Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired
Orientation and Mobility
Division Nine www.oandm.aerbvi.org
Winter 2010 Volume 16 Number 1
From the Chair …. Kathy Yale, Ed. D.,COMS®
Greetings from Florida where it has been a rather cold winter, but I’m hanging in there for
warmer weather. As you know, this is an AER International Conference year. Once again there
will be an O&M Conference Within a Conference. Many great sessions have been scheduled
for you to choose from. So make your plans to join us in Little Rock, Arkansas at the beautiful
Peabody Hotel and Statehouse Convention center. Information and registration is available on
the AER website www.aerbvi.org.
It is also time to nominate you friends and colleagues for our division awards. Three awards are
given to O&M Division members: the Blaha Award, Sandy Kronick Distinguished Service Award,
and the Citation for Excellence for Direct Service Award. Nominations are due electronically by
March 31, 2010. More information on the awards is contained on pages 10-13.
As you may recall, there was disagreement over the proposed changes ACVREP was planning
to make. Those changes were not implemented due to our voices as professionals. There has
been numerous reports of difficulty in obtaining certificates. The AER Board continues to
develop a good working relationship with the ACVREP Board and will hopefully find a solution to
Make those reservations and I hope to see you in Little Rock!!
Save the Date
AER International Conference
July 21-25 2010 Little Rock, AR
The Peabody Little Rock and the Statehouse Convention Center
The AER International Conference 2010 will also feature the pre-conference
McFarland Seminar, the post-conference Obstacle Avoidance Workshops and the
AER Exhibit Hall as well as many social events and opportunities to visit wonderful
downtown Little Rock! The AER room rate at the Peabody is $149.00 per night,
plus tax for a single or double.
The program committee is rapidly completing the program
for another O&M Conference within a Conference!
This Newsletter is published quarterly by the Table of Contents
Orientation and Mobility Division of AER. Message from the Chair Page 1
Readers are invited to submit articles, 2009 Blasch Scholarship winners Page 3
announcements and tips that will benefit the 2010 Blasch Scholarship Application Page 5
readership. Recognizing Excellence in the Field Page 10
This newsletter is available in Large Print or on
disk upon request to the AER Office. Departments
Announcements Page 14
Advertisements are welcome. For information Contacts Page 17
Advertisers should contact:
Dona Sauerburger at We are grateful to the following advertisers for their
The following rates apply for ads: APH page 9
¼ page ads - $75 per issue The Seeing Eye page 4
½ page ads - $125 per issue
(Page numbers refer to this print edition.
Full page ads - $250 per issue Advertisements will be emailed on request.)
All ads are printed in black and white
The Orientation and Mobility division of AER does not
evaluate or review literature or products listed in this
newsletter; therefore a listing does not imply
endorsement of the Orientation and Mobility division of
The O&M Division Congratulates the 2009 Blasch Scholarship Competition
On behalf of the O&M Division of AER, the 2009 Blasch Scholarship committee is pleased to
introduce this year’s winners!! Each year, two students enrolled in AER approved O&M
programs are awarded scholarships in memory of Don Blasch. Mr. Blasch was for many years
the chairperson of the Department of Blind Rehabilitation (now Blindness and Low Vision
Studies) at Western Michigan University. He was pioneer in our profession and this scholarship
is a reminder of his extraordinary accomplishments during O&M’s formative years.
The recipients this year are Mike McDonald, who attends San Francisco State University, and
Mary Jessica Chandler, a student at Western Michigan University. One of Mike’s passions is
outdoor education and recreation for individuals with disabilities. He has served as a volunteer
river guide and adaptive ski guide with disabled and low income young people in the San
Francisco bay area. Sandy Rosen, professor and coordinator of the O&M program at San
Francisco State, notes that Mike is the first professional to complete a Master’s degree in both
guide dog mobility and in O&M. Mike has worked as a guide dog trainer at Guide Dogs for the
Blind, Inc., of San Rafael, California. Elissa Berrol, who has worked with Mike in outdoor
education, describes him as a “playful, intelligent, competent, honest, hard working reliable,
compassionate and gentle soul”. These traits will serve Mike well as he enters the profession of
Mary Jessica Chandler is a graduate of Ball State University, completed her education as a
teacher of visually impaired children at Portland State, and currently is a student in the O&M
Master’s program at Western Michigan University. Jessica lives in Hawaii and works as a vision
resource teacher on the island of Oahu. She previously worked for the Hawaii Center for the
Deaf and Blind and in early intervention with Easter Seals. Jessica is active in AER, a board
member of the Hawaii chapter, and is on the executive boards of the Hawaii State Teacher’s
Association, where she has the opportunity to work with legislators as an advocate for the needs
of exceptional children. Annette Skellenger, Jessica’s program coordinator at Western
Michigan, writes that “Jess is an extremely diligent and responsible student who as an extremely
strong grounding in best educational practices. She is well-liked and respected by students with
visual impairments and does very well addressing the individual needs of each child”.
