FALL CONFERENCE RUNDOWN!
STUFF ABOUT BRAILLE!
new! How you can participate!
A Course Offerings!
AER 1-DAY CONFERENCE ON
AER Fall Conference Giveaway—All expenses
paid! Details inside!
President Rachel Jones
President Penny Rosenblum
Kerry Duncan Christine Larson Tami Levinson Jocelyn Ruiz
Judi Schneider Rob Schulenburg
District 1 Board Member Sandra Stirnweis
Stirnweis, COMS @ FBC, will present at IMC 11 in Capetown
Doyle, TVI and UofA graduate, has left WESD and moved to
Foundation for Blind Children will open its Low Vision Clinic on March 5,
2003! Wednesday is clinic day! Schedule appointments with Rainey Kasl @
AHEAD in 2003:
AZ CEC event!
Presentation ON TESTING:
A MUST FOR ALL SPECIAL EDUCATORS!
18, 2003 asdb—Tucson
Visual Impairment Workshop
March 5 -6, 2003
44th Annual Conference
30-Apr 4, 2003 Capetown
Vision Driving Conference
Field-wide Conference: Advocacy
is Everyone’s ResponsibilitY
July 25-29, 2003 Washington DC
AER Fall 2-Day
O&M Division Conference
WAY AHEAD TO 2004!
Biennial National Conference
Richert shared some
interesting statistics on
YOU CAN PARTICIPATE!
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
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!
Register for AZ AER 1-Day Meeting—April 4th
Register for AZ AER Fall Conference Giveaway! Drawing to held April 4th!
Call Dr. Irene Topor @ 520-626-3863 if you are interested in registering
for Advanced Low Vision!
Call Dr. Penny Rosenblum @ 520-621-1223 if you are interested in
registering for VI Methods or O&M for Classroom Teachers!
Submit your contributions for the next issue of AERizona View by April 1st!
the following contributors to this issue of AERizona View:
Sue Levinson UofA
(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
the long time sun shine upon you,
love surround you.
the pure light within you,
your way on.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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!
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.
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
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
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.
L. Penny Rosenblum—
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
or via phone 520-626-3863.
& Mobility for Classroom Teachers—This 3 credit course is being
offered June 9-27 at the
of Teaching Students with Visual Impairments—This 3 credit course is
being offered June 9-27 at the
times are from
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, email@example.com
or via phone 520-621-1223.
Correspondence Course! People can sign up any time!
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
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
will sponsor Sports Camp 2003 for children with visual impairments ages
10-16 the dates of June 28-
If you would
like to offer financial support to AAABVI, you may do so via
East University Blvd #20616
If you would
like to volunteer, please contact Irene Topor at 520-626-3863 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!
contributed by Irene Topor & Penny Rosenblum—UofA
AER Executive Director spoke at the AZ AER Conference in October, and I
wanted to share his comments and suggestions regarding legislation for VI
Director of the
offered these ideas and suggestions:
Mark’s four P’s:
Numkena TVI—ASDB Preschool
Special Education Funding Concerns
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
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
Tami Sue Levinson TVI—UofA doctoral student
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!
& 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,
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
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.
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
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
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
will host the first National Braille Challenge Invitational at the
News You Can Use!
Informational Video from AFB
announcement is forwarded to you from AFB:
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 email@example.com.
Once you've joined, please write a short introduction!
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
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!
Richert, Executive Director, AER
Aviation Consumer Disability Hotline
of Transportation's Aviation Consumer Disability Toll-free
At this time,
we would also like to express our sincere appreciation to
you for your assistance.
or calling Wells Fargo Online
Customer Service Department at 1-800-956-4442.
NEWS YOU CAN
USE compliments of Sandra Stirnweis COMS, CLVT—FBC
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Siffermann COMS (formerly ACVREP President)
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 email@example.com
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
are protesting the project for the following reasons:
No request for proposals was issued to the field to
announce monies available to fund a project of this type.
No formal peer review of the proposal was conducted.
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.
The proposal confuses ACVREP, a certifying
organization, with AER, a membership organization.
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.
The RSA funded research proposal is difficult to
understand and weak in terms of its research design, implementation, and
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
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
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about MDI, visit our website at http://www.maculardegeneration.org.
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.
and Pam Wright
& The Special Ed Advocate
confidence in your letter-writing skills? Read "12 Rules for Writing
Great Letters" http://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/articles/12rules_letters.htm
& NCLB: Learn about the reauthorization of
IDEA at http://www.wrightslaw.com/news/idea2002.htm
about No Child Left Behind at http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/nclb.index.htm
& CONTACT INFO
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
& Training: http://www.wrightslaw.com/speak/index.htm
Pages for Kids with Disabilities: http://www.fetaweb.com/help/states.htm
Some of Irene
Topor’s favorite low vision websites:
informative guide to eye disorders and related eye care topics.
information about juvenile and adult forms of MD including research and
practical treatments available.
Low Vision Gateway: A starting
point to access low vision resources of the world.
publication for parents and educators of children with impaired vision.
site that lists the source of books about eyeglasses for children
National Eye Institute’s low vision education program.