Agenda and Speakers for the 2013 Families Connecting with Families Conference

NAPVI "Families Connecting with Families" Conference
2013 Boston, Massachusetts

Families Connecting with Families logo


10:00 am - 5:00 pm Pre-conference sessions

10:00 am - 2:00 pm NAPVI affiliate parent leaders' seminar on skills that every child should be doing at home

12:00 noon - 7:00 pm Registration

2:00 - 5:00 pm Special seminar on cortical visual impairment (CVI) presenter—Christine Roman

2:00 - 5:00 pm Parent focus groups for FamilyConnect website
with American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) and NAPVI

2:00 - 5:00 pm Parent focus groups on Described and Captioned Media With Bridge Multimedia

3:00 - 5:00 pm Off-site tour of Carroll Center for the Blind

3:00 - 7:00 pm Exhibit hall open; special sessions for families and professionals exhibitors will showcase their products and resources

7:00 - 9:00 pm Opening welcome reception
Keynote speaker: Kevin O'Connor
After-dinner reception


7:30 - 8:30 am Continental breakfast

7:30 - 9:30 am Registration

8:00 - 4:00 pm Exhibit hall open
Exhibitors will showcase their products and resources

8:15 - 11:30 am Childcare opens

8:15 - 8:45 am Children attending, report to childcare

9:00 - 10:00 am General session Welcome
Keynote speaker: Dr. Eli Peli

9:00 am - 5:00 pm Children's activities

10:15 - 11:15 am Eye condition networking sessions

11:30 - 12:30 pm Childcare closed

11:45 - 12:45 pm LUNCH

12:30 - 5:00 pm Childcare open with children's activities

First Breakout Session • Saturday, July 20th, 1:00 - 2:15 pm

A-1 Siblings speak out. Panel of sighted siblings of brothers and sisters with visual impairment give their perspectives

Moderator: Susan Barron, PhD, a New York based clinical psychologist who conducts telephone support groups for parents of children with vision impairments. Dr. Barron has also served as a consultant to seven state commissions for the blind during her 30-year career.

A-2 How to read aloud to your child who is blind. Interactive session to show parents how to encourage reading books with their young children

Presenter: Matt Kaplowitz, President, Bridge Multimedia, New York, NY.

A-3 Tangible symbols — communicating without words

Presenter: Ellen Trief, EdD, Associate Professor, Hunter College, Programs in Visual Impairment and Blindness and Severe/Multiple Disabilities, New York, NY.

A-4 The expanded core curriculum: What is it and why is it so important to your child's education?

Presenter: Bernadette Kappen, PhD, Director, New York Institute for Special Education, Bronx, New York.

A-5 Self-defense for your blind child: The 1Touch Technique

Presenter: Elizabeth Myska, JD, LLM, is a coach and regional coordinator of 1Touch, a self-defense program for people who are blind. She is also a member of the Advisory Board for the regional Massachusetts Commission for the Blind.

A-6 Incorporating a student with visual impairment into the regular classroom: sharing teaching strategies for success

The teacher: Mrs. Jennifer DiFrancesca, Advanced Placement History, Shrewsbury High School, MA. The student: Jen Tylock, who starts her freshman year at MIT this Fall.

A-7 Learning how to access described and captioned media in Spanish (Spanish session)

Presenter: Carol Colemares, Co-Director of Dicapta, Orlando, FL. Dicapta is a developer of accessible communication devices.

A-8 iPads, iPhones and Apple devices (Middle School/High School)

Presenter: Brian Charlson, Director of the Technology Center at the Carroll Center, Newton, MA.

Second Breakout Session • Saturday, July 20th, 2:30 - 3:45 pm

B-1 Transition from school to supported employment

Presenter: Beth Caruso, Director of Outreach, Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, MA.

B-2 Orientation and mobility for school-age children

Presenter: Meg Robertson, COMS, Director, O&M Dept., Massachusetts Commission for the Blind.

B-3 Navigating the IEP for parents

Presenters: Julie Urban, NAPVI President and Venetia Hayden, NAPVI Vice-President, AZ.

B-4 Products and services from the American Printing House for the Blind: A primer for parents

Presenter: Janie Blome, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY.

