MAER Conference 2022

REGISTRATION LINK FOR 2023 CONFERENCE WILL GO HERE

2022 Michigan AER Conference

Michigan AER 2022 Annual Conference

REGISTERATION LINK FOR 2023 CONFERENCE WILL GO HERE

We hope you enjoyed the Michigan Chapter of AER’s 2022 Conference. This virtual conference was a place for professionals to share their expertise, effective practices, innovative programs, employment strategies, and research results with their colleagues.

The recorded sessions will be available until high noon May 10th, 2022. For your convenience here is a link to the sign in at the eLearning Portal a AER.

Link to the most up-to-date 2022 Conference Agenda.

Link to the 2022 Conference Program.

Basic Information

  • April 21, 2022
  • 8:15 am – 4:00 pm EST
  • April 22, 2022
  • 8:00 am – 4:30 pm EST
  • Open to all! Online Virtual Conference.

MAER 2022: Reconnecting for All

April 21, 2022—April 22, 2022

REGISTRATION FEES

AER Member – $75

Non-Member – $100

Retiree/Parents – $50

MDE Consortium Student – $0

University Student – $50

Presenter (Attending the conference) – $50

Presenter (not attending the conference) – $0

MDE-LIO Vendor – $0

Non-profit Vendor – $25

For profit Vendor – $125

MAER Board Member – $0

Last day to register is April 14th, 2022

Have Questions?

 Our full conference schedule will be out soon.

Keynote Speakers

John U. Bacon

(Image Description: Headshot of John, he is a man with short light colored hair, wearing a suit with a light blue button down shirt and dark jacket, in front of a tree and building.)

 

New York Times bestselling author John U. Bacon has written twelve books on sports, business, health, and history. 

His newest title, released September 2021, is Let Them Lead: Unexpected Lessons in Leadership from America’s Worst High School Hockey Team.

He free-lances for The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo, and others, appears often on TV, including HBO, ESPN, Fox Business, MSNBC, and the Big Ten Network, and delivers weekly essays for Michigan Radio and occasionally NPR, which awarded him the PRNDI prize for nation’s best commentary in 2014.

Bacon is a popular corporate speaker, executive coach, and leadership consultant, who occasionally teaches at the University of Michigan, where the students awarded him the Golden Apple Award, given to one instructor annually for “Excellence in Teaching.”

Smiling bald man wearing a black suit jacket, grey shirt and dark gray tie.

Chris Downey

(Image Description: Headshot of Chris, he is a man with very short, light colored hair, wearing a suit with a light gray button down and a dark gray jacket.)

 

Chris Downey is an award-winning architect who, in 2008, unexpectedly lost his sight. As profiled in January 2019 by Lesley Stahl on 60 minutes, Chris’ list was transformed, of course, but so was his practice. Today, he helps designers innovate with the disabled in mind, but also makes a strong case that designing for and with the disabled actually improves everyone’s experience. In all of his work, he endeavors to achieve greater access, not only of space and information, but also to “delight.” Chris teaches accessibility and Universal Design at the University of California, Berkeley, serves on the Board of Directors for the LightHouse for the Blind & Visually Impaired and has a gubernatorial appointment to the California Commission on Disability Access.

As one of the few practicing blind architects in the world, Chris has been featured in local, national, and international media stories and speaks regularly about his many “outsights” (aka insights) since losing his sight. He’s graced the TED stage, among so many others, leaving audiences with a sense that silver linings are sometimes made of pure gold.

Presenters

Female with sister locks wearing glasses.

Ann McKay-Bacon

Ann McKay-Bacon, M.Ed., a teacher/consultant for the Visually Impaired and Blind, State of Michigan since 1976. Retired 2019 from Macomb Intermediate School District in Macomb, Michigan. A technology team member with the Michigan Department of Education – Low Incidence Outreach agency for the past 20 years as a presenter, technology evaluator/instructor, and co-author of The Michigan Assistive Technology Guidelines and Assistive Apps list. She was awarded The David & Joann Search Lifetime Achievement Award for a lifetime dedication to serving persons who are blind and visually impaired in Michigan, MAER Conference April 2019. Ann promotes accessible technologies usage for all ages.

 

Pat Love-Sypho

Pat Love-Sypho is an education consultant at the Michigan Department of Education – Low Incidence Outreach (MDE-LIO). She started her career as a teacher of the visually impaired in 1985 and has taught for many years. She currently coordinates the technology team, social skills, and health education. She has taught independent living skills for more than 30 years to students with a visual impairment, their families, professionals, and college students working towards earning a degree in special education. She currently assists with the independent living skills and braille instruction projects at Low Incidence Outreach. Pat has developed curriculums and other materials for teachers and students who are blind or visually impaired. She has presented numerous professional development courses and workshops for teachers, paraprofessionals, parents, and students with visual impairments. 

