Conference offers ‘wave’ of support for people with visual impairments

Commissioner Cary Boswell points to a chart that indicates total federal dollars lost due to insufficient match funds and penalty costs at the AER conference

Commissioner Cary Boswell speaks at this week’s AER conference

The Alabama Chapter of the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) held its 31st annual conference Oct. 4-7.

RSA Commissioner Janet LaBreck

RSA Commissioner Janet LaBreck

“Wave of the Future” served as the theme of the theme for this year’s conference, which included several educational and informative presentations from professionals, parents, and practitioners. The conference focused on providing answers to many of the challenges faced by individuals who are blind or have low vision.

Rehabilitation Services Administration Commissioner Janet LaBreck highlighted the future of VR during her keynote address at the start of the conference before the

Ashleigh Hatcher receives the Billy Don Sims Scholarship

Ashleigh Hatcher receives the Billy Don Sims Scholarship from Julie Brock, AER scholarship chair

general sessions on blindness education, professional ethics, structured discovery, and providing mobility for children beyond cane travel.

Following the general sessions, ADRS Commissioner Cary Boswell addressed funding concerns during the departmental update, and AER Scholarship Chair Julie Brock presented the Billy Don Sims Scholarship to Ashleigh Hatcher. Hatcher has served as an intern at the Opelika office, assisting with rehabilitation teaching.

Before wrapping the conference, a fun beach blanket bingo event took place during the conference luau, with all proceeds going to replenish the Billy Don Sims Scholarship fund for next year.

Photos by Denise Holmes

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