The O&M Division salutes these creative, hard working professionals as they begin their O&M
careers, and we look forward to their contributions and their leadership in the year to come.
Many thanks to the dedicated COMS who reviewed applications for the 2009 Blasch
Scholarship competition. They are Jodi Sticken (IL), Lin Oakerson (FL), Bob Lessne (FL), Anita
Page (TX), Phil Johnson (TX), Laura Bozeman (MA), Tyler Hamilton (KS), Danene Fast (OH),
Kerry Duncan (AZ), Gala Brooks (IL), Maya Delgado Greenburg (CA), and Colleen LaRose (MI).
Richard Long (MI) coordinates the Blasch scholarship competition (firstname.lastname@example.org).
AER ORIENTATION AND MOBILITY DIVISION
DONALD BLASCH SCHOLARSHIP AWARD
AMOUNT OF AWARD
The Orientation and Mobility Division of the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of
the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) will award two Donald Blasch scholarships each year
in the amount of $1,000.00 each, provided that at least two qualified individuals apply for this
award. Additional scholarships may be awarded each year if funds are available, as
determined by the Division Board.
Applicants for the Donald Blasch Scholarship must be accepted for full, unrestricted
enrollment (not probationary status) or must be enrolled (part time or full time) in an AER-
recognized orientation and mobility program on the date the scholarship application is signed.
Applications for the scholarship must be received by the co-chair of the committee (Richard
Long, Western Michigan University) by March 15, 2010. If the applicant is accepted for
enrollment in an O&M program, but has not yet begun classes, the award will be made when
the student actually begins classes. Individuals who have been accepted for enrollment but
have not yet matriculated must do so within one year of the date their Blasch scholarship
application was signed.
HOW TO APPLY
An application form must by completed in full and signed by each applicant. Application
forms are available from the AER office or from O&M university program staff.
The following information must be submitted with this application:
1) List of academic achievements (awards, honors etc.)
2) Record of extra-curricular activities
3) Brief description of employment, including type of work, approximate number of years and
approximate hours per week
4) An essay (200 words or less) written by the applicant entitled "Why I have chosen to enter
the field of orientation and mobility"
5) Two letters of recommendation (At least one must be from a college or university professor,
and it must document that the applicant is enrolled or accepted for full, unrestricted enrollment
[not probationary status] in an AER approved orientation and Mobility Program on the date the
application is signed)
Applications for the Donald Blasch scholarship(s) will be judged by the Scholarship Committee
co-chairpersons and the members of the Division’s scholarship committee. Individuals will be
evaluated for the scholarship based only on the information included in the application packet.
Following completion of judging, the scholarship committee co-chairpersons will submit the
committee’s recommendation to the Division president by May 31st. Selection will be
primarily based on the quality of the 200 word essay submitted with the application and
the strength of the letters of recommendation, the variety and extent of experience
(paid or unpair) in human services endeavors, and the candidate’s contributions to
AER. Financial need will not be a criteria for selection.
All eligible students are encouraged to apply for the scholarship. Award checks payable to the
student will be issued prior to July 15 of each year.
OTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THE SCHOLARSHIP
An announcement of the availability of the scholarship will be published in each O&M Division
newsletter, and a brief bio of the recipient(s) will be published in the Division’s newsletter.
The Scholarship Committee co-chairpersons will notify the award winners before June 30 by
phone. Individuals who apply and are not selected will also be notified by the Scholarship
committee co-chairpersons via email.
The award will be presented to the winner upon verification that the proposed awardee meets
the eligibility requirement described above.
The Blasch scholarship winner must be willing to have his or her name and/or photograph
published in AER publications in association with the award.
Application materials are available in electronic format or in Braille upon request from the
Blasch Scholarship committee co-chairpersons. Send all applications and questions to:
Richard G. Long
C/o Department of Blindness and Low Vision Studies - WMU
Co- chair, Donald Blasch Scholarship Committee – AER DIV. O&M DIVISION
1903 West Michigan Avenue MAIL STOP 5218
Kalamazoo, Michigan 49008-5218
AER O&M Division
DONALD BLASCH SCHOLARSHIP
Are you currently enrolled in a college or university program in orientation and mobility, or
accepted for enrollment?