She has collaborated on projects with Bureau Services for Blind Persons, BSBP, Braille and Talking Book Library for The Blind, National Federation for The Blind, Alt+Shift, and American Council for The Blind.

Julie Lutz, female with glasses wearing a black and white dress.

 Julie Lutz

 

The Updated Michigan AT Guidelines for Teachers of Students who are Blind and VI

The AT Guidelines are for educators teaching the Blind and Visually Impaired to assess, create electronic portfolios, monitoring skill development, and generate IEP goals and objectives. The technology checklists along with suggested teacher activities and assistive apps have been updated and can be utilized with students with additional disabilities.

Mike May

Mike May is Chief Evangelist for Good Maps, Inc., a pedestrian navigation company with an emphasis on accessible navigation for people who are blind or visually impaired including indoor navigation. He was previously Executive Director of the Workforce Innovation Center at Envision in Wichita Kansas, CEO of the Lighthouse for the Blind in Seattle and CEO/Founder of Sendero Group, makers of accessible navigation products. 

Mike May has been a pioneer in new product and business development since 1980. He worked for the Central Intelligence Agency as a Political Risk Analyst, for the Bank of California in automating wire transfers and cash machines and for TRW starting a new business area. Mike’s start-up ventures have included developing the world’s first and only Laser Turntable, inventing a portable heating cushion for sports and medical applications and starting 2 companies in adaptive technology.

Mike May has a Masters’ degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Coker College, SC.

Mike has met five Presidents including President Obama and several of his cabinet members to discuss national initiatives on adaptive technology. He was a member of the White House delegation to the 2010 Paralympics and has been inducted into the US Association of the Blind Hall of Fame for his skiing exploits including the downhill speed skiing record for a totally blind person of 65 MPH. He is the subject of the best selling book Crashing Through by, Robert Kurson with a movie in the works. For more information about Mike May, go to http://www.GoodMaps.com or http://www.CrashingThrough.com

 

Leslie Johnson

Leslie Johnson is the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD) Assistant Director, leading the Assistive Technology Center at Michigan State University. She has been at RCPD since February 2016. In her role at RCPD, Leslie works with MSU students and staff with disabilities to assess their needs for technology, determine assistive technology solutions, provide assistive technology training and support, as well as staying on top of technology trends and bringing innovative technology to MSU. Leslie also serves on several committees at MSU that focus on advancing accessibility and growing awareness to make MSU accessible for all. Leslie believes technology is an important tool for all, but even more so for people with disabilities. Assistive Technology empowers people with disabilities and maximizes ability and opportunity for full inclusion in education, work, and overall life success.

Picture of a smiling woman with long brown hear wearing a black top in front of a white backdrop.

Evelyn Tichenor

Making Campus Easier to Navigate with Accessible Navigation Technology

New blind students often receive only basic orientation and mobility. This is likely not to be repeated each semester when their class schedule and navigation changes. Some apps address rough outdoor navigation. GoodMaps offers an accurate campus indoor/outdoor experience where installed. Learn about apps that provide this essential wayfinding service so students can navigate confidently and independently throughout their college journey. Here from Mike May and Leslie Johnson how having the navigation is useful for all students on campus at Michigan State University.

Elyse Connors headshot

Elyse Connors

Elyse Connors, PhD, CVRT, COMS, is an associate professor in the Blindness and Low Vision Department at WMU, and coordinates the VRT masters program. Her areas of research include job tasks of VRTs, safer medication management for persons with vision loss, and assessment.

 

Sarahelizabeth Baguhn

Sarahelizabeth Baguhn, PhD has taught Assistive Technology skills for a public-school district and to adults in the community as a private contractor. She holds ACVREP’s CATIS & COMS as well as a Wisconsin TVI license. At Western Michigan University she teaches courses in AT, braille, and O&M as well as coordinating the AT certificate program. Dr. Baguhn serves on the board of directors for the Michigan Blind Athletic Association, the subject matter expert committee for Assistive Technology with ACVREP, as well as the ACVREP advisory council for Audio Description.

 

Smiling bald man with a grey goatee wearing a black suit jacket, blue shirt and patterned brown tie.

Joe Todd

(Image Description: Headshot of Joe, he is a man with a gray goatee, he is wearing a light blue button down shirt with a dark jacket and multi colored tie).

