towners for a nominal cost. Contact Penny Rosenblum, rosenblu@u.arizona.edu or via phone 520-621-1223.

 

SERP 424/524—Methods of Teaching Students with Visual Impairments—This 3 credit course is being offered June 9-27 at the University of Arizona .

 

Class meeting times are from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM Monday through Friday. Information is appropriate for general educators, special educators, parents, etc. If there are undergraduate education majors you know of who may one day be interested in our field, this would be a good place for them to start. Housing can be arranged for out-of-towners for a nominal cost. Contact Penny Rosenblum, rosenblu@u.arizona.edu or via phone 520-621-1223.

                                                                                      

Ongoing Correspondence Course! People can sign up any time!

 

SERP519c—Teaching Students with Visual Impairments in General Education Classrooms—This is a 1 credit correspondence course for general education teachers, related service personnel, and special education teachers. This course will give these individuals some entry level information about working with learners with visual impairments. This is the perfect course for that 5th grade teacher who is feeling unsure about having his/her first visually impaired student. No need to travel to Tucson ; the entire course is through the mail! To learn more, contact Irene Topor, ilt@u.arizona.edu or via phone 520-626-3863.

 

 


AAABVI / Sports Camp 2003

A core group of people, including Luke Patterson, Rob Schulenburg and Irene Topor have worked diligently to establish the non-profit organization ARIZONA ASSOCIATION OF ATHLETES WHO ARE BLIND OR VISUALLY IMPAIRED (AAABVI). The purpose of the organization is to promote recreational and athletic opportunities for individuals of all ages in Arizona who have visual impairments.

AAABVI will sponsor Sports Camp 2003 for children with visual impairments ages 10-16 the dates of June 28- July 2, 2003 in Tucson . We would like to use this organization to promote this and other sports and recreational opportunities for individuals with visual impairments in our state.

If you would like to offer financial support to AAABVI, you may do so via United Way donation or personal contribution. Your tax deductible donation can be sent to:

AAABVI                                                                                               1303 East University Blvd #20616                                                             Tucson , AZ 85719-0521

If you would like to volunteer, please contact Irene Topor at 520-626-3863 or ilt@u.arizona.edu. Your volunteering can be done for UofA credit if you desire to pay for the credits. Visit http://www.ed.arizona.edu/visports to view photographs of last summer’s camp!

Information contributed by Irene Topor & Penny Rosenblum—UofA

 

Legislative Matters                  Mark  Richert  on Legislation

 

Mark Richert, AER Executive Director spoke at the AZ AER Conference in October, and I wanted to share his comments and suggestions regarding legislation for VI services in Arizona . The session began with introductions and statements of interest and concern by the ten participants, several of whom were AZ AER board members.

 

Ron Alt, Director of the Tucson VA program, expressed serious concern about the loss of the O&M program at the UofA; this has been his primary resource for employees. Other issues: more recognition of our profession, financial support for technology training for persons who are deaf/blind, recognition of the need and funding for intervener training, the need for parents and school districts to communicate with our state legislature about the VI teacher shortage, UofA funding needs for continuing VI & O&M programs, and the need to educate as many people as possible about what it takes to educate a visually impaired infant, child or adult.

 

Mark offered these ideas and suggestions:

 

  • Hold our AZ AER conferences in the state capitol so that legislators may attend.
  • Hold small AZ AER interest group meetings in Phoenix so that legislators may attend.
  • Form a core of seven AZ AER professionals and consumers (magic number determined by research!) committed to communicating with state and federal legislators via email, phone and snail mail.
  • Consider funding members or non-members to travel to the legislature to share anecdotal stories.
  • A core group should develop a concept with research to back it up and anecdotal stories to support it. The legislators will “mess with” the concept, but we will get something out of it.
  • Invite legislators to our schools and programs, along with the core group.
  • Select three issues to work on and make a simple plan. Don’t sweat the details; the legislators will “mess with it” anyway.

