Future Reflections Winter/Spring 1998, Vol. 17 No. 1


A Chance To Belong:
1998 Parents Seminar
Sponsored by:
National Organization of Parents of Blind Children

The theme of the 1998 annual national seminar for parents of blind children is: "A Chance to Belong." Registration begins at 8:00 a.m., Saturday, July 4. The registration fee is $5 per person. The general seminar session will run from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Among the morning presentations will be a discussion of how to promote self-advocacy among children, a panel of children talking about the ten Courtesy Rules for Blind Kids, and a special presentation by Adrienne Asch, Ph.D., honoring her father, who was instrumental in helping her get "A Chance to Belong." We are hoping to offer a box lunch at a reasonable price so that those who would like more time to attend concurrent workshops in the afternoon may do so. The workshops will run from 1:45 to 4:45 p.m.

At 5:00 p.m. we invite all seminar participants (and others at the convention) to gather together at the NFB Camp room to enjoy a Cane Parade by the children. All kids—sighted and blind—will decorate canes and conduct a Cane Parade for parents while their camp counselors give a presentation about the days' activities.

The concurrent workshop topics include the following: "Giving Blind Kids a Chance to Belong in Sports, Recreation, Music, and the Arts"; "Keeping Up With the World: Helping Blind Kids Speed Up and Keep Up"; "Teaching Braille to the Partially Sighted Student: Rationale and Methodology"; "Technology from a Kid's Point of View" (a panel of blind children and youth discussing and demonstrating the technology they use in school); "Beginning Braille for Parents"; and a Drop-in Question and Answer room with videos also available for private or small-group viewing.

Instead of a field trip on Saturday, NFB Camp will operate a special session for children ages 4 or 5 through 12 on the theme, "A Chance to Belong." (Child care will be provided for younger children and babies.) Children will learn how blind people can use alternative techniques—such as Braille and cane travel—so that they can belong just like everyone else. The children will also have fun and learn through music, crafts, games, stories, and discussions. The regular NFB Camp fees apply for this day.

For teens there will be a special baby-sitting course conducted by Carla McQuillan emphasizing behavior management (disciplining children). We also hope to have a segment on specific techniques for working with children with different disabilities. This class will not be a repeat of last year's, so teens who attended the baby-sitting course last year are encouraged to attend this one as well. The fee will be $10, including lunch.

Participants must be between the ages of 12 and 18 to take the course. See page 4 in this issue for more details and a pre- registration form which you may fill out to reserve a space in the class for your teen.

Saturday evening as usual the NOPBC will offer a Family Hospitality Night from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Although we don't have a menu yet, the food and drinks provided last year were such a hit that we guarantee food and drink again this year.

Also Saturday evening will be our annual Teen Convention Orientation and Scavenger Hunt from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. Youth will be able to meet other teens and learn the layout of the hotel through a scavenger hunt, which will include fun prizes and food. Mildred Rivera of Maryland is chairing this activity.

On Sunday, July 5, we will once again sponsor two one-hour sessions of a Cane Walk. From 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. and 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. kids and parents can get a hands-on cane lesson from volunteers in the NFB. Most of the volunteers are blind, experienced cane users, and many work as professional cane travel instructors. Teachers are invited to come and participate too. Also on Sunday afternoon, from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m., teens are invited to a Teen Drop-In Room to socialize, play games, listen to music, or just hang out. Counselors from the Rehabilitation Program of Blind Industries and Services of Maryland (BISM) have volunteered to chaperon and organize activities in the room for that afternoon.

The big event for kids ages 5 to 12 on Monday, July 6, is a field trip to a dude ranch (see Carla McQuillan's section on child care for details). While the kids are off playing, parents can enjoy an afternoon of networking with other parents at the annual meeting of the NOBPC from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.

On Tuesday, July 7, the highly popular IEP Workshop will once again be conducted from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. This year we encourage every state affiliate to send a representative to this workshop to learn about the new IDEA amendments and how they should be implemented through the IEP process.

Finally, on Wednesday, July 8, parents and teachers are encouraged to drop into a Movement and Cane Travel Discussion and Question-and-Answer Session conducted between 2:00 and 5:00 p.m. by Joe Cutter. The format is casual, and participants may drop in anytime and leave when they like. Also on Wednesday afternoon will be two, 1 hour sessions of a hands-on Creating Tactile Materials for Blind Children Workshops (2:00 to 3:30 p.m. and 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.). Instructors are Paul Gabias, Ph.D., and Corinne Vieville, teacher of the blind and visually impaired.

That wraps up the overview of activities sponsored by the NOPBC. There will be many more exciting workshops, committee and division meetings, fund-raising events, dances, and so forth at the 1998 NFB Convention, so come, learn, and enjoy!