 

Dr. Joe Todd is a Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist. His education includes an Applied Arts and Sciences degree in Respiratory Therapy, a bachelor’s degree from Dallas Baptist University, a Doctor of Chiropractic degree, and a Master of Arts in Vision Rehabilitation Therapy from Western Michigan University. Dr. Todd provides assessments and training in accessibility technology for the Michigan Bureau of Services for Blind Persons and the Michigan Department of Education Low Incidence Outreach program. His experience ranges from many types of devices such as refreshable braille displays to digital players and iOS devices.

 

Working Side by Side, VRT and CATIS

Like other VI specialists under the blind rehabilitation umbrella, VRTs and CATIS professionals have separate but intersecting scopes of practice. This session seeks to help define the two specialties and suggest practices to help them work together, to best serve clients.

Thomas Strasz

(Image Description: Photo of Thomas, a man with a dark beard wearing a Leader Dog Team Member polo leans against a tree smiling.)

 

Thomas is a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist at Leader Dogs for the Blind. He graduated from Western Michigan University with his Master of Arts in Orientation and Mobility for Children in 2019. He has a Bachelor of Arts from The University of Detroit Mercy where he studied Legal Administration and English.

 

A woman with short hair, wearing a Leader Dog Team Member sweater smiles at the camera.

Erica Ihrke

(Image Description: Headshot of Erica, a woman with short hair, wearing a Leader Dog Team Member sweater smiles at the camera.)

 

Erica is the Manager of Extended Services at Leader Dogs for the Blind and a Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialist. She has been employed at Leader Dog since 1998. She has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Central Michigan University and Master of Arts in Orientation & Mobility from Western Michigan University. Erica is a past-president of the Michigan Chapter of AER and currently the co-chair of the ACVREP O&M Subject Matter Expert Committee.

 

Outside of the Box O&M Lessons

Whether it is dealing with virtual instruction, inclement weather, or unique learning styles, we are challenged to maintain engagement while meeting learning objectives. This session will cover the collaborative process used to develop an escape room, cane obstacle course, and more.

Jason Hunt

(Image Description: Headshot of Jason, tall man with brown hair, light skin, slight goatee, and big smile.)

 

Jason makes it easier for people to like and follow their leaders. He is the CEO of Eye Squared Leadership and he has had the pleasure of working with companies large and small. Jason’s first major leadership role was to run a branch of 100 church members in outer Siberia when he was 19. Since then, he has served in a number of leadership positions, including principal of a school. He has a master’s degree in leadership, is certified by the John Maxwell Leadership Institute, and is the author of The Other Side: 5 Rules for Leading with Influence.

 

 Everyone Communicates, Few Connect

Whether you work mostly one on one, in small groups, or with large audiences, connecting with others is a major determining factor in determining your success. Unfortunately, most people do it wrong. Create deeper connections by asking smart questions, become a ridiculously exceptional listener, and letting your authenticity shine.

Lotfi B. Merabet

(Image Description: Headshot of Lotfi, a man with brown heard wearing a suit and smiling.)

 

Lotfi Merabet is a clinician-scientist investigating how the brain adapts to visual impairment. He completed his doctorate degree in neuroscience (University of Montréal) and clinical doctorate in optometry (New England College of Optometry). He then continued his post-doctoral training at Harvard Medical School, Boston University, and the MGH Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging. This was followed by a Master’s degree in Public Health (Harvard). In 2010, he joined the clinical and research faculty of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear and his work is currently supported by the NIH/National Eye Institute. He also serves on the Education and CVI Steering Committees of the Perkins School for the Blind, and is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Carroll Center for the Blind and the National Braille Press.

 

Assessing Visual Processing Deficits in Cerebral Visual Impairment (CVI) Using Virtual Reality and Brain Imaging

Cerebral (cortical) visual impairment (CVI) is the leading cause of pediatric visual impairment in developed countries. Despite this clear public health concern, our understanding of the functional visual profile and underlying neurophysiology of this condition remain poorly understood. In the setting of early neurological injury, children with CVI typically show deficits associated with higher order visuospatial processing such as finding a target of interest within a complex scene. Beyond standard ophthalmic testing, it remains unknown how manipulating task demands and other environmental factors influence visual search performance in this population. To address this gap, we have developed a series of novel and naturalistic virtual reality (VR) based search tasks combined with eye tracking. We find that CVI is associated with decreased search efficiency and worsening performance with increased visual task demands when compared to neurotypical controls. Finally, neuroimaging using diffusion based techniques has shown that CVI is associated with a dramatic alteration in white matter connectivity, particularly with respect to visual pathways implicated with the dorsal (i.e. spatial) visual processing stream. This novel VR based approach allows for the assessment of visuospatial abilities in CVI with a high degree of behavioral relevance, ecological validity, and participant engagement, and may also have important clinical applications in assessing environmental factors that affect functional visual processing in CVI.