 

Finally, Mark’s four P’s:

 

  • Pre-Service (training of teachers).
  • Professional support (continued training) at teachers’ geographical sites, through continuing education credits at conferences, partnership with Hadley School for the Blind, web courses and teleconferences.
  • Payment of services (working with the legislature to assure funding).
  • Protection and enhancement of services (using advocacy on the state and federal level). IDEA and the Vision Rehabilitation Act are up for review. We need to fight for continued levels of services.  

 

Vicki Numkena TVI—ASDB Preschool

 

Special Education Funding Concerns

On January 23rd the Senate passed a spending bill that increases special education funding significantly. This bill puts the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) on track for full funding in six years. The Senate also added $5 billion as a block grant. To find out how these amendments will affect your state, visit www.nea.org/lac/03fund.html. However, gains may be lost! Proposals by the Bush administration and a bill passed by the House would underfund the NCLB and IDEA. A House-Senate Conference Committee will take up the Senate and House spending bills this week (January 26-30).  Kids don't vote. Parents, family members, teachers, and child advocates must speak up on their behalf. Take Action! Contact your U.S. Representatives and Senators!

 

Many states are facing severe budget shortfalls. States and local school districts need additional funding to improve special education and ensure that No Child Left Behind gets off to a good start.  You will make it more likely that the Senate funding bill will pass if you contact your members of Congress. When you write to your Representative or Senator, your letter will be more effective if you describe a real funding need in your school, classroom, or district.  You can send your letters to Congress through the Legislative Action Center at the National Center for Learning Disabilities at http://capwiz.com/ld/issues/alert/?alertid=1235916&type=CO. When you enter your zip code, you go to a page with your Senators' and  Representatives’ names. You can copy your personal letter into the text box—very easy!  Writing a short letter will only take a few minutes of your time.  Be a hero - speak up for the kids!

 

Tami Sue Levinson TVI—UofA doctoral student

 

Medicare

The 107th session of Congress adjourned without enacting any major health care legislation, including the pertinent issue of our Medicare Vision Rehabilitation Services Act. These concerns will be on the agenda for the 108th Congress when it convenes in January 2003. While it is disappointing that H.R. 2484/S.1967 was not acted upon in 2002, it received unprecedented attention by the media, the public and key legislators. Congress is now aware of the importance of vision rehabilitation services, and Congressional members are actively engaged in discussing how to improve Medicare coverage for these services. Continue to watch AER Report and your chapter and division newsletters to find out how you can help ensure that Congressional attention and support grows during the 108th session of Congress!

 

Lorraine Lidoff, Director—National Vision Rehabilitation Cooperative

 

Braille Related

U.S & Canada Adopt New Braille Terminology

The Braille Authority of North America (BANA) announces a change in terminology to what has been traditionally known as “Grade 1” and “Grade 2” Braille. These categories will now be referred to as “uncontracted” and “contracted” Braille, respectively.

The change is being made at the request of many in the blindness field. People often confuse grades of Braille with first and second grades in elementary school. BANA believes that the change to more accurately descriptive language will increase awareness and improve the overall understanding of how Braille is learned, read, written and transcribed.

BANA urges all organizations, agencies, teacher training programs, Braille production facilities, software developers, professionals in the field of blindness and Braille readers to incorporate this terminology into writing, publications, presentations and general practice. The ultimate goal is to enhance understanding and more accurately reflect what Braille truly is—a versatile and effective reading and writing system for people who are blind and visually impaired.

Tami Sue Levinson— University of AZ

About Web-Braille

Web-Braille is an internet, web-based service that provides Braille books and magazines produced by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. The Web-Braille site is password-protected, and all files are in an electronic form of contracted Braille. Access to Web-Braille is limited to NLS patrons and eligible institutions. Books can be searched in Web-BLND, NLS’ online catalog. A link to each volume of a Web-Braille title appears in both the brief display and the full display. You can also access new books through the online version of

Braille Book Review, which includes links to the Web-Braille versions of titles listed.

