AER Bulletin - DOC by LeesRadford


									AER Bulletin
AER Canada
Winter 2009


1. Welcome to the AER Canadian Newsletter

2. Upcoming Events & Dates to Remember

3. AER Journal’s Canadian Connection – learn more about
this great new member benefit

4. Implementation of UEB in Australia and New Zealand

5. Happy Birthday Louis! Canada Celebrates the Bicentenary
of Louis Braille

6. Update on Canadian Membership

7. Improvements to AER Canadian Affairs Website

8. Save the Date: Upcoming Canadian Vision Teachers

9. Advertisement: CNIB Publications

10. AER Profiles: Meet Your Canadian AER Staff
1. Welcome to the AER Canadian Newsletter

A benefit for Canadian AER members, the Bulletin will be
published 3 times a year and focus on Canadian affairs.

Greetings! This is the first Canadian AER newsletter since
fall 2007. I would like to acknowledge the great work done
by John Martin, former Canadian Consultant, and
administrative assistant Anna Disimone, who were
responsible for producing the AER newsletter for 4 years.
John and Anna worked diligently in promoting AER to
Canadians through the newsletter, and as a result the
Canadian membership grew by over 100% during this time.

I am proud to introduce you to Morgan Ineson, our new
Canadian Support Professional. She is well qualified for this
position and comes to AER, with much enthusiasm, and
experience (see her profile on the last page of this
newsletter). Morgan replaces Chris Hogge, who was the
Canadian Support Professional, for an all too brief 3 months,
until his untimely death. We will miss Chris, and we
sincerely appreciate Morgan agreeing to take over. Morgan
is responsible for putting together this newsletter.

This newsletter has something for everyone. The article on
the Implementation of Unified English Braille by Betty Nobel
and Dr. Ann MacCuspie is a “must read” for all teachers,
transcribers, and those working with braille. There are
announcements of upcoming events, and an invitation to
submit articles to the new AER Journal. Be sure to check out
the AER Journal’s Canadian Connection, on page 2.

This newsletter is for you, our Canadian AER members.
Therefore we invite you to submit items of interest,
upcoming events and chapter news. Please forward any
articles, information etc. to Morgan Ineson at, Please state that you give
permission for all or a portion of the article to be published
in the newsletter.

Morgan and I wish to dedicate this edition of the newsletter
to Chris Hogge.

Susan Howe, Canadian Representative to the International

2. Upcoming Events and Dates to Remember
February 2009 – Applications available for 2009 SCORE
summer program for youth. Information at or

Monday, March 9, 2009 – VENO Workshop, Aurora, ON. For
more info contact

May 29,2009 – deadline for submissions to the CNIB Library
Braille Writing Contest for primary and secondary students.
For more information please visit

June 4, 2009 – AER Ontario Chapter Annual General
Meeting, CNIB Centre, Toronto

June 5, 2009 – Parent’s Workshop, CNIB Centre, Toronto.
Guest Speaker Dr. Karen Wolffe

October 18-20, 2009 – Canadian Vision Teacher’s
Conference, Banff, AB. See page 3 for details.
Know of an upcoming event of interest to Canadian AER
Members? Please send details to

3. AER Journal’s Canadian Connection

Hopefully by now you have had the chance to enjoy the
newest benefit for AER Members, AER Journal: Research and
Practice in Visual Impairment and Blindness, founded just
last year and launched at the AER conference in July in

The journal is an innovative blend of research and practice:
showcasing research projects with functional applications
and featuring articles from professionals about their
strategies and best practice. The journal reports on
informative and helpful practices, research findings with
application to everyday practice, professional experiences,
and new publications of particular interest to AER members.

The Journal is published four times per year and the
upcoming issues of the Journal will feature proceedings
papers from the international conference, and a special
theme issue on Wayfinding. The Journal is scholarly,
meaning that manuscripts are reviewed by peers who do not
know the name(s) of the author(s). New peer reviewers are
always welcome; the Journal accepts PhD candidates and
those with an attained PhD as reviewers for research
manuscripts; and those with an attained Master’s and
minimum 5 years’ experience in their field of practice as
reviewers for practice-based reports. To become a reviewer,
simply login and register on This website is also
the tool for submission of manuscripts.

The Journal has a strong Canadian connection with its
Editor-in-Chief Dr. Deborah Gold. Dr. Gold is the Director of
Social and Rehabilitation Research at CNIB and has been
responsible for the coordination and development of CNIB’s
social research activities since 2000. To learn more about
CNIB Research or Dr. Gold herself, go to or to

The Journal is always looking for manuscript submissions
and qualified peer reviewers so be sure to check out the AER
website for more details if you are interested in getting
involved in our professional association’s own Journal.