Roxanne smiling wearing a purple shirt with overlaying necklaces. She has long blonde hair.

Roxanne Balfour

(Image Description: Headshot of Roxanne, she is a woman with light colored long hair, and wearing a purple shirt.)

 

Roxanne is the Director for the Michigan Department of Education, Low Incidence Outreach (MDE, LIO). She has worked for MDE, Office of Special Education (OSE) over 20 years, including 8 years at Low Incidence Outreach. At MDE, OSE she was involved in grant management, program development, and policy, finance/business operations, and special education credentialing. She is a member of the Association of Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired and the Council of Schools and Services for the Blind. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University and master’s degree from Grand Valley State University.

 

A smiling woman wearing a black top sitting in front of a white background.

Johanna Brutvan

(Image Description: Headshot of Johanna, she is a woman with shoulder length straight brown hair, and is wearing a black shirt.)

 

Johanna is an Education Consultant for the Michigan Department of Education- Low Incidence Outreach (MDELIO). Brutvan holds degrees in elementary education, visual impairment, curriculum development and early childhood. She is also a Perkins-Roman Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) Endorsed Specialist since 2017. She served as president and board member of the Michigan Association of Education and Rehabilitation of Blind and Visually Impaired (MAER) from 2014-2018. Prior to working at MDELIO Brutvan worked a teacher consultant for the visually impaired for 16 years in the metro Detroit area serving students from birth to 26.

 

A smiling woman with short blonde hair wearing a black top sitting in a white chair in front of a white wall.

Beth Brabbs

(Image Description: Headshot of Beth, she is a woman with blond hair, cut in a bob, and is wearing a black shirt while seated in a chair.)

 

Beth is an Education Consultant for Michigan Department of Education–Low Incidence Outreach (MDE-LIO) with more than 30 years of experience in the field of visual impairment. Brabbs earned her Bachelor of Science degree in education with an endorsement in Blind/Visually Impaired from Eastern Michigan University. She also earned a Master of Arts degree in orientation and mobility (O&M) from Western Michigan University. Brabbs is certified to teach students with blindness and visual impairment in Michigan and is an ACVREP certified O&M Specialist. Before joining MDE-LIO in 2021, she taught in Maryland and Southeast Michigan.

 

Picture of a smiling Amanda with shoulder length straight brown hair, wearing green rimmed glasses, a blue shirt and a black sweater.

Amanda English

(Image Description: Headshot of Amanda, she is a woman with dark brown shoulder length hair, wearing a black jacket.)

 

Amanda is an Education Consultant for the Michigan Department of Education-Low Incidence Outreach (MDE-LIO). Prior to working for MDE-LIO, Amanda served as a Teacher Consultant for Visually Impaired and Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist in Kalamazoo, MI, for 20 years. She is also a Perkins-Roman Endorsed Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) Specialist and an independent living skills (ILS) trainer. She was a 2011 recipient of the National Association of Special Education Teachers: Outstanding Teacher Award and was the 2019 MAER president. Amanda holds a Master’s degree from Western Michigan University and is currently pursuing a doctorate in Educational Leadership through Capella University.

 

Amy Shepherd smiling standing in a forest wearing shoulder length brown hair and a pink sweater paired with a dark blue top.

Amy Shepherd

(Image Description: Headshot of Amy, she is a woman should length brown hair, wearing a blue shirt with a light purple sweater, standing in front of a tree.)

Amy Shepherd is the Michigan Department of Education Low Incidence Outreach (MDE-LIO) Parent Liaison. She is also an Expert Substitute Teacher for the Washtenaw Intermediate School District (WISD) Teachers for the Visually Impaired team. Shepherd has a Masters in Elementary Education from Northwestern University and is a Perkins Roman CVI Range Endorsee. Shepherd was the President of the Michigan Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (MPVI) for six years and has held numerous non-profit board positions. She was awarded the MAER Award for Outstanding Contributions for Serving Persons in Michigan Who are Blind and Visually Impaired in 2016.

 

Pat Love-Sypho

Pat Love-Sypho is an education consultant at the Michigan Department of Education – Low Incidence Outreach (MDE-LIO). She started her career as a teacher of the visually impaired in 1985 and has taught for many years. She currently coordinates the technology team, social skills, and health education. She has taught independent living skills for more than 30 years to students with a visual impairment, their families, professionals, and college students working towards earning a degree in special education. She currently assists with the independent living skills and braille instruction projects at Low Incidence Outreach. Pat has developed curriculums and other materials for teachers and students who are blind or visually impaired. She has presented numerous professional development courses and workshops for teachers, paraprofessionals, parents, and students with visual impairments. 