Which AER O&M program do you attend/plan to attend?
List academic achievements if applicable (awards, citations, other scholarships etc.)
List extra-curricular activitiesif applicable. (Include clubs, organizations, any offices held,
creative projects etc.)
Give a brief work history (if applicable)
Give a brief history of your volunteer work experience (if any)
I hereby apply for an AER Orientation and Mobility Division Scholarship. I agree to abide by
the decision of the scholarship committee.
Signature of Applicant
The material received by the scholarship will become the property of the committee and will not
I have enclosed the items listed below
1) This application
2) 200 word (or less) essay, written by applicant "Why I have chosen to enter
the field of orientation and mobility"
3) Two letters of recommendation (At least one must be from a current
college or university professor, and this letter should document your
enrollment or acceptance for enrollment)
Return all applications to:
Richard G. Long
C/o Department of Blindness and Low Vision Studies - WMU
Co- Chair, Donald Blasch Scholarship Committee – AER DIV. O&M DIVISION
1903 West Michigan Avenue
Kalamazoo, Michigan 49008-5218
THE DEADLINE FOR RECEIVING APPLICATIONS FOR THE
BLASCH SCHOLARSHIP IS
MARCH 15, 2010
It’s Time to Recognize Excellence in the Field
Mary Ann Zelinsky, Nominations Committee Chair
We encourage you to take the time to think about your colleagues and to nominate for three of
the prestigious awards presented by the Division – The Lawrence E. Blaha Award, The Sandy
Kronick Distinguished Service Award, and The Orientation and Mobility Citation of Excellence
for Direct Service. By nominating you are letting others know how important he/she is and the
impact he/she makes in the lives of others.
The deadline for submissions is March 31, 2010. Please send submissions to: Mary Ann
Zelinsky, Chair of the O&M Division’s awards committee at: email@example.com.
In order to make submissions accessible to all members, AER’s accessibility policy now
requires that all submissions be submitted electronically.
LAWRENCE E. BLAHA AWARD
The Lawrence E. Blaha Award was initiated in 1968 to honor people who have shown
exemplary behavior in the field of O&M, made outstanding contributions to the profession, and
are dedicated to serving people with visual impairments. It is the highest honor that the O&M
Division can bestow. Each recipient of this award is the Guardian of Sir Francis Campbell's
Cane until it is passed along to the next award recipient. The handle of the cane was used by
Sir Francis Campbell, and can be seen in a photograph of him that is displayed in The C.
Warren Bledsoe Orientation and Mobility Archives.
This award was named in honor of Lawrence Blaha who was a pioneer in the field of O&M. He
is remembered for his wit, athletic abilities, philosophy, technical skill, and his high standards.
He was an educator whose ideas are remembered and continued through this award. In 1948,
he began his career working with visually impaired people at the Central Blind Rehabilitation
Center for Visually Impaired and Blinded Veterans, VA Hospital, Hines Illinois. He was one of a
group of six individuals chosen for training to become the original O&M specialists there. In
1961, joined the faculty of Western Michigan University; from 1964 until his sudden death, he
was Director of the O&M program at California State College, Los Angeles.
Sir Francis Campbell, whose cane handle is passed along to award recipients, was an American
expatriate who was knighted by King Edward VII. Campbell was born in Tennessee and
accidentally blinded before he was six. He was educated at the Tennessee State Institute for the
Blind and at the University of Tennessee. Campbell taught music at the Perkins School for
the Blind. At Perkins, he was involved in early efforts to teach Orientation and Mobility.
Past recipients of The Lawrence E. Blaha Award include:
1968 - Lawrence E. Blaha, posthumously 1988 - Richard L. Welsh
1969 - Dr. Richard E. Hoover, MD 1990 – Hugo Vigoroso
1972 - W.G. Debetaz 1992 - Everett "Butch" Hill
1973 - Stanley Suterko 1994- Berdell "Pete" Wurzburger
1975 - Russell C. Williams 1996 - William Wiener
1977 - Donald Blasch 1998 - Bruce B. Blasch
1979 - John D. Malamazain 2000 - Gala Saber Brooks
1981 - John R. Eichorn, Ed.D. 2002 - Billie Louise ("Beezie")Bentzen
1983 - Leicester W. Farmer 2004 - Dona Sauerburger
1984 - C. Warren Bledsoe 2006 – Steve LaGrow
1986 - Walter G. Olenek 2008 – Janet Barlow
Blaha Award Selection Criteria:
1) The individual must have had at least ten years experience in the field of blindness and must
have distinguished himself or herself in activities related to orientation and mobility such as:
Contributing to the body of knowledge/literature;
Excelling in a leadership manner in the provision of O&M services to the blind and visually
Has recruited or otherwise impacted on the decision of a large number of individuals to
enter the field of orientation and mobility;
Has served in a "mentor capacity" to a significant number of O&M professionals.
