[Athen] Announcing a Blindness Symposium

Lori twilight2 at kconline.com
Wed Feb 4 20:38:48 PST 2009

Hi all,

I hope some folks from the list will be able to join us. I have been part
of the team coordinating the exhibits for this event. Please contact me if
you have questions.


This note is meant to announce that a high-profile blindness symposium is to
occur in McKenna Hall on the campus of The University of Notre Dame on
Fri., 6 March, 2009, from 9:00-5:45. Please forward to
anyone you believe might have an interest in this, perhaps posting an
advisory in any newsletter or podcast to which you contribute.

Because the greater South Bend, Indiana, area is reasonably close to
Chicagoland, southern Michigan, Indianapolis, and Ohio, a significant number
of persons will potentially find it feasible to attend. The highest profile
facets of this event are the
keynote address by Dr. Marc Maurer, president of the National
Federation of the Blind; and the presence of Olympic gold medal-winning
swimmer and entrepreneur Adolph Kiefer. Dr. Maurer will be on center
stage roughly from 10:45 A.M. to 12:30 P.M and will speak directly to
the enormous gap that remains in respect to employment of the blind in
21st century America. Kiefer will participate while a paper on a new
navigational aid for the blind is presented at 3:30 in the afternoon.

Another noteworthy fact is that this upcoming symposium has been
created at Notre Dame and is being administered by an ND
special professional named Dr. Essaka Joshua, who conducts and supervises
research in the area of disability studies. So this will be first and
foremost an academic conference put on by one of North America's most
prestigious institutions of higher learning. To that end, papers about the
literary and
historical significance of blindness through the ages will be formally
presented by scholars from universities both in the USA and in Europe.
Athletically-minded attendees and parents of blind swimmers will be able to
see first-hand a brand-new, highly affordable navigational aid called
AdapTap that blind swimmers may use to keep their bearings in the often
confusing and fast-moving
environment of a swimming pool. Attached to this message are both a flier
and a poster describing the formal part of this symposium. These are
official promotional pieces created at Notre Dame, and both the flier and
poster are suitable for immediate handout or mounted display. They are
accessible to blind computer users as well, if opened in any version of
Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat identified as 7.x or later, in conjunction
with either JAWS for Windows or Window-Eyes screen reading software.

In addition, there is a second aspect to the March 6 symposium, intended to
line up with the practical needs of teachers or members of the blind
community: Following Dr. Maurer's time in the spotlight and a brief lunch
break, the afternoon will feature a technology fair that
runs concurrently with the last three paper presentations. As a
part of that tech fair, we will present four focused seminars of
practical and educational significance to special education teachers,
vocational rehabilitation professionals, blind persons, and family members
or friends of blind persons. The lineup for these presentations, as it
stands now, is as follows:

2:00 PM: Select members from the leadership team of GW Micro (makers of the
BrailleSense Plus notetaker and the Window-Eyes screen reading program,
based in Fort Wayne, Indiana).

3:00 PM: Wade Wingler of the Easter Seals Crossroads Assistive
Technology Center in Indianapolis. Wade discusses the new INDATA
Project making technology affordable for members of the disabled
community who earn a low income and/or who do not qualify for direct
state funding assistance.

4:00 PM: The Sendero Group, featuring accessible GPS solutions and
other leading-edge portable technology for the blind.

5:00 PM: Hadley School for the Blind, based in Winnetka, Illinois.
Hadley has provided distance learning opportunities in Braille, in
large print, and now online, for nearly 90 years to blind citizens of
more than 100 countries.

In addition to the presenters listed above, we are expecting
demonstration/informational booths to be staffed by adec Inc., Bosma
Enterprises, Cross Roads-Easter Seals, Eye Can See, GW Micro, Hadley School
for the Blind, the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library, the National
Federation of the Blind of Indiana, Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic,
Sendero Group, and the Social Security Administration, among others.

Last but not least, we hope to get a sneak peek at some experimental
navigational technology not yet released to the general public that is being
developed and tested in
the nations that make up the European Union. At least one of these
experimental devices never has been seen before in North America. Attached
to this message is a detailed description of these and all other exhibitors
who have agreed thus far to participate. The description is formatted so
that it should open in any version of Microsoft Word released since the year

Both the academic conference and the technology fair will be open at
no charge to the general public. But because space in the auditorium and
demonstration rooms is limited, registration is strongly encouraged.

If you wish to attend, or if you have a question relating specifically to
the academic portion of the March 6 program, please send a message to
BlindnessSymposium at gmail.com.

For more information about the technology fair portion of the afternoon's
proceedings, you are encouraged to write personally to one or both of the
co-coordinators: Kane Brolin kbrolin65 at gmail.com or Lori Miller
Lori at asmodean.net.


Kane Brolin
Office: (5..., Ext. 1
Mobile: (574)386-8868
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