4. Implementation of Unified English Braille
(UEB) in Australia and New Zealand
By Betty Nobel and Ann MacCuspie

In May 2005, the Australian Braille Authority (ABA) formally
adopted Unified English Braille as the official braille code for
use in their country. This resolution was passed by the
majority of its 30 member organizations. There was only one
vote against its adoption. It was agreed that UEB would be
phased in over a five year period. Previous to the passage of
the resolution, the ABA worked very hard to promote UEB
and provide information about it. It was thought that it was
important to present the key elements of UEB to Braille
users, transcribers and educators to allow stakeholders to
provide positive or negative feedback to the ABA. This
exposure to UEB was extremely valuable and helped all
members of the ABA, come to a decision about adoption of
the code.

Josie Howse, the Director of the Vision Resource Centre, a
major Braille producer in New South Wales, played a
significant role in the implementation of UEB by developing
UEB lessons for transcribers based on an update of the
British Braille Primer which had previously been used by
transcribers and teachers to learn braille. Another important
factor is that two technology companies adapted their
devices to include support for UEB. The Mountbatten Brailler
and the Braille Note products are now configured for UEB.

UEB is being implemented at all levels from K-12. In
Australia, they previously used British Braille but with
capitals, the American Computer Braille Code, and a
separate mathematics and chemistry code. The concept of
one code for all subjects except music had considerable
appeal. The standardization of a braille code for both literary
and technical areas (e.g., math, science), with reduced
ambiguity and only one meaning for any given symbol,
regardless of where it was used, was viewed as a
tremendous advancement for those learning and using

Australia is now in their third year of implementation. New
South Wales was the district designated as the first area to
introduce UEB. In the first year, all braille materials required
for students in preschool, were produced in UEB. The
following school year, materials for primary level and grade
one, were produced in UEB. This process will continue until
all grade levels have their books in UEB. However, any new
books being produced for higher level grades, will be done
immediately in UEB with a key to the code changes included
in the front of the text.

Initially teachers were given the responsibility to make
decisions about when their students would be introduced to
UEB - in grade 3, 5, 7, or 8. This choice would be made in
March to ensure the student's textbooks would be ready in
UEB for the beginning of the next school year. In 2006 all
technical materials (e.g., science, math) for students in
primary through grade 6 were prepared in UEB and available
if needed.
The students in higher grades usually chose to move to UEB
after they had received one or two texts in the new code.
Students who would be writing national exams had the
option of continuing with textbooks in the original code
during that particular school year. Because publishers are
continually introducing new editions of textbooks, and new
novels, teachers did not feel that the availability of materials
for students was significantly affected by the introduction of

For adult readers of braille and for other consumers, public
workshops held at libraries and other easily accessible
locations were provided. The national braille organizations
held numerous information sessions and initiated activities,
to support the learning of UEB. Since 2006 any new
materials produced by the national braille library, have been
produced in UEB, although books previously produced in the
old code are being circulated when requested. About 50% of
commercial materials used by adults are now being
requested in UEB. Most clients report they are now reading
materials in UEB, with ease, and some actually reported
they did not even notice the change in the code.

For transcribers and proof readers, the implementation of
UEB required a formal, structured approach to learning the
new code. Training sessions were organized, the Australian
Primer was used, and Duxbury produced a translation
program for UEB. Transcribers have been overwhelmingly in
favour of the new code, since its introduction. They
reported that with the use of the Duxbury translator,
particularly for technical materials, production from print to
braille is much faster because there are fewer rules to
remember. As well, all transcribers can now handle all kinds
of materials (i.e., literary, math), so training transcribers in
specialty areas is no longer required.

Australia and New Zealand are working together on a trans-
tasman UEB Braille certification. New Zealand adopted UEB
in November, 2005, but its use is being phased in more

The Blind and Low Vision Education Network New Zealand
(BLENNZ) introduced UEB in 2007, and, beginning in the
2008 school year, young children have been using UEB.
Older students are still using the Nemeth code for math and
sciences, but are using UEB in other subject areas. In both
Australia and New Zealand, when a book is produced in UEB,
the braille reader either receives a UEB symbols list or one is
included at the beginning of the book. Both New Zealand
and Australia report the following advantages of UEB:

