Mid-Atlantic Affiliates of the

American Council of the Blind  Convention

November 2-4, 2007




ONE for ALL and ALL for ONE







Hosted by

Old Dominion Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired

District of Columbia Council of the Blind

American Council of the Blind of Maryland

National Capital Citizens with Low Vision

Maryland Area Guide Dog Users, Inc.







Holiday Inn Rosslyn at Key Bridge

1900 N. Ft. Myer Drive

Arlington, Virginia



On behalf of the Mid-Atlantic ACB Affiliates’ Steering Committee, welcome to this very special convention!  We have put together a weekend of learning, teaching, sharing, giving, and just plain fun that we feel embodies our theme for this convention of “ONE for ALL and ALL for ONE”.


When we first considered the idea of a regional conference, we hoped to have a good turnout of participants and exhibitors.  At the time of this writing we have a full exhibit area and over one hundred and fifty people registered to attend.  We’ve had to expand our hotel room block twice in order to accommodate everyone, and at last call, we have people coming from at least seven states and the District of Columbia.  Keeping this in mind, why not reach out this weekend and meet new people and re-connect with old friends. 


A few important notes:

The Guide Dog Relief Area- is located out the front door of the hotel and turn left.  Follow the driveway across the narrow parking lot to the grass or pavement straight ahead of you.  Bags and a barrel will be available there for proper disposition of waste materials.


The Convention Registration Desk is located on the 2nd floor near the elevators.  Registration will be open Friday afternoon from 5:00 to 8:00.  If you have any questions, please stop by and let Terry or anyone else there help.


The Dogwood Room, Shenandoah Room, and Rosslyn Ballrooms are all located on the 2nd floor of the hotel.  All of our meetings and events will be held on this floor. 


Assistive Listening Devices will be made available to those wishing them for meetings in Shenandoah Room B and for lunch and dinner in the ballroom.  Please see Terry Pacheco.  



Thank you to all of our exhibitors this year.  We have 17 exhibitors demonstrating and selling all sorts of high tech and low tech products and services in the Dogwood Room.  The exhibits will be open on a limited basis on Friday from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.  The full exhibit showcase will be open Saturday from 10:40 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.  Please stop in and show your appreciation for their support of our convention.


An alphabetical listing follows with their web site addresses, where available.  Additional contact information is available upon request.

1.       Blind Industries and Services of Maryland

2.       Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind - Visionary Store

3.       Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind - High Tech Table

4.       Dancing Dots

5.       Foundation Fighting Blindness

6.       Handy Tech North America

7.       ITG

8.       Maryland State Highway Administration

9.       Owasys

10. Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic

11. TCS Associates

12. Tenacity

13. The New White Cane & More Store

14. Virtual Vision Technologies

15. Vision Support - Low Vision Aids

16. Table for NLS Demonstration of New Equipment

17. Seeing Eye


Please don’t forget to review our advertisers pages at the end of this program.  Some of them wanted to support our convention, but we simply had no more room in the exhibit area.  Keep their products and services on your resource lists, as well.





Very special thanks go to our sponsors for making many of the additional events possible at this year’s convention.  We should also thank those on the steering committee who solicited these participants.



The Seeing Eye of Morristown, NJ is sponsoring our “Canes, Canines, & Cocktails” Reception Friday evening from 6:00 to 9:00 in the Rosslyn Ballroom.



Clever Devices of Mt. Vernon, NY

Polara Engineering

Co-sponsors of our lunch on Saturday with special guest speaker, Jim Fruchterman


Many of our own members and friends have become Gold and Silver Sponsors to help defray various convention-related expenses.  Thank you to all.  This list may not be complete as there were sponsorships still coming in when we went to press. 



Charlie & Susan Crawford

Charlie Hodge

Barbie Kean

Bud & Billie Jean Keith

Vanessa Lowery

Davida Luehrs

James & Freddie Peaco

Harlow Pease

Fred Scheigert

Cecilia Warren



Jeanie Dunnington

Kathy Gerhardt

Marilyn Lutter

Oral Miller

Sarah Presley



Mid-Atlantic Regional ACB Affiliates’ Convention



Friday, November 2

5:00 - 8:00 p.m.    Convention Registration Desk Open on Second Floor Prominade


5:00 - 7:00 p.m.    Exhibits Open “Sneak Preview”             Dogwood Room


6:00 - 9:00 p.m.    “Canes, Canines, and Cocktails” Reception hosted by Maryland Area Guide Dog Users.  Enjoy the camaraderie and opportunity to meet and greet many of our partners. - Rosslyn Ballroom


8:00 p.m.             Old Dominion Council of the Blind Board of Directors Meeting - Shenandoah Room D


9:00-11:00 p.m.    Hospitality Suite (Please check at Convention Registration Desk for Room Number.)


