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2021 KAER Professional Development Conference Today, Tomorrow, Together

March 3, 2021 @ 9:00 am - 5:30 pm EST

Register Here: https://forms.gle/MGS1GEWgxwze9ia47
Schedule of Events:

9:00 am
– Welcome; logistics

9:15 am Opening Session (1.50 CEUs)
An Update on Evaluation and Treatment for CVI in 2021
Dr. Terry Schwartz and Karen Harpster, PhD, OTR/L  
The presenters will discuss current methods for screening and assessment of functional vision in children with CVI. Participants will learn the components needed to make a diagnosis of CVI and describe the importance of early detection and intervention.
Additionally, current intervention strategies for individuals with CVI will be reviewed. Participants will understand the importance of a multi-disciplinary approach to evaluation and intervention for children with CVI including both the medical and the educational teams.

10:00 am Breakouts
 (1.25 CEUs)
Pandemic Successes: Shared Experiences in Virtual & Face to Face Settings
Erica Ihrke, COMS and Kristy Plesscher, COMS
This session will cover the processes considered for virtualizing a one-week summer camp with concentration in areas of O&M, leadership and social opportunity for teens with a visual impairment. Additionally, presenters will share lessons learned in the execution of the camp and ideas for future implementation of virtual learning to reach a wider audience of learners. Lastly, the session will cover working with clients in O&M face to face lessons during the pandemic and the protocols that were successful.

New and Emerging Technology

Sam Seavey
In this presentation, we will be taking a look at new and emerging technology in the blind and visually impaired world. We will also discuss using social media as a resource for learning about new technology.

11:30 Breakouts
 (1.25 CEUs)
A Collaborative Approach to Mobility
Leslie Hoskins, COMS and Thomas Strasz, COMS
The number of people who are blind or visually impaired continues to grow and with it the number of people not receiving services. Caseloads continue to increase as budgeting and available services dwindle. Learn about the free services Leader Dog for the Blind has to offer and how together we can collaborate to serve more. Leader Dog’s unique delivery of orientation and mobility will be discussed as well as how to identify individuals who would benefit from Leader Dog services. 

Make More Braille and Graphics with PixBlaster and PageBlaster

William Freeman
This presentation will focus on the PixBlaster and PageBlaster embossers. We will go over their features and differences, how to hook them up, and how to utilize the software that comes with each. Please bring your questions!

12:45 lunch

1:30 Breakouts
 (1.25 CEUs)
Lilli Nielsen’s Active Learning for Learners with Complex Needs
Christine Spratling
Lilli Nielsen’s Active Learning approach was developed for children with visual impairment and additional disabilities and is based on the tenet that children learn best by active participation. Active Learning emphasizes creating an enriched environment that encourages independent exploration.
Many children with visual impairments and additional disabilities also have Cortical/Cerebral Visual Impairment (CVI). Children with CVI have difficulty making sense of visual information. Learning environments for these children must be uncluttered and quiet in order for the brain to learn to see. Active Learning environments are often “visually busy” and contraindicated for individuals with CVI. But for many children, the combination of CVI strategies and CVI strategies can improve both vision and engagement with the world.

Leveling the Educational Playing Field Through APH Products and Services for Students with Visual Impairments

Leanne Grillot and Amy Campbell
Ensuring students have access to instructional materials is the apex of APH’s mission. While the provision of products assists to meet this goal, APH’s services offers much to the educational field. Attend this session and learn about APH products that support access to both core and expanded core curriculum instruction. In addition, discover how APH services can help strengthen all educators working with students who have visual impairments. 

3:00 pm Breakouts 
(1.25 CEUs)
Creating Mealtime Routines for Infants and Toddlers Who are Visually Impaired
Cathy Smyth, Ph.D.
The Mealtime Routine Visual Impairment (MRVI) Intervention project was created to guide and change early intervention (EI) practitioner knowledge and skills about the development of appropriate routines and skills to foster independent eating in young children with visual impairment. Research documents that adults who foster a nurturing social relationship at mealtime are participating in critical activities that prepare a child’s early developing brain for future academic skills (Center for the Developing Child, 2010). Monthly videos provided a unique opportunity to observe and understand what works and what is needed to support caregivers with family-centered strategies during this important daily routine. Results from five studies are now available to inform needed training and strategies to support families with infants and toddlers who have visual impairment.

“When I Grow Up…”: Methods and Resources to Assist People who are Blind or Visually Impaired of All Ages with Setting Realistic Job Goals and Achieving a Meaningful Career

Kelsey Thompson, MHA, MS, CRC, LCPC
Individuals who are blind or visually impaired face significant barriers to employment resulting in the unfortunate statistics that have become all too familiar to those of us working in the field of rehabilitation. These barriers include lack of early work experiences and limited exposure to job information and role models. In this session, we will investigate resources that can help job-seekers to explore the world of work and to enhance their appreciation of their own strengths, needs, abilities and preferences. In the context of the rehabilitation planning process, we will consider the role of the vocational evaluation, interest inventories, academic experiences, volunteer experience and mentors in empowering individuals who are blind or visually impaired toward career success.  

4:30 pm Closing session
 (1.00 CEUs)
Do You See What I See?
Bria Byrd
Let’s face it, everyone is different, some of us have a disability and it’s all in how we view it. Is it a disability or a special superpower? Being non-judgmental of people who are different from you, seeing a person’s ability in spite of their disability. I will motivate and inspire the audience as I share what it’s like to have vision in one eye (Amblyopia), the important role VIPS (Visually Impaired Pre-School) plays in Kentucky and what it means to be an ambassador for VIPS.

5:30 pm Closing remarks


March 3, 2021
9:00 am - 5:30 pm EST