I’d like to initiate a dialogue regarding attending conferences for parents of children who are blind or visually impaired. On behalf of parents who have not attended a conference of the sort, and for my own interest, perhaps former attendees would be willing to answer the following questions:
- Which conference or conferences did you attend?
- What were your expectations of the conference?
- Were your expectations met?
- What did you gain from the experience?
- Would you attend again?
Whether you have attended a conference presented by the National Association of Parents of Children with Visual Impairments, the National Federation of the Blind, the National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation, the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children, Perkins School for the Blind, the CHARGE Syndrome Foundation, Families Connecting with Families, or other organization, my assumption is you left the conference with
- a deeper sense of community,
- a greater understanding of the current and future needs of your child and how to meet them using specific techniques and utilizing blindness-specific services, and
- the confirmation that you are, despite periodic doubts, an exceptional parent who is meeting the needs of your child. Sometimes we just need to know we’re "on the right track."
For Those Interested in Attending
For those interested in attending a conference, but unsure of upcoming opportunities, visit FamilyConnect’s calendar of events which announces conferences, workshops, and presentations as we hear about them. I also recommend seeking conference recommendations from your state’s school for the blind, any organization specific to your child’s eye condition, your child’s teacher of students with visual impairments, and from your local service provider.
If the cost of the conference is prohibitive, consider reviewing the FamilyConnect article entitled Funding Options for Families which provides a list of possible funding sources for attending conferences for parents of children who are blind or visually impaired as well as a sample proposal letter. The cost of the conference needn’t be a roadblock.
With that, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the subject.