Saturday, November 3

8:00 - 10:00 Convention Registration Desk Open on Second Floor Promenade

8:15 a.m. Coffee Service is available in the Prominade area.


Opening Session - Shenandoah Room

8:30 a.m. Welcome and self-introductions: Doug Powell, Chair, Mid-Atlantic American Council of the Blind Regional Convention Steering Committee


9:00 a.m. The Present and Future of Accessible Electronic Books: Presiding Officer: Patrick Sheehan, President ACB of Maryland - Facilitator: Freddie Peaco, Washington, DC


The presenters will tell us in detail what is currently available and where we anticipate going in the future. Topics discussed include: Bookshare, Audible.com, Playaway, Unabridged Service and National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) Digital Talking Book Player and Web-Braille.



Jim Fruchterman, Founder and CEO, Bookshare.org and The Benetech Initiative, Palo Alto, California


Venetia Demson, Chief, Assistive Services Division, District of

     Columbia Public Library System, Washington, DC


Neil Bernstein, NLS Research and Development Officer, Washington, DC



10:00 a.m. Cell Phones and More:  Presiding Officer: Oral O.  Miller, President District of Columbia Council of the Blind - Facilitator: Patricia M. Beattie, Alexandria, VA


Discuss what products are available and how accessible are they?



Mark Reichert, Director, American Foundation for the Blind, Public Policy Center, Washington, DC


10:40 a.m. Break


10:40 a.m. Exhibit Area Open Until 5:30 p.m. - Dogwood Room 


11:10 a.m. Transportation: New Ways to Help You Get Around: Presiding Officer: Charles Hodge, President, Old Dominion Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired - Facilitator: Patrick Sheehan, Silver Spring, MD



Dennis Cannon, Transportation Accessibility Specialist, U. S. Access Board, Washington, DC


Selene Faer Dalton-Kumins, Director, MetroAccess at Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), Washington, DC



11:45 a.m. Luncheon: Rosslyn Ballroom

Keynote Speaker Jim Fruchterman, Founder and CEO, Benetech


Jim will tell us more about Bookshare and the exciting U. S. Department of Education grant which promises to make accessible textbooks available to virtually every secondary school student with a print disability.



Concurrent Workshops Session 1

                                                        1:15 - 2:00 p.m.


Please Note: All Rooms listed below refer to the Shenandoah Rooms unless otherwise specified.


Workshop 1 -      Room B

Regaining Independence through Support Groups 


Come and learn about the support groups that are available to you. This session will explore several support groups and describe each group in terms of audiences and goals.


Facilitator: Al Pietrolungo, Baltimore, MD


Janet Morrison, Director of the Macular Degeneration and Aging Blind Programs for the Prevention of Blindness Society for Metropolitan Washington


Gloria Sussman, Leader of several active support groups in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area.


Jo Adams, Volunteer for the Northern Virginia Chapter of the Foundation Fighting Blindness


Ted Figueroa, President of the Visually Impaired Employee Workforce (VIEW), an advocacy group for federal employees.


Workshop 2 - Room C

Education & Being a Blind Student


What is an Individual Education Plan?  What core services should be included in Transitional Services for young people with visual impairments?


Facilitator: Michael Triplet, Richmond, VA


Jonathan Martinis, Managing Attorney at Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy will explain disability law as it relates to students who are blind and visually impaired. 



Workshop 3 - Room A

Finding a Job - Resources for the Job Seeker


Facilitator: Sandra Sermons, Washington, DC


Gail Snider, Staffing Specialist, Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind, Riverdale, MD


Kathy Gallagher, Sr. Human Resources Specialist, National Industries for the Blind, Alexandria, VA



Concurrent Workshops Session 2

2:15 - 3:00 p.m.


Workshop 4 - Room B

Tech Talk


Need individual PC training? This panel will identify who the trainers are in your area and how to get in touch with them. Presenters will answer questions you may have. 


Facilitator: Patrick Sheehan, Silver Spring, MD


Don Olson, A.T. Specialist and Trainer, Virtual Vision Technologies, Arlington Virginia


Richard Krafsig, Sales Manager, Information Technology Group (ITG), Falls Church, Virginia


Jeff Ermold, Director of Training, Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind, Washington, DC.