Web-Braille files may be read online or downloaded for offline viewing or embossing with a Braille display, Braille notetaker, or Braille embosser. A password is required to download material and can be obtained by calling 602-255-5578 in the Phoenix area or 1-800-255-5578 outside the Phoenix area. Go directly to the website at http://www.lib.az.us/braille/. 

Paul Doyle TVI

 

 

Bookshare

Bookshare.org has a new service, provided in partnership with the Braille Press of Braille Institute of America. Braille books originating from the Bookshare.org digital Braille files can be ordered in embossed Braille form and mailed to you. These embossed books can be ordered by anyone in the United States , and you do not need to be a Bookshare.org member to order an embossed Braille book. Bookshare.org is a paid subscription, and the cost of formatting and embossing services is based upon cost per page. For information on membership, selection, cost and ordering, contact braillebooks@bookshare.org.

The National Braille Challenge Invitational

The National Braille Challenge Invitational is a unique, one-day competition for visually impaired school-aged children who read and write in Braille. It is designed to motivate students to excel in this vital medium and to engage them in healthy competition with their peers.

Braille Institute will host the first National Braille Challenge Invitational at the headquarters in Los Angeles in 2003. Fun activities and events for the contestants and their families will precede and follow the actual contest on Saturday, June 28, 2003 . For information, call 323-663-1111.

 


News You Can Use!

Free Informational Video from AFB                     

The following announcement is forwarded to you from AFB:
AER members, chapters and divisions can order a free copy of AFB's 8-minute video “National Agenda on Vision and Aging” to show at chapter meetings and other events. Contact Alberta Orr at alorr@afb.net or by phone at 212-502-7634. The video, developed by AFB's aging team, was shown at the AER 2002 International Conference in
Toronto and depicts the National Agenda goals and progress to date.

 

Spanish Listserv

A listserve has been created for Spanish students who are blind and teachers of Spanish students who are blind. This list is to help each other with Spanish and to obtain ways to help cope with problems in transferring Spanish to print, using technology, etc.  Please come join us and bring any information of importance. The new version of the BrailleNote will have Spanish capabilities, so members who will be using that should also come join!  To subscribe, send a blank email to blind-spanish@yahoogroups.com. Once you've joined, please write a short introduction! 

 

 

AER Announces New Position(s)

I am very pleased to announce that, beginning immediately, Jackie Fairbarns will be serving as Associate Director for Communications and Continuing Education Initiatives. Jackie has been part of the AER staff team since January 2001, and has served with distinction as both Acting and Deputy Executive Director of our association. In her new role, Jackie
will play an even more prominent part in "getting out our message" as we
strengthen the quality of our publications, increase the quantity of our
communications with our members and others, redesign our web site, and more aggressively expand our continuing education programs. By restructuring our work in this way, we can maximize staff resources to work collaboratively with the
Hadley School for the Blind and others as we further fulfill our goal of being the leading resource for quality professional development/continuing education.

AER is also pleased to welcome Lauree C. Covington as Member Services Representative. Lauree’s responsibilities will include providing front-line assistance to members and maintaining membership records. Lauree joins AER with excellent qualifications in administration, organization and work ethic!

Mark Richert, Executive Director, AER

 

DOT Aviation Consumer Disability Hotline

The Department of Transportation's Aviation Consumer Disability Toll-free
Hotline became operational at
7 a.m. local time in Washington , D.C. , on
August 5, 2002 .  The toll-free number for our aviation consumer disability
hotline is 1-866-266-1368 (voice) and 1-866-754-4368 (TTY).  We ask that you advise members of your respective organizations about the establishment of the hotline and encourage them to call the hotline to obtain information and assistance if they should experience disability-related air service problems.