She has collaborated on projects with Bureau Services for Blind Persons, BSBP, Braille and Talking Book Library for The Blind, National Federation for The Blind, Alt+Shift, and American Council for The Blind.

 

What VI Field Should Know about LIO – Updates on VI Rule, Guidance Documents, and Future Plans

Join LIO during this interactive lecture and panel discussion to address implementation of the new VI rule, the upcoming Michigan Mandatory Special Education work for 0-3, and other guidance documents that will affect the work around students who are Blind/Visually Impaired. Learn about our upcoming library management system. Engage in conversation about students’ needs in the arears of assessment, braille, ILS, and assistive technology. Gain information on the support team for new teachers and O&Ms, and LIO’s plans for future endeavors.

Picture of a female with blue eyes and grey shoulder length hair smiling at the camera.

Marjie Wood

(Image Description: Headshot of Marjie, she is a woman with long gray hair, wearing a white turtle neck shirt and a checkered jacket)

 

Marjie has worked in the field for over 45 years, both as an O&M Specialist and TCVI. My current role is partnering with parents of children from 0-5, those with low vision, and those with additional needs. My goal is to give parents the skills they need to be more interactive with, supportive of and better able to advocate for their child’s O&M development as a student and a more enriched life as an adult.

 

Female, with shoulder length curly hair and blue eyes, with her head slightly tilted to the side and a closed mouth smile

June Allision

(Image Description: Headshot of June, she is a woman with short curly brown hair and a gray collared shirt.)

 

June is the mother of Caeden, a 3 year old with Cortical Visual Impairment and Cerebral Palsy, who has been using the PBC for over a year and is in the process of transitioning to a long cane. I also hold a Bachelor of Science in Special Education General and Adaptive curriculum with a concentration in Reading. I have been teaching High School Extended Content Standards for the past 7 years.

 

Geri Darko

(Image Description: Headshot of of Geri, she is a woman with long, light brown hair, wearing a black shirt.)

 

Geri has taught at the MT School for the Deaf and the Blind for 20 years; 11 of those as the on-campus O&M specialist. I am currently teaching elementary Special Education at Centerville School.

 

A woman in her early 30s smiling at the camera with dirty blonde hair and blue eyes.

Danika Dunlap

(Image Description: Headshot of Danika, she is a woman with brown hair pulled back into a pony tail, wearing a pink and gray striped shirt.)

 

Danika has been an O&M Specialist for a school district near San Antonio, Texas for the past 6 years. Recently began working with 3 students using the PBC including a pre-walking toddler and two who still rely on their walker. Currently enrolled in the WMU program to complete a masters degree in VRT.

 

Blanche Faulk

(Image Description: Headshot of Blanche, she is a woman with long black hair, wearing a white shirt).

 

Blance has worked at Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired for 15 years. Currently serving as the Outreach Director. Prior to working at LSVI, I worked at Affiliated Blind of Louisiana (ABL) as an intern and worked for 3 years as a Home and Personal Management Instructor and COMS.

 

Adventures of the Belt Cane

ABC’s of the belt cane. Learn about the ups and downs of a belt cane, how and when to use it and transitioning to a long cane. A is for Apprehension. Z is for zooming to the next steps of independence. Learn about the other letters that make up the adventures in the belt cane.

Dawn Anderson

(Image Description: Headshot of Dawn, she is a woman with short light colored, glasses, and wearing a black button down shirt.)

 

Dawn Anderson PhD, is an associate professor at WMU, she coordinates the TCVI, and O&M with Children’s graduate programs. She is the PI for an OSEP Stepping Up to Technology grant; CVI Training for Effective Teaching of Students with Visual Impairment. She has completed research in the areas of assessment validation and reliability testing, literacy and math instruction and the efficacy of O&M, image description for math instruction and Echoidentification.

 

 Framework for Learning Media Assessment

Share the story of the Delphi study that resulted in the creation of a new valid framework for conducting a Learning Media Assessment. A group of experts in the area of LMA participated. Test developers and assessors can use the resulting valid framework for LMA.

Dan Mitchell

(Image Description: Headshot of Dan, he is a white Male with black glasses, wearing a charcoal pin stripe suit, silver shirt, and white/black/silver tie.)

 

Dan Mitchell is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor/Vision Rehabilitation Therapist for The Bureau of Services for Blind Persons working out of The West Region for the past 9 years. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Behavior Analysis (2007), and Dual Master of Arts Degree in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling/Vision Rehabilitation Therapy (2011) from Western Michigan University. He grew up and currently resides in Grand Rapids, MI. He enjoys spending time with his son, watching sports, and traveling.

