Browse By Topic: In the News

What Do You Want the World to Know About Blindness?

ABCNews recently published Seeing Hope: FDA Panel Considers Gene Therapy for Blindness intending to excite readers with the story of three siblings whose vision, impaired from Leber Congenital Amaurosis, improved remarkably after undergoing gene therapy. The author writes of the outcomes of the majority of individuals who have undergone the same gene therapy as the sibling set, Many are no longer legally blind and gained independence. Gained independencewords that, while well-intentioned and possibly accurate for this


Paralympics and Our Newly Motivated Children

Parents, I know you are as impressed with the Paralympic athletes as I am! Absolutely remarkable displays of power, speed, strength, agility, resolve, and grit: unequivocal athleticism. I watched them, just as I watched the Olympic athletes, and felt a surge of adrenaline…like I needed to pick up a set of boxing gloves and release my inner athlete. I realize that’s because these individuals are champions, whether or not they have a disability, and champions


United Nations Establishes International Albinism Awareness Day

With so much going on around the world and in the USA it is important to stop and recognize the good and important work that different groups are doing. The United Nations established this past Monday, June 13th, as International Albinism Awareness Day. People around the world with albinism face tremendous cultural stigma and in some instances this leads to actual physical violence. That makes the recognition from the United Nations all the more important as we work to assist people in living independent lives. The group National Organization for Albinism


October Is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month and we plan to give you information throughout the month on employment issues. The path to employment begins at home as well as in school and that destination may now seem far away. The promotion of skills and independence are criticalfactors in this process and begin at an early age. Last year we brought you the series of articles in the Transition to Independence section of each age range including; We start with Babies and


Parents Can Now Learn ABCs of UEB

Editor's note; we bring you more resources for the topic of the transition into UEB. By Sheryl Bass, The Hadley School for the Blind An exciting new introductory braille instructional course has just become available through the Family Education Program at The Hadley School for the Blind entitled Introduction to Braille, UEB Edition. The Hadley School for the Blind is the largest provider of distance education for people who are blind and visually impaired worldwide. Beginning in 2016, new braille materials will be produced in Unified English Braille (UEB) throughout the United States. This course provides the tools for those interested in


Unified English Braille (UEB) Is Almost Here...

Editor's Note: Braille is important to everyone who is blind as it provides tactile access to the written word. Holly and Kathryn want you to be aware of the upcoming changes to the braille code, and also assist them by participating in a discussion of families learning braille through online courses. You may have heard that the braille code, the tactile system used by people with visual impairments to access print, is getting a makeover. In January 2016, blind adults, students, their teachers, and their families will be starting to learn changes to the braille code with which


Visually Impaired Latinos in America: My Thoughts on Hispanic Heritage Month

As Hispanic heritage month approaches, I think it is important to recognize the values and ethnic background and contributions that Latinos make to American society. First, Hispanics or Latinos are a multi-racial group. We are black, white, mestizos, as well as European-descended. So, Latin Americans are multi-racial. In my opinion there are several types of Latinos in America: those who are born here, are brought young, and others that come when they are adults. The message that I would like to convey is that Latinos in America should try to keep their values, background, and identity. Thus, they become part of a multi-cultural


Summer Blog Party: Hot Fun In the Summertime for Kids who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

We are kicking off the summer season with a roundup of items to help you make the most of activities, events, and just plain old ideas that can be fun. We are excited to be co-hosting a Summer Blog Party with WonderBaby. Bloggers, please join in by writing about your summer plans and sending us the links. We will share all the posts and links with families. From FamilyConnect you can sign up with FamilyConnect to get alerts as cool


Join Us at the NAPVI National Family Conference in Chicago!

Dear Families, Join us at the NAPVI National Family Conference and make a vacation around the conference program. Chicago is beautiful and there is so much for families to do. The conference hotel is in the Little Italy and Greek Town neighborhood with over 50 restaurants and bars in walking distance! It's also central to public transportation to see other parts of the city and to/from the airports. Take advantage of


Register Now for the International Family Conference!

We are organizing a phenomenal conference program for you and your family. The conference welcomes parents of children of all ages with visual impairments, blindness, and additional disabilities including siblings and extended family and friends. Early registration is now open! The conference location is at The Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired, close to the conference hotel. The


NPR News You Should Know About

Sometimes it seems like it is impossible to keep up in our ever-changing world. Today I have come across two articles on NPR that deal with special education. Both are worth reading. The first involves the very fast-paced world of technology: iPads in Special Ed: What Does the Research Say? Today everywhere you go you see people with iPads. These portable devices are providing amazing opportunities in education and are fast becoming a tool for accessibility, especially for children who are visually impaired, because of built-in features


What We're Reading and Listening to This Week

Now that the school year (and election season) is in full swing again, we're finding lots of great articles and resources online that might educate or inspire. Although this article from the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), "Parent Determination Leads to Son's Success with Assistive Technology" focuses on a parent whose child has a learning disability, the core message about "the right combination of tools and resources and an earlier diagnosis" and the recommendation "to identify strategies and technologies that would compensate for his disability" really


2011 National Bullying Prevention Month in October

Bullying, and how to prevent it, is an issue that has confronted schools and families across the country. It is especially a concern for families of children with disabilities, including those who are blind or visually impaired, who may be perceived as vulnerable and therefore a target for bullying and teasing by their peers. "What Should You Do if Your Blind or Visually Impaired Child Is Bullied" (PDF) offers 10 guideposts for families and schools to address the issue. To promote awareness of the issue, the PACER Center's National Bullying Prevention Center has designated October


