Many people often ask how can I find out what's going on and learn about stuff related to blindness/vision loss? In this post we'll highlight a few that occur around this time each year.
in the U.S., July is often referred to as the convention season. This is because the two major blindness consumer organizations, National Federation Of The Blind, (NFB) AND American Council Of The Blind, (ACB) have their conventions in early July. NFB has just completed theirs, running from July 3-8, while the ACB convention is happening now running from July 8-16. Want to listen live? There is a live stream available on ACB Radio. Go to
Both organizations have a convention twitter feed where you can get up to the minute info while the convention is running. For ACB use the hashtag #acb11, and if you want to see what went on at the NFB convention check out #nfb11.
both organizations are very committed to advocating on issues that matter to blind people and they are political in nature. These consumer lead organizations actively lobby congress on behalf of their members. And speaking of members, just like any political party, one becomes a member of the organization that best represents their views and philosophy on blindness.
You do not need to be a U.S. citizen to attend either of these conventions and I encourage you to do so if you ever have the chance.
To learn more about these organizations check out the following links.
www.nfb.org and www.acb.org.
From across the pond we have Sight Village. This expo is equivalent to CSUN (California State University Centre On disabilities) conference in the U.S that takes place usually mid-March each year, accept next year it is February, go figure. But I digress, here is an excerpt from the sight Village page outlining this year's expo. A note for screen reader users, in the following excerpt, QAC (pronounced KAK by many screen readers) stands for Queen Alexander College where sight village is being hosted.
QAC Sight Village has been described as *"the premier exhibition for blind and partially-sighted people in the UK" and as **"the country's leading expo of access tech solutions". Each July thousands of visitors travel to Birmingham to find out at first hand the latest technology, products and support services available to people who are blind or partially-sighted. Our exhibitors are commercial companies and voluntary organizations from throughout the world.
To learn more about this event visit http://www.qac.ac.uk/sightvillage/6-1.html
What about Canada you ask? The premier Canadian event is The annual CNIB conference, Perspectives 2011: Innovation, Knowledge And Support, taking place October 21 and 22 2011 at the Delta East hotel in Toronto. . this conference brings together many key disciplines and blindness professionals from across the country. Specialties include,. Education, independent living, Braille,/literacy, and research. You can find out the latest info on twitter by using the hashtag #cnibconference. You can also download the conference poster from THE events page at
this year the annual CNIB tech fair is being combined with the conference, so you can check out the latest tech gear and everyday gadgets for the home while taking in the conference workshops all in one place. Hmmm that reminds me, I'd better get cracking on rounding up materials for my workshop as I'm slated to present a session on braille formats.
Want more? There are conferences that cover specific areas in the field of blindness such as
The Canadian Vision Teachers conference, http://www.yrdsb.edu.on.ca/page.cfm?id=ITQ000050
Getting In Touch with Literacy, http://www.gettingintouchwithliteracy.org/
California Transcribers and Educators for the Blind and Visually Impaired,
I have concentrated on conferences/events I have attended or know others who have, along with those that cover a wide range of topics of interest to people with vision loss.
Another way to get plugged in is to contact your local CNIB office to find out what's available in your area.
A consumer voice? Along with CNIB, there are two national consumer organizations in Canada.
Canadian Council Of the Blind http://www.ccbnational.net/content/
Advocates For Equality Of Blind Canadians www.blindcanadians.ca
Hope to see you at an upcoming conference soon. I have learned a great deal from attending these events and met many great individuals as well. They are great places to network with colleagues in your chosen career, and keep up to date on developments in the field. Now, I really must get back to that workshop preparation. <grin>