 

“What Are My Options?” Assisting Students Career Decision Making Using The Career Index Plus

The presentation provides information for The Career Index Plus Resource Tool, comprehensive career information system includes current openings, data/statistics on job salaries, labor market data, educational requirements, and work experience. Information will include how this relates to the student’s post-secondary aspirations through a real-life scenario.

Tesia is a white woman with shoulder length brown hair wearing glasses. She is pictured smiling, wearing a black sweater, with leaves and trees in the background.

Tesia Freer

(Image Description: Headshot of Tesia, she is a white woman with shoulder length brown hair wearing glasses. She is pictured smiling, wearing a black sweater, with leaves and trees in the background.)

 

Tesia is the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD) Ability Access Specialist for Blindness and Visual Impairment at Michigan State University. Her primary responsibilities include working with faculty, staff, and students with visual impairments needing employment and academic accommodations. Tesia is a Western Michigan University alumni with a bachelors in speech pathology (2013) and a masters in vision rehabilitation therapy (2015). Prior to coming to MSU, she worked as a blind rehabilitation specialist at the Cleveland VA Medical Center where she taught daily living skills and access technology to blind and visually impaired Veterans.

 

Leslie Johnson

Leslie Johnson is the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD) Assistant Director, leading the Assistive Technology Center at Michigan State University. She has been at RCPD since February 2016. In her role at RCPD, Leslie works with MSU students and staff with disabilities to assess their needs for technology, determine assistive technology solutions, provide assistive technology training and support, as well as staying on top of technology trends and bringing innovative technology to MSU. Leslie also serves on several committees at MSU that focus on advancing accessibility and growing awareness to make MSU accessible for all. Leslie believes technology is an important tool for all, but even more so for people with disabilities. Assistive Technology empowers people with disabilities and maximizes ability and opportunity for full inclusion in education, work, and overall life success.

 

Ready for College – Tools for Success

There are many differences between high school and college. To better prepare, students should be made aware of technologies used in college, differences in accommodations between high school and college, and how to select the right college to best meet their needs.

A smiling man with short read hair wearing a dark blue suit jacket, light blue tie, and a pink shirt.

Marty Schultz

(Image Description: Headshot of Marty, he is a man with short brown hair, wearing a dark blue suit with a light purple shirt and a light blue tie.)

 

Marty is a cofounder of ObjectiveEd, which builds reinforcement digital curriculum for BVI students to reinforce the skills taught by their TVIs and O&Ms. He has coordinated several NIH and HHS grants for developing products for BVI students. ObjectiveEd products are used in hundreds of school districts, including some of the largest districts in the country and schools for the blind. He has degrees from Carnegie-Mellon University and Harvard Business School.

 

Photo of a smiling mad with brown hair wearing a dark gray suit jacket, light blue button down shirt and red tie.

Jason Stewart

(Image Description: Headshot of Jason, he is a man with short dark brown hair, wearing a gray suit with a blue shirt and a red tie.)

 

Jason is Director of Customer Success for ObjectiveEd. He is a former teacher, educational diagnostician, and district level administrator with over 20 years of educational experience. His passion for education is now focused on helping students achieve their best educational outcomes through educational technology. Jason has a Masters in Special Education from the University of Texas at Tyler.

 

 Practice What You Teach: How ObjectiveEd’s Reinforcement Learning System Improves Student Outcomes

You spend months helping your student master an IEP goal, only to discover months later that the student’s use of the skill has deteriorated. Learn how you can use ObjectiveEd’s gamified Reinforcement Learning System to reduce skill fade and improve your student’s outcomes in O&M, A.T., Braille Literacy and pre-ETS.

I am a woman with short dark hair wearing a red, V-neck shirt, diamond heart necklace, and hooped earrings in front of a background of teal and purple puzzle pieces.

Leanne Grillot

(Image Description: Headshot of Leanne, she is a woman with short dark hair wearing a red, V-neck shirt, diamond heart necklace, and hooped earrings in front of a background of teal and purple puzzle pieces.)

 

Leanne is the National Director of Outreach Services for the American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. This position directs the operations of APH’s Outreach Services Department, which provides consultation, support, and other services to Ex Officio Trustees, professionals in the field of vision, families of people who are visually impaired, and consumers. Outreach Services links APH with educational practice in the field of vision and promotes sound models of best practice.

 

Middle age white woman with long blond hair smiling into the camera, wearing a dark blue shirt with white leaf pattern.

Erika Fundelious

(Image Description: Headshot of Erika, she is a woman with long medium brown hair wearing a blue button down shirt with flowers in front of a green background.)