     There is one universal code only;
     UEB is a system that follows print and allows for
      typeform indicators when desired;
     Technology can more easily be adapted to conform to
      UEB rules;
     One symbol generally has only one meaning;
     Current readers of literary braille lose only nine
      contractions and are able to read UEB material with no

In Canada we have both similar and different issues
associated with the adoption of Unified English Braille.
Without a national body or authority to mandate the code to
be used, we are challenged to ensure stakeholders have
accurate information about the code, and are willing and
able to invest in the process to work collaboratively. The
Canadian Braille Authority and the CNIB have been involved
in committees developing UEB for over a decade. They have
participated in meetings of the International Council for
English Braille, and some hold prominent positions within
this organization. However, the biggest challenge in Canada
is getting teachers to examine the code in sufficient depth,
to evaluate the potential benefits the code would provide to
their students. The resources necessary to do this have
recently been developed and are available free of charge.
Teachers can access and/or download a copy of the
Australian UEB Primer, a self-instruction document posted
on their website:

The answers to the Australian UEB Primer lessons are posted
on the Canadian Braille Authority website, so teachers can
look at the lesson, attempt the exercises, and self-correct

In April, 2010, CBA will vote on a motion to either adopt or
reject the use of UEB. It is critical that teachers of braille
students across Canada become informed about UEB, and
become vocal about their support for, or opposition to, the
adoption of UEB in Canada. The Canadian Braille Authority
is anxious to have input from teachers, and grateful for this
opportunity to increase the awareness among them of the
importance of their voice, in the upcoming decisions. In the
Education process, teachers are the front line workers, in
the use of braille for students who are blind.

5. Happy Birthday Louis! Canada Celebrates the
Bicentenary of Louis Braille

Contributed By Dan Vodon, Professional Practice Leader,
Independent Living Skills, CNIB

(Braille 200 logo)

As part of ongoing events across Canada for the 200th
anniversary of Louis Braille’s birth, a special kick off
celebration was hosted at the CNIB Centre in Toronto on
January 16th. The event included the first performance of
Terry Kelly’s new song “Merci Louis” and the unveiling of the
Braille quilt made by Nicholas Mawer, an Independent Living
Skills Specialist based in Toronto. The event was one of the
first of a year of celebrations that will include braille exhibits
at the Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa
La Grande Bibliothèque in Montreal, and educational and
awareness programs.

Alongside Braille’s Bicentennial, another special occasion
was celebrated: the release of a new Canadian Braille
textbook, titled “Celebrating Braille: A Canadian Approach.
“Celebrating Braille” by Florence Carter, Myra Rodrigues,
and Rosie Zampese, includes pre-reading, uncontracted, and
contracted volumes that guide new Braille users through
content reflective of Canada’s culture and diversity. An
initial 200 copies have been distributed to CNIB Independent
Living Skills Specialists across Canada. Details for
purchasing “Celebrating Braille” will be made available in the
coming months. Congratulations to the authors on their
excellent work!

      Festivities to celebrate Braille’s bicentenary are being
planned and organized by the World Braille Foundation
(WBF) and their Canadian partners. For more information
please visit them on the web at
Photo 1: Past CNIB Presidents Dr. Euclid Herie and Jim
Sanders cut the Braille cake with Kathleen Wynne, MPP,
Ontario Minister of Education and Terry Kelly
Photo 2: Nicholas Mawer shows his commemorative Braille
quilt at the kick-off celebration.
6. Update on Canadian Membership

Total number of Canadian AER Members: 208

Congratulations to our new Canadian members, who have
joined between October 2008 and January 2009:
Lucie Fortin, QC
Susan Leat, ON
Matt Morrow, BC
Kim Wulff, ON
Sandra Cassell, QC
Elizabeth Lefler, ON
Dwila Nixon, SK
Adam Wilton, ON
Susan Engel, BC
Madeleine Fortin, QC

7. Improvements to the AER Canadian Affairs

Construction has commenced on the AER Canadian Affairs
website. The new and improved format of the website will
allow you to quickly access information on the Canadian AER
Chapters, Canadian resources for vision professionals, and
past copies of the Canadian Newsletters and Canadian
Corner from AER Report.

If there is something you would like to see on your new
Canadian website please contact Morgan Ineson,

          Stay tuned to
8. Save the Date!
Canadian Vision Teachers Conference
Climb High, Lead the Way
Coming October 18-20, 2009

(CVTC Logo: picture of a Canadian flag with a hiker climbing
into the distance)

Plans are well underway for the Canadian Vision Teachers
Conference, “Climb High, Lead the Way!” taking place in
beautiful Banff Alberta, October 18-20, 2009.