Children From Vision Australia Communicate with the International Space Station

This story from Vision Australia delighted me. Several young clients, 8-12 years old, prepared questions and had the chance to interview a real astronaut, Mike Fossum, about his life and work in space as he circled the earth at 27,000km per hour on board the International Space Station. What an amazing, interactive science and technology lesson! The complete audio of the interview is available on Vision Australia's site, along with background information about all the hard work involved in making it happen. For example, the students only had nine minutes to ask


National Chinese Parents' Association Founded

I am pleased to announce that through the support of the Perkins International Program, the very first national meeting for parents of children with visual impairments was held in Beijing, China, in August 2010. I was honored to be invited by Peng Xiaguang, of the Department of Special Education of the China National Institute for Educational Research, to make a presentation about how our parents' association in the United States developed. In my presentation I shared examples of parents' associations around the world and the tremendous work that has been accomplished by these groups. Parent groups have been significant in developing schools


General Assembly of the United Nations Met in NYC Last Week

Leaders from around the world met for the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) in NYC to discuss and to make plans to solve the world's problems and issues. For you to know, the UN has established a document called the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) which identifies the main issues and goals that impact humanity worldwide to be addressed: Goal 1: Iradicate extreme poverty and hunger Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women Goal 4: Reduce Child Mortality Goal 5: Improve maternal health Goal 6: Combat HIV/MDG goalsAIDS,


Happy 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act!

Today, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is officially 20 years old! I remember attending the ceremony at the White House where President George H.W. Bush signed the law on July 26, 1990 and I'm looking forward to celebrating with President Obama and the disability community today. Of course, American children with vision loss have grown up in a society that, while not perfect, hopefully more effectively includes people with disabilities. ADA says no to discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, government services and access to goods and services. Hopefully, ADA says yes to enabling those of us


Join FamilyConnect in Celebrating May as Healthy Vision Month!

The National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) of the National Eye Institute (NEI) has created free resources and tools in English and in Spanish that you can download or link to, to share with other parents and your community. Their site is loaded with information about resources, tool kits, literature, and information on eye diseases, fact sheets, ideas for community activities, and games for kids all to promote eye health education. This is great awareness for your child with a visual impairment, their brothers and sisters, for yourselves as parents, and grandparents. Hey, just thought you


Hands-On Learning Thanks to New Technology

I recently came across this interesting article about a high school in Alberta, Canada. They report that they are very pleased with their investment in "lab equipment designed to allow students with low vision, or no vision, to become active participants in chemistry, physics and biology labs." It is great to see creative technological solutions to access problems in education. You can really sense the pride from the student who said, "Now, we could do it all ourselves." Have any of you seen this technology in action? How up-to-date are the facilities in


Parents of Blind Children Were Also Affected by the Philippine Typhoons

Many of you know Judith Lesner, our community moderator on the FamilyConnect message boards. She is a mother and has been an advocate for many years for families of children with visual impairments. She also has been a great support to the National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI) affiliate in the Philippines. Please read Judith's blog post, where she has given us more important details about how the recent typhoons in the Philippines have affected our friends. Those of you who attended the last FamilyConnect conference in Costa Mesa know that NAPVI has an affiliate in the Philippines. It is


Join Us This May for Healthy Vision Month!

Did you know each year in May the National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) of the National Eye Institute (NEI) spearheads Healthy Vision Month along with associations that provide vision rehabilitation and eye care services? Both NEHEP and NEI are resources you should know aboutthey are the national federally funded arms in the United States, NEI, focusing on eye research and NEHEP on public eye health education. The Healthy Vision web site offers free resources and materials for adults and children in English and in Spanish; information on examinations and prevention; literature citations and abstracts; and organizations to


Progress Being Made in Research with Stem Cell Therapy and Corneas

Given that there have been a lot of questions and discussion about stem cell research on the FamilyConnect message boards, we thought you may be interested in this new breakthrough in stem cell research that was reported in ScienceDaily today: "Stem cells collected from human corneas restore transparency and don't trigger a rejection response when injected into the eyes that are scarred and hazy, according to experiments conducted in mice by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine." In reading the article it sounds like this is a real breakthrough that could lead to promising treatment for scarring and cloudy corneas. As a member of the FamilyConnect community, please feel free


LA Times Features Blind High School Runner

High school senior Alyssa Rossi's story was recently featured in the LA Times. Alyssa, blind since birth, is able to fully compete on her high school track team with teamwork by her track mates. Teammates take turns being a sighted guide by tying a belt connected to the waists. This is just one example of a technique for blind athletes to participate in track. More techniques can be found in an article on AFB's web site, Tips for Runners with Visual Impairments, such as guidence for giving verbal direction, instructions for sighted guides, and running with a tether. It's important


American Idol Contestant Scott MacIntyre Heads to Hollywood

Last night after work, I came home, cooked dinner, and watched TV with my son and his girlfriend. One of the benefits of having kids or young adults around is that they keep us young and up to date with the latest music, TV shows, and movies! My son selected to watch American Idol, so of course I joined them. The show is quite fun to watch, and an extra bonus was that one of the contestants for the show was Scott MacIntyre, a young man who is a singer/songwriter who happens to be visually impaired. All four judges voted "yes" that Scott would move on to the next audition round, which will be held in Hollywood. His story made top news on the Internet and newspapersthe public still seems to take it as a surprise when someone who is blind can be talented or have


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