 

Erika is a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TSVI) and a certified mobility specialist (COMS). She is a full-time doctoral student at Florida State University with an emphasis on visual disabilities. Her main interest is the self-determination area of ECC and how it is essential for student success and for long-term quality of life. She is currently an instructor of undergraduate students both in the visual disabilities program and within the College of Education.

 

 Building Skills to Success

Stressing the integration of work skills and behaviors into everyday activities at home, at school, and in the community, these important capabilities can be developed through meaningful learning experiences at different ages. Learn ways to build the abilities of preschoolers, elementary school students, and middle school students which lead to career and life satisfaction. In addition, we will address career exploration for students and clients, encouraging them to go into their communities to learn about the many career options available to them.

Dawn Anderson

(Image Description: Headshot of Dawn, she is a woman with short light colored, glasses, and wearing a black button down shirt.)

 

Dawn Anderson PhD, is an associate professor at WMU, she coordinates the TCVI, and O&M with Children’s graduate programs. She is the PI for an OSEP Stepping Up to Technology grant; CVI Training for Effective Teaching of Students with Visual Impairment. She has completed research in the areas of assessment validation and reliability testing, literacy and math instruction and the efficacy of O&M, image description for math instruction and Echoidentification.

 

Rob Wall-Emerson

(Image Description: Headshot of Rob, he is a man with a brown and gray goatee and short dark brown hair. He is wearing a gray zip up sweater.)

 

Orientation and Mobility with Students who have Neurological Visual Impairment

Overview of NVI and what impacts students may be experiencing during O&M lessons. We will look at a variety of environments and talk about how to improve travel within each. We will also talk about the types of sensory and other stressors that may influence a student’s visual functioning.

A woman with long dark brown hair, green eyes, light complexion, and wearing a dark green blouse.

Leslie Hoskins

(Image Description: Headshot of Leslie, she is a woman with long dark brown hair, green eyes, light complexion, and wearing a dark green blouse.)

 

Leslie is a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS) and the Outreach Services and Community Engagement Manager at Leader Dogs for the Blind. She joined the O&M team at Leader Dog in March of 2014 and worked as the Camp Director and a COMS for 6 years before she transitioned to Outreach Services in January of 2020. Leslie attended Western Michigan University where she graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology and a Master of Arts in Orientation and Mobility.

 

A man with brown hair combed backwards, blue eyes, light complexion, and a faint goatee wearing a blue, Leader Dogs for the Blind collared shirt.

Garret Waldie

(Image Description: Headshot of Garret, he is a man with brown hair combed backwards, blue eyes, light complexion, and a faint goatee wearing a blue, Leader Dogs for the Blind collared shirt.)

 

Garret is a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS) at Leader Dogs for the Blind. He joined the Leader Dog team in June of 2020 after being drawn to Leader Dog for their supportive O&M team, community outreach opportunities and all-around positive energy. Garret completed his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Saginaw State University and a Master of Arts in Orientation and Mobility from Western Michigan University. Garret completed his internship at BOSMA in Indiana and was contracting with the state of Michigan prior to Leader Dog.

 

 Guide Dogs 101

During the presentation participants will learn the lifecycle of a Leader Dog and the formal training phases through video and discussion. Participants will leave with an understanding of common vocabulary in the guide dog field along with the required skills to be accepted and successful with a guide dog.

Scott Hegle

  APH and the Classroom: An Overview of Five APH Products

APH has been a strong advocate of Braille and Low Vision products. With Chameleon and Mantis for Braille users and Juno, Jupiter, and MATT Connect for low vision students, APH has everything needed for the Assistive tech needs of your student.

A White woman with dark blonde, curly shoulder-length hair wearing glasses smiles at the camera.

Beth Kennedy

(Image Description: Headshot of Beth, she is a woman with medium length light colored curly hair, wearing glasses and a gray zip sweater.)

 

Beth Kennedy is the Project Director for DeafBlind Central: Michigan’s Training & Resource Project. Beth has worked in the field of deafblindness for thirty years. She trained as a Teacher of the DeafBlind at Boston College and worked for several years at Perkins School for the Blind in the DeafBlind Department. Beth recently completed her PhD in Educational Leadership at Central Michigan University.

 

Who Should Be Registered with DB Central and Why?

DB Central maintains the census of children and young adults who are deafblind for Michigan. Do people need to be blind and profoundly deaf? No. Do people have to have DeafBlind eligibility? No. Why should someone be registered? Log in and let me explain.

An older gentleman, with wire frame glasses and dressed in a tuxedo, stand facing the camera with his hands folded in front of him.