At this time, we would also like to express our sincere appreciation to
those individuals who tested our Hotline system by calling our toll-free
number with simulated air traveler disability-related issues. The testing
of the hotline system by disability community organizations has been very
helpful and we have used the comments provided by representatives of the
disability community to improve the hotline system.

Thank you for your assistance.
Department of Transportation


Talking ATM Locator

                                                                      
Wells Fargo Bank has installed 33 Talking ATMs at its branches throughout
the state for its customers who are blind or have low vision. The Talking ATMs provide voice instructions on how to perform various ATM transactions. Each ATM has an audio jack to deliver voice   information privately to protect the security of the user. Talking ATMs are identified with two raised symbols in Large Print and Braille. An audio symbol identifies the machine as a Talking ATM, and an earphone symbol designates the location of the earphone jack. The universal earphone jack accommodates all standard earphones, and you must supply your own headphones.  Customers who do not own standard earphones can request one at any Wells Fargo branch or by telephone at 1-800-869-3557.  An earphone is sent free of charge with 5 working days. You can find the nearest Wells Fargo branch with a Talking ATM by searching by city name or zip code at

 

 

 http://www.wellsfargo.com/auxiliary_access/aa_talkatmloc.jhtml  or calling Wells Fargo Online Customer Service Department at 1-800-956-4442.

NEWS YOU CAN USE compliments of Sandra Stirnweis COMS, CLVT—FBC

 

 


ACVREP  

 

RTC Logo

ACVREP Names a New President

The Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals, whose mission it is to offer professional certification for vision rehabilitation and education professionals, announces the appointment of Sharon Mikrut as President of the organization. ACVREP, based in Tucson , conducts professional certification in Orientation & Mobility, Rehabilitation Teaching, and Low Vision Therapy. Ms. Mikrut has extensive background related to certification and professional standards. She will oversee the daily operation of ACVREP, and will continue to guide the organization toward the accreditation process of the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), the certifying body of the National organization for Competency Assurance (NOCA), of which ACVREP is a member. Ms. Mikrut follow Eileen Siffermann, ACVREP’s first President. To find out more about the benefits of seeking or maintaining professional certification, visit ACVREP at www.acvrep.org or call 520-887-6816.

ACVREP Email Contact

The Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals is initiating an email contact as a means of communicating with certificants. If you would like to receive these communications, please send your email address to acvrep2@qwest.net.

Eileen Siffermann COMS (formerly ACVREP President)

RSA Funded Research Project Position Statement

There have been a myriad of questions and concerns related to the RSA funded research project that compares ACVREP's O&M certification program to the National Blindness Professional Certification Board's O&M certification program.  Due to the project proposal's errors and inaccuracies regarding ACVREP, ACVREP President Sharon Mikrut and its board are issuing the following position statement.   Contact Ms. Mikrut at 520-887-6816 or email at smikrut@acvrep.org with any questions. The position statement reads as follows:

RSA FUNDED RESEARCH PROJECT - POSITION STATEMENT

ACVREP is protesting directly to Dr. Robert Pasternack, Assistant Secretary of OSERS, concerning the $150,000 RSA funded research project entitled "A Comparison of Two Alternative Orientation and Mobility Certification Programs."  The two programs being compared are ACVREP's Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS) certification and the National Blindness Professional Certification Board's National Orientation and Mobility Certification (NOMC). 

We are protesting the project for the following reasons:

1.      No request for proposals was issued to the field to announce monies available to fund a project of this type.

2.      No formal peer review of the proposal was conducted.

3.      The proposal misrepresents ACVREP's certification policies as discriminatory to persons who are visually impaired.  ACVREP has always been non-discriminatory; persons who are blind and visually impaired are certificants in orientation and mobility, rehabilitation teaching, and low vision therapy. 

4.      The proposal confuses ACVREP, a certifying organization, with AER, a membership organization.

5.      Neither the Principal Investigator, the organization hosting  the research, the project officer at RSA, or the administration of RSA attempted to contact the ACVREP Chair or President concerning  the project prior to its funding.