B-5 How to help your child have fun with braille (hands on demonstration)

Presenter: Kim Charlson, Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, MA.

B-6 Creating the optimal environment: The importance of lighting and environmental modifications within programs for children with visual impairments

Presenter: Gordon Rovins, Director of Special Programs, Jewish Guild Healthcare, New York, NY.

B-7 To be determined

B-8 Grandparenting: An opportunity for grandparents to share their experiences and to support each other

Presenter: Teresa Hubbard, Grandparent Facilitator.

Third Breakout Session • Saturday, July 20th, 4:00 - 5:00 pm

C-1 Navigating state agency services for maximum outcomes for your child

Presenter: John Oliveira, Asst. Commissioner of Programs and Services at the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind.

C-2 What do all those squiggles mean? Interpreting the eye doctor's report

Presenter: Darick Wright, Coordinator of New England Eye Clinic, Watertown, MA.

C-3 Come sing with me: How music therapy can support development of the very young visually impaired child

Presenter: Jill Buchanan, Board-Certified Music Therapist.

C-4 Digital books, access, Bookshare, and reading: ideas for parents

Presenter: Donna McNear, COMS, Independent Consultant specializing in services and supports to children with visual impairments.

C-5 The latest in accessible applications for the iPad for pre-school children

Presenter: Eric Jerman. Mr. Jerman teaches at the Perkins School for the Blind and is the father of a five-year-old son who is visually impaired.

C-6 An introduction to audio description: seeing with the mind's eye

Presenter: Joel Snyder, Director, Audio Description Project, American Council of the Blind.

C-7 What your child's TVI needs to know about cortical visual impairment

Presenter: Christine Roman-Lantzy, PhD, author of Cortical Visual Impairment: An Approach to Assessment and Intervention, AFB Press.

C-8 How and where to apply for college scholarships for your visually impaired child

Presenter: Gordon Rovins, Director of Special Programs (including Guild scholarships), Jewish Guild Healthcare.

5:00 pm Childcare closes

4:00 pm Exhibit hall closes for the conference

6:30 - 8:30 pm Family dinner and entertainment
DJ music and dancing


7:30 - 8:30 am Continental breakfast

8:30 - Noon Childcare open

Fourth Breakout Session • Sunday, July 21, 9:15 - 10:30 am

D-1 The father factor: Two fathers share their experiences (dads only)

Co-presenters: NAPVI fathers Michael Morris, Father and Multi-media Specialist; John Allen, the Iris Network, Portland, ME.

D-2 Mothers' panel: Mothers share their experiences (moms only)

Co-presenters: NAPVI mothers Djenne Morris, Motivational Speaker; Paula Labella Belanger, The New England Consortium of Deafblind Projects, MA Family Specialist.

D-3 Mother of invention: LightAide, an LED lighting project

Presenter: Catherine Rose, Senior Project Manager, Philips Color Kinetics.

D-4 The resources and legal issues that surround setting up a trust for your child

Co-presenters: Sue Hollis, The New England Consortium of Deafblind Projects, NH Family Specialist; Elizabeth Myska, JD, LLM, a member of the Advisory Board for the regional Massachusetts Commission for the Blind.

D-5 Learning Ally (formerly Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic): What's new and improved and is it really possible to get textbooks on demand

Presenter: Mary Alexander, National Program Director and the parent of a child with visual impairment.

D-6 What can you expect from your child's para/intervener?

Co-presenters: Maria Friedas, NYC Dept. of Education and the parent of a child with visual impairment; Janette Peracchio, National Family Association for Deaf/Blind, Coventry, CT; Karen Ross, Director of Education Services, Carrol Center for the Blind, Newton, MA.

D-7 Orientation and mobility for young children

Co-presenters: Venetia Hayden, NAPVI Vice President, Tucson, AZ; David Lepofsky.

D-8 The Impact of "Obamacare" on children with disabilities and visual impairments

Presenter: Judy Farrell, VP of Government Affairs, Jewish Guild Healthcare, New York, NY.

10:30 - 11:45 am Closing session
Keynote Presentation: Dr. Kay Ferrell
Closing remarks

Noon Childcare closes

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