2) The achievements being recognized must have had a significant impact upon the field of
orientation and mobility.
3) The individual must be an AER O&M Division member and have ACVREP certification unless
retired or out of the field (administration).
4) Nominations and letters of support shall be made by members of the O&M Division with a
letter of up to two pages in length. The number of letters submitted shall not influence the
SANDY KRONICK DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD
The Sandy Kronick Distinguished Service Award was established in 1994 to recognize
professionals who demonstrate distinguished service in O&M through a long-term commitment
in direct service. The award was named after Sandy Kronick because of his lifelong
commitment and dedication to teaching O&M to visually impaired people. He taught O&M in
Oregon until his sudden death in May 1993.
The first Sandy Kronick Award was given to him posthumously and accepted by his wife,
Bethanne Kronick, at the 1994 AER International Conference in Dallas. Sandy was very
actively involved in AER and was instrumental in forming the AER Oregon Chapter and served
as its president. The establishment of this award is fitting tribute to Sandy Kronick and to all the
countless other O&M specialists who forgo promotions or higher paying career changes in order
to continue doing what they know and love best, namely teaching Orientation & Mobility. The
award will be given only when a worthy recipient is determined.
Past Recipients of the Sandy Kronick Distinguished Service Award are:
1994 - Sandy Kronick, posthumously
1996 - Kathleen Newman
1998 - Richard Russo
2000 - Lukas Franck
2002 – William P. McCloskey
2004 – Vince Fazzi
2006 – Laura Park Leach
2008 – (None)
The criteria for this award are that the recipient should:
1. Have worked in the field of O&M ten years or more;
2. Be a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist unless retired or out of the field
3. Have spent the majority of professional career in direct service, teaching O&M to visually
4. Exemplify the standards outlined in the O&M Code of Ethics;
5. Have been a long-standing member of AER's Division Nine (majority of career);
6. Have demonstrated distinguished service by doing one or more of the
Extend beyond the usual job requirements by using talents and expertise to enhance the
field of O&M;
Initiate innovative or unique programs;
Serve as a mentor to other O&M specialists;
Present at local, regional, or international conferences;
Publish work in a professional journal.
ORIENTATION AND MOBILITY CITATION OF EXCELLENCE FOR DIRECT SERVICE
The Orientation and Mobility Citation of Excellence for Direct Service was established in 1985 to
present to a younger member of the profession, to encourage O&M specialists whose present
excellent teaching records already foretell of promising careers in our profession. It continues to
be awarded to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the profession
during the first ten years of their career in O&M and to encourage these individuals to continue
their promising careers in our profession.
Past Recipients of the Orientation and Mobility Citation of Excellence for Direct Service are:
1986 - Peggy Madera, Judy Davidhizar-Holmes
1988 - Joani Levy Myers
1990 - Judy Hayes
1992 - Bonnie Dodson-Burk, Darick Wright
1994 - Carol Otten, Colleen Calhoon
1996 – Sharon O'Mara Maida
1998 – Mary Konigsfeld-Wejrowski
2000 – James Scott Crawford
2002 – John E. Clare
2004 – Julie Hapeman
2006 – (None)
2008 – Danene Fast
The criteria for this award are that the recipient must be:
1. In direct service the year preceding the conference;
2. A member in good standing of the AER O&M Division;
3. A Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist;
4. In the field of O&M for 5-10 years;
5. Involved in teaching children and/or adults.
Don’t let another day go by without
submitting your nomination.
The March 31, 2010 deadline will be here
before you know it.
Only electronic submissions will be
Please send submissions to Mary Ann Zelinsky (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you have any
questions, please contact any of the committee members: Martha Kemp
(email@example.com), Bruce Blasch (firstname.lastname@example.org), Sharon Woods
(email@example.com), or Dawn Werner (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Barry Levine, passed away unexpectedly at the end of April. Barry was involved in various
aspects of ACB leadership. However, his contributions to the O&M Listserv list are also
significant and should be remembered. He brought us the perspective of a person who was
blind and had knowledge of learning theory. He also acquainted us with the psychological
experience of vision loss and its impact on the family.
