The Future Belongs to Everyone: A Recap of APH’s 151st Annual Meeting
Annual Meeting is a time for Ex Officio Trustees, teachers, parents, consumers, and other special guests to come together to discuss the field of blindness and learn from one another. This year’s theme, The Future Belongs to Everyone, conveyed that, with the help of one another, we can create an accessible world. From October 10th through 11th, 2019, Annual Meeting attendees were given the opportunity to participate in APH’s vision for the future by joining in roundtable discussions, giving feedback on products in development, and receiving training on products, services, and initiatives. Below are some of this year’s highlights.
Helen Comes to Louisville
APH Museum Director Mike Hudson and AFB President Kirk Adams
On October 10, 2019, APH announced our partnership with AFB to bring the Helen Keller archives – one of the largest disability history archives in the world – to Louisville. The largest collection of her belongings, including letters to presidents, her typewriter, her Oscar, and so much more, are coming to the museum at APH! The exhibit, called The Keller, will be about more than simply artifacts: it will challenge how visitors see the world around them, and overcome their own barriers.
Keynote Speaker Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib
APH President Craig Meador, Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib, Kristin Meador
Lieutenant Governor, Cyrus Habib, was the keynote speaker at Annual Meeting. In his speech, he emphasized the need for children who are blind and visually impaired to receive the tools needed for self-advocacy and excellence, to participate in the world today. Lt. Habib also thanked his mother for his success, saying, “The path for me, from braille to Yale, was the instinct to stick up for myself. That came from my mom.”
Hall of Fame Class of 2019
Marianne Apple, Craig Meador, Rosanne Silberman
The 2019 APH Hall of Fame inductees were Dr. Lou M. Alonso and Loyal E. Apple.
Dr. Lou M. Alonso, 1925-2012, coordinated the pioneering Teacher Preparation Program in Visual Impairment at Michigan State University from 1959 to 1998. She authored influential scholarly works, raised millions of dollars in federal grants for important projects, and initiated additional university programs in Deaf-Blindness and in Orientation and Mobility. Responding to the national rubella epidemic, her Deaf-Blind initiative was one of the first in the country. Lou was the recipient of numerous well-deserved awards, including the Helen Keller Medal for outstanding service to deaf-blind children and their families; the John O. Mullen Award for Distinguished Services from the National Federation of the Blind; the Distinguished Service Award from the Division on Visual Impairments, Council for Exceptional Children; and the esteemed Migel Medal from the American Foundation for the Blind.
Dr. Loyal E. Apple, 1932-2018, held many positions throughout his extraordinary career. Among them were Chief of the Blind Rehabilitation Section of the Veterans Administration Hospital in Hines, IL.; first Chief of the Western Blind Rehabilitation Center at Palo Alto, CA; and Executive Director of the American Foundation for the Blind. Dr. Apple received many honors and awards, including the Commendation from Hines Veterans Administration Hospital for exemplary leadership in blind rehabilitation, and the Major General Melvin J. Maas Achievement Award from the Blinded Veterans.
Tactile plaques in the Hall of Fame at APH will ensure that their work for those with visual impairments will never be forgotten.
APH Honors 2019 InSights Art Artists
InSights Artist Kayleigh Littlejohn poses in front of her painting
Each year, the InSights Art competition and exhibition honors artists who are blind and visually impaired of all ages and abilities. A total of 99 artists were featured in the juried exhibit at Annual Meeting, including 49 winning artists. During a special awards banquet, winners were invited on stage for a ribbon and congratulatory picture with APH president, Dr. Craig Meador. APH is honored to celebrate the work of these amazing artists at Annual Meeting.
Anne Durham leads a session at Annual Meeting 2019
APH’s Vice President of Innovation & Strategy, Anne Durham, led a concurrent session that detailed APH’S passion and commitment to the future of braille. Attendees learned more about current and future electronic braille displays, such as the Braille Trail Reader LE, The Mantis Q40, and the Chameleon 20. Afterwards, participants were able to get hands-on with these displays. Early-to-mid 2020 will see the launch of our newest braille displays – the Mantis Q40 and the Chameleon 20 – developed in partnership with HumanWare.
Code Jumper: A Successful Future in Coding for Every Child
In this session, Li Zhou, the core curriculum project leader for Code Jumper, gave a demonstration of the product, which is designed to teach students who are blind and visually impaired the basics of coding. After the demonstration, attendees broke into groups and were given a tablet, a Code Jumper kit, and step-by-step instructions on how to create six different programs.
Leanne Grillot leads a session at Annual Meeting 2019
For the first time in Annual Meeting history, we hosted the APH Apiary – a half-day session that focused on communication, collaboration, and critical thinking. With no predefined agenda, attendees suggested and voted on important topics for discussion, and then broke into “hives” to hold these discussions with interactive and accessible notes. The topics selected this year included online product training, inventive use of products, engaging families, teaching tactile graphics literacy, TVI recruitment, and much more. We look forward to the Apiary being a recurring event at future Annual Meetings.
Attendees came face-to-face and got hands-on demonstrations of items old and new at the product showcase – an interactive event held by project leaders at APH. Products included:
- Code Jumper
- The Mantis Q40
- Partners in O&M: Supporting Orientation and Mobility for Students Who Are Visually Impaired
- Adapted Science Materials Kit
- Color Raceway
- Building on Patterns Prekindergarten
- Light Box Ledges and Dycem®
- Topaz Filters
One of the newer offerings at Annual Meeting is the services showcase. This event provided EOT’s with an overview of APH services, along with other valuable information and resources. From Braille Tales to NIMAC, and from the Connect Center to outreach services, APH provided materials and guidance to teachers, parents, and students across the U.S.
Join Us for Future Annual Meetings!
Mark your calendars for Annual Meeting 2020 and 2021. Annual Meeting will be held at the Hyatt Regency Louisville on October 8-9, 2020 and on October 7-8, 2021.