6.      The RSA funded research proposal is difficult to understand and weak in terms of its research design, implementation, and evaluation.

7.      The RSA funded project represents a bias in the selection of certain segments of the professional population for input and participation, neglecting other mainstream organizations. 

To address these errors and concerns, ACVREP's Chairperson, Gale Watson, sent an email letter, dated October 19, 2002 , to Joanne Wilson, RSA Commissioner.  As we never received a response from Ms. Wilson, we have corresponded directly with Dr. Pasternack on January 7, 2003 . We have been contacted by Dr. Pasternack's office and are awaiting a reply from him shortly.

We do not believe that this project will result in good data that is useful and valuable to the field.  We believe this project is an attempt to discredit ACVREP's non-discriminatory policy, and  foist a certification on the field that does not require professional preparation.  ACVREP would support a non-biased, accurate, scientifically rigorous research project studying the merit and outcomes of the two certifications. 

We have received many phone calls and email messages from individuals concerned about this project.  We encourage you to call Dr. Pasternack at 202-205-5465 or write him at the following address to express your concerns:

Dr. Robert Pasternack                                                                         Assistant Secretary                                                                                 

Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services                            U.S. Department of Education                                                                    400 Maryland Ave., S.W.                                                                   Washington , D.C.   20202

Position Statement received 1/31/2003 from info@ACVREP.org and printed in it entirety.

Set Your Sites!  

MDI News Journal

Macular Degeneration International’s MDI News Journal provides information about the latest on macular degeneration and related topics. Individuals can request the newsletter to be delivered electronically at no cost. Send requests to info@maculardegeneration.org.  To learn more about MDI, visit our website at http://www.maculardegeneration.org.

Tom Perski—MDI

WrightsLaw

                                                                                                                  Here is a parent friendly link to an explanation of testing, measurement and adaptations for assessments.  This is a great website for special education law questions in easy to understand wording.

http://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/articles/tests_measurements.html

 

Contact:

Pete and Pam Wright

Wrightslaw & The Special Ed Advocate

P. O. Box 1008

Deltaville , VA 23043

Website: http://www.wrightslaw.com

Email: newsletters@wrightslaw.com

 

Lack confidence in your letter-writing skills? Read "12 Rules for Writing Great Letters" http://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/articles/12rules_letters.htm

 

IDEA & NCLB: Learn about the reauthorization of  IDEA at http://www.wrightslaw.com/news/idea2002.htm

 

Learn about No Child Left Behind at http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/nclb.index.htm

 

SUBSCRIPTION & CONTACT INFO

The Special Ed Advocate is a free online newsletter about special Education legal and advocacy issues, cases, and tactics and strategies. Subscribers receive "alerts" about new cases, events, and special offers on

Wrightslaw books.

 

Law Library: http://www.wrightslaw.com/law.htm

Advocacy Library: http://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc.htm

Free Newsletter: http://www.wrightslaw.com/subscribe.htm

Newsletter Archives: http://www.wrightslaw.com/archives.htm

Seminars & Training: http://www.wrightslaw.com/speak/index.htm

Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities: http://www.fetaweb.com/help/states.htm                                                  

 

Tami Levinson—TVI, University of Arizona doctoral student

Some of Irene Topor’s favorite low vision websites:

 

www.geocities.com/ocular_times/

An informative guide to eye disorders and related eye care topics.

 

www.maculardegeneration.org/

Latest information about juvenile and adult forms of MD including research and practical treatments available.

 

www.lowvision.org/

The Low Vision Gateway:  A starting point to access low vision resources of the world.

 

www.lighthouse.org/envision.spring2002.htm

A publication for parents and educators of children with impaired vision.

 

www.allaboutvision.com/whatsnew/books.htm

A site that lists the source of books about eyeglasses for children

 

www.nei.nih/nehep/lowvis.htm

The National Eye Institute’s low vision education program.