Eric Bohn, COMS with the Association for Vision Rehabilitation and Employment, Inc. in
Binghamton, NY, passed away Thursday, May 28, 2009 as the result of injuries sustained in a
tragic car accident on May 6, 2009. He was forty years old. Eric will be truly missed by his
family, colleagues, and the many consumers he worked with.
Click And Go Wayfinding Maps
ClickAndGo is a narrative mapping technology that combines fully accessible web-based
(database) technology with interactive voice technology. It generates customized data as
opposed to GPS data, and provides both indoor and outdoor wayfinding guidance. It is
essentially the blind pedestrians' "equivalent" to Yahoo or Google Directions, although it actually
does much more. It presently provides 3 basic types of information to the blind or deafblind
traveler: First, "point-to-point" accessible walking directions (the user selects the desired starting
and destination landmarks from a drop-down menu). Second, descriptive "point of interest"
information about a particular landmark (again, user-selected). And third, we now provide
guided "virtual tours" of environments, with very specific mobility-friendly details. The service is
freely accessible to blind and deafblind users via the web, and can be accessed by blind-
hearing users with any standard telephone (using interactive voice response technology).
Participating institutions become involved via licensed access. For more info, visit our website
We are now in negotiation with a number of sites around the country (airports, public transit
sites, hotels, universities, schools for the blind, etc.) and anticipate the need for O & M
consulting support as far as the data compilation is concerned. This compilation is going to be
different from what mobility instructors usually do... for example, routes are walked with a
pedometer so that distance is accurately measured, videotaping everything and then editing and
compiling it in the most concise manner possible. We believe that, as time goes by, this is going
to revolutionize the way blind and deafblind travelers get their data. We will also be putting
together a guide/manual for narrative mapping techniques. However, before we have that
complete, we will be looking for experienced O & M specialists who have an aptitude for this
kind of mapping to assist us.
If anyone is interested, please contact me, Joe Cioffi, at:
CickAndGo Wayfinding Maps/ InTouch Graphics
(kindly include a resume).
O&M Division 2008-2010: Officers / District Directors / Committees
CHAIR: Kathy Yale, COMS (Florida) TREASURER: Cathy Holden, COMS®
email@example.com; H: 850-877-0204 firstname.lastname@example.org
PAST CHAIR: Nora Griffin-Shirley, COMS® (Texas)
CHAIR-ELECT: Marjie Wood, COMS® (Texas) email@example.com;
firstname.lastname@example.org; 512-414-4871 W: 806-742-1997 ext. 247; H: 806-745-4664
DISTRICT 1 – Venetia Hayden (Arizona) DISTRICT 4 - Paula Kosior, COMS (Massachusetts)
email@example.com; W: 617-972-7397
DISTRICT 2 - Bill Jacobson, COMS® (Arkansas) DISTRICT 5 – Laura Park Leach
firstname.lastname@example.org; H: 501-224-8925
DISTRICT 3 - Mary Telefson, COMS® (Wisconsin) DISTRICT 6 - Marybeth Cleveland, COMS®(Maryland)
email@example.com; W: 608/758.6147 firstname.lastname@example.org; H: 301-990-
Chair: Rick Welsh (Pennsylvania) Chair:
Chair: Mary Ann Zelinsky (Tennessee)
DONALD BLASCH SCHOLARSHIP ®
Chair: Dona Sauerburger, COMS (Maryland)
Chair: Richard Long, COMS (Michigan) email@example.com; H: 301-858-0138
ENVIRONMENTAL ACCESS Chair: Margie Wood, COMS
Chair: Janet M. Barlow, COMS (North Carolina) firstname.lastname@example.org;512-414-4871
email@example.com; W: 770-317-0611
Chair: William R. Wiener, COMS (Wisconsin)
Chair: Cathy Holden, COMS (Oklahoma) firstname.lastname@example.org; 414-288-7137
® Chair: Margie Wood, COMS (Texas)
Chair: Laura Bozeman, COMS (Massachusetts) email@example.com; 512-414-4871
firstname.lastname@example.org; W: 617-287-4385
RESEARCH AND PUBLICATIONS REVIEW
MARKETING / PUBLIC RELATIONS ®
® Chair: William Penrod, COMS (Kentucky)
Chair: Bill Muir, COMS (Colorado)
email@example.com; cell: 970-302-7761
MEDICARE AER LIAISON: Chair:
Chair: Dona Sauerburger, COMS (Maryland)
firstname.lastname@example.org; H: 301-858-0138