Workshop 5 - Room C

Alternative Medication:  Will the Holistic Approach Work for You?  Facilitator: Kimberly Kleiman, Fairfax, VA


Dr. Mubarik Khan MD specializes in internal medicine.  He completed his training in Internal Medicine in Huntington, West Virginia. He practices and resides in the Fairfax area.



Workshop 6 - Room A

Getting the Job 


Once you have identified your career path, how do you get beyond the screening process to get an interview? And once there, how do you present yourself in the best possible light?


Timothy Brown, Regional Manager, Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired


Doug Powell, Instructor for the Leaders at all Levels Program, National Industries for the Blind, Alexandria, Virginia.  




Concurrent Workshops Session 3

3:15 4:00 p.m.


Workshop 7 - Room A

Is a Guide Dog Right for You and Experienced Guide Dog Users Interactive Session


Two experienced guide dog handlers will describe the process of acquiring a guide dog, and help participants learn more about the pros and cons of working with guide dogs. 


Facilitator: Gary Norman, President, Maryland Area Guide Dog Users, Baltimore, MD


Penny Reeder, Board of Director Member, Guide Dog Users, Inc., Montgomery Village, MD


Michael W. Moran - Having been a guide dog user since 1968, he has conducted a number of seminars and workshops on a range of topics related to blindness and guide dogs. 


Workshop 8 - Room C

Reading Assistance - Who is Coordinating Them?

Learn about some local sources for volunteers and how to find or develop others. 


Facilitator: Oral Miller, Washington, DC 


Kim Alfonso, Vice President of Business Development, Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind, Washington, DC


Venetia Demson, Chief, Assistive Services Division, District of Columbia Public Library System, Washington, DC  




Workshop 9 - Room B

“The Doctor is In” - How to Maximize the Use of Your Vision


Dr. Suleiman Alibhai, OD, Optometric Director, the Hazel E.R. Widner Low Vision Center, Annandale, Virginia, tells how to make the most of your low vision.  



Barbara Millville, President, National Capital Chapter of Council of Citizens with Low Vision International, Vienna, VA



Concurrent Workshops Session 4

4:15 5:00 p.m.


Workshop 10 - Room C

Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal


The session will be led by Joel Snyder, Director of Described Media, National Captioning Institute (NCI) and President of Audio Description Associates.  


Facilitator: Terry Pacheco, Silver Spring, MD


Workshop 11 - Room A

Vision Loss How It Affects Relationships with Family and Friends 

     Three experts will share their experiences with vision loss and its effect on relationships in the areas of parenting and family dynamics. 



Laura Norman, the sighted wife of Gary Norman who happens to be visually impaired. 


Kim Alfonso, President, District of Columbia Regional Chapter, National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI), and Vice President of Business Development and Marketing at the Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind, and her husband, Pedro are the parents of an 8-year-old who is visually impaired.


Penny Reeder is the mother of six and the grandmother of three.  Penny currently works for the Maryland State Division of Rehabilitation Services, Office of Blindness and Vision Services, as a rehabilitation teacher. From 1999 to 2004, she was the editor of American Council of the Blind’s "Braille Forum.”



Workshop 12 - Room B

Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired Open Hearing


During this session, the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (VDBVI) will hold a public meeting for the purpose of obtaining input from blind and visually impaired consumers who live in Virginia, vendors of services, and other interested parties. Comments may be made regarding vocational rehabilitation and other services provided by DBVI. Come and make your voice heard!


Susan Payne, Vocational Rehabilitation Director; and Jim Taylor, Chief Deputy Commissioner will chair the hearing. 



6:30 p.m. Camaraderie Celebration - Rosslyn Ballroom 6:30 Cash Bar

7:00 Dinner followed by Awards Presentations and keynote address by Mitch Pomerantz, American Council of the Blind President


9:00 p.m. Auction - Fundraiser for our affiliates.  Terry Pacheco will be our “BAWSTON Auctioneeah” and Joel Snyder will add his flair in describing the items you can bid on.  Bid often! Bid up! Have fun!



Sunday, November 4 - Shenandoah Room

8:30 a.m. Coffee is available in the Promenade area.

9:00 a.m. An ACB Town Hall Meeting with Mitch Pomerantz

9:30         Convention Wrap-up

10:00       Break

10:15       Affiliate Meetings

                     ACB of Maryland - Room A

                     Old Dominion Council - Room B

                     DC Council - Room C