Keynotes have been confirmed and they include;
   Dr Lea Hyvärinen from Finland on assessment of low
   Larry Campbell (USA) on “Access Denied”, The Struggle
    for the Rights of All Children with Visual Impairments –
    Larry is the President of the International Council for
    Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI)
   Drs. Ann McCuspie, Cay Holbrook and Kevin Stewart
    (Canada) on the Canadian Experience of Education for
    Children who are Blind or Visually Impaired.
   Mike May (USA) the inspiring author of “Crashing

Preconference sessions include Dr. Kevin Stewart (Canada)
and Dr. Tanni Anthony (USA) speaking about early
intervention, skill development and Orientation and Mobility.
As well AROGA Corporation will provide hands on training on
assistive technology. There is something for everyone!

The Call for Papers has gone out and the committee is
looking forward to exciting submissions from across Canada.
Full registration details will be available by the end of
For further information please contact Brian Yee – and Pam Rannelli – .

9. (Advertisement)

(CNIB Logo)

CNIB Publications

CNIB recognizes the need for greater public understanding
of the issues facing people with vision loss. From local
community events to public-speaking engagements to
production of publications, CNIB is committed to informing
and educating Canadians about vision health issues.

Below are a few key publications CNIB has developed for
consumers, professionals and parents:

A Strong Beginning: A Sourcebook for Health and
Education Professionals Working with Young Children
Who are Visually Impaired or Blind
Chapters include anatomy of the eye, common conditions of
the visual pathway, children with multiple disabilities,
parents as partners, functional vision assessment,
development, adapting play, multicultural issues and much

Connecting to the World: Early Intervention with
Young Children who are Blind or Visually Impaired
(DVD and Handbook)
This is the essential tool kit to help better understand how
children with vision loss
learn best.
Finding a New Path: Guidance for Parents of Young
Children who are Visually Impaired or Blind
This book will help parents adjust to the news of a
diagnosis; understand vision loss; feel supported; deal with
common issues such as feeding and sleep disruption; foster
play, recreation and friendship opportunities; learn about
educational options and much more.

You and Your Vision Health: Yes! Something More Can
be Done! This comprehensive guide on age-related vision
loss includes scientific and medical information, and
information on adapting to vision loss and where to turn for
more help. The guide was developed through research with
seniors who told us what they wished they had known when

Tool to Assess Preparedness for Employment (CNIB
TAPE Measure) (2nd edition)
Assess your clients’ readiness for employment with a brand
new comprehensive instrument. Tested with over 230 young
working-age people with vision loss, this useful tool will
allow you to discover the areas on which to focus to improve
the chances of your client obtaining a job interview and job

Clearing Our Path, is an invaluable manual for those
interested in making indoor and outdoor environments
universally accessible, in particular for people with vision
loss. The second edition will be available soon; be sure to
check our webstore for updates.

For a full list of what’s available or to place an order, call 1-
866-659-1843 or visit the CNIB webstore at

To volunteer, donate or find out more about CNIB programs
and services, please call 1-800-563-2642 or visit
10. AER Profiles: Meet your Canadian AER Staff

Susan Howe
Canadian Board Representative

Sue has been an educator in the field of vision loss for more
than 40 years. At first, she briefly worked in the residence
of the then Ontario School for the Blind, now known as W.
Ross Macdonald School, and taught many years in various
grades. For the last 25 years, Sue has worked in the
outreach program, Vision Resources Services at the school,
and is currently the Educational Coordinator for this
program. Sue has been an active member of AER and the
former AEVH, for many years, and has taken an active role
in AER for over 20 years. She has served on the Ontario
AER board of directors for the last 13 years, and is currently
the past president.

Sue credits AER for helping her to grow professionally
throughout her career. “Through AER, I have made contact
with, and learned from many professionals working in this
field, and they continue to inspire and encourage me”.

Contact Sue at

Morgan Ineson
AER Canadian Support Professional

Morgan recently joined AER in November 2008. In her new
role with AER she will be working closely with Chapter
presidents to help increase membership and improve
benefits for Canadian AER members.
Morgan is also currently the Manager of National Service
Development with CNIB. She holds a Bachelor's degree from
the University of Toronto in biology and social anthropology,
and is continuing her studies at Ryerson University in
disability studies. As part of her work at CNIB, Morgan have
been involved in many initiatives including facilitating
workshops for seniors about vision disability and aging,
assisting in social research projects on accessibility and
employment, managing the SCORE summer program, and
teaching leadership and advocacy skills to disabled youth.

Contact Morgan at

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