Future Reflections Winter/Spring 1990, Vol. 9 No. 1

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sponsored by:
9:00 a.m. - 5:00p.m.
Dallas-Fort Worth Hyatt Regency, Dallas, Texas

Barbara Cheadle, President
Parents of Blind Children Division

There are two kinds of people in work with the blind -- the consumers and the professionals. Although I am a consumer by proxy (which is one way of describing the role of parents of blind children), I didn't start out that way. About six years before I became the mother of a blind child I was a rehabilitation counselor for the adult blind with the Nebraska Services for the Visually Impaired. Fortunately, within my first year as a professional I discovered the National Federation of the Blind. The NFB philosophy about blindness made a lot of good sense to me and, with the help of blind friends and colleagues in the movement, I put it into practice on the job. Later my husband (who was a cane-travel instructor for the blind -- another sighted professional) and I faced the challenge of putting the philosophy into practice as the parents of an adopted blind child.

As the parent of a blind child I have, for the past ten years, been on the consumer side of services to the blind. I have worried, researched, wrangled, compromised, negotiated, and even laughed and rejoiced a few times in my campaign to get the professionals to give my son what he needed (such as Braille). Of course, my husband and I won't have to do this forever. Someday our son, Charles, will fight his own fights. In the meantime, however, we are his advocates in this consumer/professional relationship.

We will be exploring that consumer/professional relationship in depth at the 1990 annual Parents of Blind Children seminar, Saturday, June 30, at the DFW Hyatt Regency in Dallas, Texas. Drawing upon my background as a former professional and my current consumer status as the parent of a blind child, I shall kick-off the agenda with the topic, "Who's in Charge?" Next will come an array of speakers and panels of parents, teachers, administrators, librarians, and blind consumers who will tackle our seminar theme question, "Who are the Professionals and What Should They Do?"

The seminar will begin at 9:00 a.m., but parents who have children participating in the organized children's activities should arrive between 8:00 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. This will give us time to check in the children and get them out of the room before the session begins. Although there will be no fee for the seminar, we will be offering a $30.00 conference packet containing some timely and exciting new literature and materials. I think you will find the packet a real bargain, so be sure to bring your checkbook or some extra cash.

Childcare for infants and preschoolers and organized activities for older children will also be available during the seminar. We have especially fine, large childcare facilities this year. We have many experienced teachers (both blind and sighted) in the Federation, and we are fortunate to have several of them volunteer to take charge of our children's activities on Saturday, June 30. This year Lori Anderson (formerly LeBlanc) and Johnnie Burns will be in charge of the children ages 5 and up. (According to the number of children we have, the children will be spilt up into two or three different age groups and appropriate activities and/or field trips will be planned for each group.)

A teacher when she became blind, Miss Burns decided to go back to school to become a teacher of blind children. Her abilities won for her the top NFB scholarship award in 1989. Mrs. Anderson is a former kindergarten teacher and has been a volunteer coordinator of our seminar children's activities since the 1987 Federation convention in Phoenix. Other dedicated, competent Federationists will be volunteering their time along with Mrs. Anderson and Miss Burns to make sure our children have an enjoyable and profitable day.

There is a $5.00 minimum fee for each child who participates in our organized childcare program and activities on Saturday, June 30. If there is sufficient interest, one of the activities for children ages 9 and up could be a trip to the Six-Flags Amusement Park. The fee for this trip, which would include cost of transportation, a box lunch, and admission to an unlimited number of rides at the park, would be $25 per child. Please let us know on the preregistration form if you are interested in this activity for your child/children. Fill out and mail in the preregistration form along with your check or cash as soon as possible, or by June 1, 1990. Although preregistration is not required, it is strongly recommended for children ages 5 and up for whom special tours or activities have been planned. The preregistration figures will help us plan for adequate volunteer counselors, bus space for trips, sack lunches, etc. We will NOT take more children on an activity than transportation and/or the number of adults we have for supervision will allow, so please assure your child of a spot and preregister.

The 1990 national Parents of Blind Children seminar will be the biggest and best we have ever had. There will be lively and enlightening discussion, debate, and dialogue. There will be a chance to meet people who truly understand you and the problems you face as the parent or the teacher of a blind child. You will have the chance to become part of the National Federation of the Blind network of parents, teachers, and blind adults who-- together--are shaping a future of promise and opportunity for blind children.

Come! Join us in Texas for the best ever National Federation of the Blind annual seminar for parents and teachers of blind children.

(Note: For information about the convention -- rates, how to make reservations, etc. --please see the article "Texas, Here We Come!" in this issue.)

Mail to:
NFB Parents Division
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, Md 21230
For more information, call: (301) 659-9314

Children's Activities and Childcare for Saturday, June 30,1990
Make checks payable to: NFB Parents Division

I wish to preregister_____child/childen at $5.00 per child

Total enclosed: $___

Yes. I will have child/children age(s) 9 or older who would like to go to Six-Flags. If the trip is offered, please credit ___ of the enclosed fee toward this trip.

Please list full name of child/children, age(s), and other pertinent information. Yes. I will have child/children age(s) 9 or older who would like to go to Six-Flags. If the trip is offered, of the enclosed fee toward this trip.

Parent(s) Name(s)__________
Address _________________
State____ Zip_____________
Phone Number(s)__________

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