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Early Connections Conference

"Taking Care of Our Children…Taking Care of Ourselves"

Parenting young children can be daunting; parenting young children with visual impairments, with or without additional disabilities, adds a whole new layer of worry and insecurity. The Early Connections Conference sought to give those parents, and the professionals who work with their children, tools and information to smooth the way. Thanks to all participants – parents, professionals, session leaders and staff – the day was a rousing success, with 77 families and a total of 206 attendees.

Special thanks go out to keynote speaker Susan LaVenture, Executive Director of NAPVI. Susan’s youngest son, now a doctor, is visually impaired. With that as well as more than 20 years working on behalf of parents of children with visual impairments, Susan was a natural fit for this conference.

The conference allowed parents to connect with others like them, sharing stories and ideas while learning new techniques for helping their children develop. From "make and take" activities, to calming strategies, to adaptive equipment for feeding and eating and much more, both parents and professionals came away from the day with new strategies and renewed excitement. This annual event will come around again next year. Follow Perkins for registration information in early 2015.

Here’s what participants liked best:

  • The parent-to-parent support group, by far!
  • The people – it feels nice to be loved and welcomed to the Perkins family.
  • It was well-organized and had a lot of relevant sessions.
  • The hands-on activities.
  • Lovely place – amazing professionals – tremendous opportunity!
  • It was well-organized and had a lot of relevant sessions.
  • That a social worker conducted a session about teaching your child about their disability.
  • The variety of learning and opportunities – warm and knowledgeable staff.
  • Talking with other families – my kids always love the children’s programs!
  • It was a great day!