Learning Ally Blog: Access and Achievement


Now more than ever, people with learning and visual disabilities are flourishing in the classroom, launching productive careers and becoming assets in their communities. This blog spotlights remarkable individuals who demonstrate that having a visual or print disability is no barrier to educational success.

Notes from the Road: NFB Convention
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Seth, a winner at Learning Ally's giveaway at the NFB Conference 2011 "What's new at Learning Ally?" is the question our team always fields at conferences and on the road. Everyone wants to know about our new App for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices, and how our new membership model will work going forward. National Federation of the Blind (NFB) in Orlando, Florida was one of our many stops this summer. The NFB National Convention held July 3-8, brought together 3,000 people who came to learn about technology, advocacy and services for people with visual impairments. Learning Ally presented at the National Association of Blind Students meeting to more than 250 people. We also met with individuals at our booth and held four giveaways awarding  iTunes gift cards to lucky visitors (including young Sheth, at right).
Along with many new families, a great many college-age members stopped by Learning Ally's conference booth to say hello and hear the latest news. Their top two questions were about our new name and the new Apple app.
Cooper Alexander demonstrates Learning Ally's iPad app at the National Federation of the Blind's 2011 conferenceAt left, Cooper Alexander, 13 and visually impaired, traveled with us to help present the Learning Ally Audio App on his iPad. He showed visitors how accessibility on the most popular Apple products makes the App a great tool for those with visual impairments.
Many attendees wanted to know more about our recent name change and commented that they would always remember us as "RFB" or "RFB&D." Since the organization was founded more than 60 years ago with a mission to provide equal access to the printed word for blind and visually impaired individuals, this outlook is common and expected among our long term members. As Learning Ally, we are more committed to this mission than ever, while positioning the organization to be even more inclusive of all who have reading disabilities.
Next, Learning Ally attended the Arkansas Alternative Education Conference from July 10-13, 2011 along with around 350-400 teachers. The conference is aimed to help students who have had disciplinary problems in the general education classroom and are now in an alternative setting. Funding through the Verizon Foundation helped Learning Ally establish 15 institutional memberships in Arkansas schools. In the fall, our team will hold webinars with these schools to help them get familiarized and ramp up using the program with their students.
   -Reported by Jenny Falke, Terrie Noland and Mary Alexander

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