By Anisio Correia, M.Ed., Vision Rehabilitation Consultant
After a long four-year break, the 2022 AER (Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired) International Conference took place in person at the historic Union Station Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri from July 20 to 24, 2022. The 611 registered attendees enjoyed the return of real hugs and in-person networking instead of the Zoom meetings and virtual hugs experienced during the peak of the pandemic.
This year’s program offered a variety of workshops on topics of interest, including the latest on services for children and students, teens, and adults seeking employment, and those involved in the provision of services to older people who wish to age in place with independence and dignity.
During the business meeting held among AER members, a number of resolutions were approved to advance the wellbeing of those who receive services. Approved resolutions included calls for improved mental health services; safety of clients enrolled in rehabilitation programs; and a call for AER to establish a taskforce to study the challenges and opportunities of incorporating Occupational Therapists into the continuum of vision rehabilitation services.
The membership also honored and recognized those individuals and groups who made an impact in the field of vision rehabilitation and education. The 2022 AER Award Winners are as follows:
Ambrose M. Shotwell Award: Recognizing outstanding contributions to the rehabilitation of adults who are blind or visually impaired: Dr. Priscilla Rogers
Mary K. Bauman Award: For outstanding contributions to the education of children who are blind or visually impaired: Susan A. Osterhaus
Alfred Allen Award: Recognizing a career in providing direct services to individuals with visual impairment: Jennifer Coy
Warren Bledsoe Award: Recognizing noteworthy contributions to literature in the field of blindness and visual impairment: Rachel Rosenbaum
Douglas C. MacFarland Award: In honor of “leadership in the field of blindness and visual impairment and contributions to the education and rehabilitation of people who are visually impaired:” Mary Nelle McLennan
John H. McAulay Award: In honor of outstanding achievement leading to the placement of individuals with visual impairments in employment: Dr. Ian Shadrick
Richard L. Welsh Chapter Leadership Award: “For outstanding efforts in AER chapter leadership:” Vincent McVeigh
Outstanding AER Chapter Award: Honoring “outstanding efforts in providing services to its members:” AER Dakotas Chapter
For additional information about the conference and about AER, visit the AER website here.