Early Connections Conference

An orientation and mobility specialist helping a young girl learn how to use a white cane.
May 2, 2015 - 8:30am to 3:00pm
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Lower School
United States
175 North Beacon Street
Watertown, MA 02472

Early Connection Conference LogoCelebrating your child’s gold medal moments

Taking Care of Our Children…Taking Care of Ourselves

Join the conversation at #EarlyCC

Join other professionals and parents of children with visual impairments from birth to age 7 to share, network and learn about the latest strategies and resources to set your child on the path to fulfilling his or her own potential.

  • Free childcare available
  • Lunch provided

Sessions & Speakers

Helping Out at Home: Building Independent Living Skills in the Context of Family Routines

Sarah Bis, MS, OTR/L, C/NDT, Occupational Therapist

Discover the significance of routines in teaching independent living skills.

  • Learn which household chores are appropriate for children at different stages of development.
  • Identify your individual child's abilities and explore what aspects of tasks your child CAN complete, through activity analysis and partial participation.
  • Learn how participating in self-care activities and household chores can benefit your child across areas such as sequencing, sorting, communication and sensory processing.
  • Brainstorming specific times of day and specific activities in your family's day when routines may be easily embedded.

A Very Special Toy Box: How to Find (& Make!) Developmental Toys for Babies & Toddlers Who are Blind, Deafblind or Multiply Disabled

Amber Bobnar, Founder and website administrator of WonderBaby.org

Find the best toys for your child's needs, including what to look for in off-the-shelf toys and how they are appropriate for your child. Learn how to create an adaptive play environment or sensory space and how to use these toys to facilitate learning.

Planning for the Future: Setting up Lifelong Supports for Your Child

Cynthia R. Haddad, CFP®, Director, Special Needs Financial Planning

Learn about The Five Factors™ of special needs planning, highlighting the various planning pressure points relating to your child's benefits, emotional and support factors, legal and financial planning issues. Avoid common mistakes and pitfalls in planning for your child's future.

Encouraging and Increasing Social Interaction in Young Learners

Lisa A. Jacobs, Coordinator, Perkins International

Explore ways that children become social beings and discuss specific practical strategies that can be done by everyone in the child's life to encourage positive social relationships.

Everyday Discoveries: A Multi-sensory Approach to Discovering Our World and Ourselves

Matt Kaplowitz, President and Chief Creative Officer at Bridge Multimedia Corp.

Incidental learning is a critical part of the early childhood experience. It plays out differently for B/VI children. Join Matt Kaplowitz and Teddy Kern on an exploration of the world around us through sound, touch, smell, taste, sight, music, movement, and critical thinking. Everyday Discoveries begins with incidental learning “sparks,” and delivers practical activities to illuminate and explain the world to our children.

Orientation & Mobility for Birth to 7 – Everybody Dance!

Lori Spencer, TVI - COMS

O&M is more than a cane – it's about movement in all shapes and forms for EVERY age and ability. This session looks at types of assessments, skills to work on, and strategies for incorporating O&M into your everyday lives.

Raising a Child with Visual Impairment: The Challenges and Strategies that Lead to Gold Medal Moments

Parent Panel

Keynote Address

Gold Medal Moments from a 2-Time Olympian: Celebrate Every Achievement

Marla Runyan, Assistive Technology Teacher/Perkins Spokesperson

Marla will share a personal story: diagnosis of Stargardt's disease, her response to the low expectations of others, the strength she drew from her parents' belief in her abilities. She will emphasize the value and power of sport and competition. A world-class athlete, she discovered through running what is achievable, what is out of reach, and how to recognize the difference. She knows that running the race is the reward more than crossing the finish line. As a teacher, Marla has witnessed first-hand the journeys of her students and their “gold medal moments” when they achieve more than anyone thought they could.

Questions? Call your state contact or Pam Sanderson Pam.Sanderson@Perkins.org and 617-972-7432, Perkins School for the Blind, Educational Partnerships office.

Event Date: 
May 2, 2015 - 8:30am to 3:00pm
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