Henry Tyszka

(Image Description: Headshot of Henry, he is an older gentleman, with wire frame glasses and dressed in a tuxedo, stand facing the camera with his hands folded in front of him.)

 

Dr. Tyszka recently completed his Ph.D. The focus of his dissertation was an inquiry into the relationship between blind and visually impaired individuals and suicide.  His career centered around special education including a residential school for the blind teaching auto-mechanics and over twenty years teaching in a center-based program for students with autism.
Dr. Tyszka is bi-lingual in French and still learns from seven years of development experiences in francophone Africa orientated towards education.

 

 A Look at the Stress Factors that May Present a Suicide Risk and the Protective Factors that were Generated to Counter that Risk of Twenty Blind and Visually Impaired Individuals

The B/VI suicide rate is virtually unknown as data is extremely rare. This study found stressors to which the B/VI have a heightened susceptibility as well as protective factors that are generated to compensate for the increased risk.

Picture of a smiling Amanda with shoulder length straight brown hair, wearing green rimmed glasses, a blue shirt and a black sweater.

Amanda English

(Image Description: Headshot of Amanda, she is a woman with dark brown shoulder length hair, wearing a black jacket.)

 

Amanda is an Education Consultant for the Michigan Department of Education-Low Incidence Outreach (MDE-LIO). Prior to working for MDE-LIO, Amanda served as a Teacher Consultant for Visually Impaired and Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist in Kalamazoo, MI, for 20 years. She is a Perkins-Roman Endorsed Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) Specialist and an independent living skills (ILS) trainer. She was a 2011 recipient of the National Association of Special Education Teachers: Outstanding Teacher Award and was the 2019 Michigan AER president. Amanda is currently pursuing a doctorate in Educational Leadership through Capella University.

 

Abby Koroma is a Teacher for the Visually Impaired and COMS with Kalamazoo RESA. She is pictured smiling with long wavy brown hair wearing a gray shirt in front of a gray background..

Abby Koroma

(Image Description: Headshot of Abby, she is a woman with long light brown curly hair, wearing a gray shirt.)

 

Abby is a Special Education Teacher of the Visually Impaired and Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist with the Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency. This is her third year in the field, graduating from Western Michigan University in 2019. She worked with Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind from 2012-2014, helped launch a live audio description program at the Kalamazoo Civic Theater in 2019, and is a member of the Orientation and Mobility Specialist Association. She is passionate about learning alongside her students as they increase their independence in all areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum.

 

The Independent Living Skills (ILS) Modules: Resources to Build Your Skills

The ILS Modules provide you with materials necessary for beginning an ILS program. You will gain resources for helping people who are Blind/Visually Impaired learn life-skills. ILS is part of the expanded core curriculum and includes cooking, cleaning, dressing, hygiene, and more. These skills are essential for any student’s future success!

A smiling woman with long brown hear wearing a black shirt in front of a white background.

Johanna Brutvan

(Image Description: Headshot of Johanna, she is a woman with shoulder length straight brown hair, and is wearing a black shirt.)

 

Johanna is an Education Consultant for the Michigan Department of Education- Low Incidence Outreach (MDELIO). Brutvan holds degrees in elementary education, visual impairment, curriculum development and early childhood. She is also a Perkins-Roman Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) Endorsed Specialist since 2017. She served as president and board member of the Michigan Association of Education and Rehabilitation of Blind and Visually Impaired (MAER) from 2014-2018. Prior to working at MDELIO Brutvan worked a teacher consultant for the visually impaired for 16 years in the metro Detroit area serving students from birth to 26.

 

A smiling woman with short blonde hair wearing a black top sitting in a white chair in front of a white wall.

Beth Brabbs

(Image Description: Headshot of Beth, she is a woman with blond hair, cut in a bob, and is wearing a black shirt while seated in a chair.)

 

Beth is an Education Consultant for Michigan Department of Education–Low Incidence Outreach (MDE-LIO) with more than 30 years of experience in the field of visual impairment. Brabbs earned her Bachelor of Science degree in education with an endorsement in Blind/Visually Impaired from Eastern Michigan University. She also earned a Master of Arts degree in orientation and mobility (O&M) from Western Michigan University. Brabbs is certified to teach students with blindness and visual impairment in Michigan and is an ACVREP certified O&M Specialist. Before joining MDE-LIO in 2021, she taught in Maryland and Southeast Michigan.

 

Creating a Solid Foundation: Working with Infants and Toddlers who are Blind/Visually Impaired

Early detection and intervention is crucial to the development of infants and toddlers who are BVl. During this session learn about specialized instruction, assessment, and skills for Orientation and Mobility (O&M) when working with young children who are BVI. Information will be given about eye conditions including those with neurological visual impairments.