Welcome to Virginia AER!


AER Virginia Chapter Newsletters

Double Brace: April 12-18 is Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapists (CVRT) week.    This time is set aside to recognize, honor and celebrate the important and varied work of vision rehabilitation therapists.  Attached are pictures of instructors (many are AER members),  who are CVRT’s or support the work of CVRTs in lots of interesting ways.





The VSDB egg hunt was in today’s newspaper with more extensive pictures and a video on the link below.  I can’t thank you all enough for making this possible!!!!  Do be sure to watch the video – Caleb sums it all up!!!!  I’m sorry more credit wasn’t given to AER as I did stress that it was made possible because of you guys, but I also told them it wasn’t about us – it was about the kids when they asked me to interview!!!  Our flyer did have your name and logo!!!

Click here for pictures and video!




2015-2016 Grants

awarded at the Virginia AER General Membership Meeting

at the 2015 Virginia AER Vision Conference


Teresa Bozman received a Virginia AER grant to help her conduct “LIVING SKILLS CAMP: YOUR ROAD TO INDEPENDENCE ACTIVITIES” for select older students in Virginia Beach to address Extended Core Curriculum goals beyond the regular school hours.   Click here to view her practical list of activities for each Saturday of this camp.

Lisa Auwarter received a grant for her Beeping Easter Egg Party (B.E.E.P.!) for the infants, toddlers and youth in Staunton area and at the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind, a residential school in Staunton.  This creation of audible Easter Eggs hunt mirrors similar events in Roanoke, Virginia Beach, Fredericksburg and other places.  Lisa says, “This is a fantastic opportunity to enhance social skills, orientation and mobility skills (listening and sound localization and independent movement in open space, concept development) for our students with visual impairments and blindness.  The children will also be able to participate in adapted art activities and games during this time as well.” 

Grant and Stipend Application are reviewed quarterly: March 30, June 30, September 30, and December 30th.


Audible Easter EggVirginia AER grant recipients and chapter members Cathy Lauver and Mary Kay Brown appeared on the Morning Show (Fox), WSLS (NBC), and WDBJ7 (CBS)  to promote their first annual Audible Egg Hunt for the Roanoke Valley. This was designed to provide children with visual impairments access to this popular springtime activity.  Over two dozen organizations and 30 volunteers supported the event on Saturday, April 19th.  


The local division of the International Association of Bomb   Technicians and Investigators assembled the eggs.  Home Depot sponsored an Easter Bunny and a tactile craft for the children to enjoy.  Organizing this event raised community awareness about blindness and visual impairments, gave families of children with visual impairments an event designed just for them, and provided an opportunity for these families to meet and interact with each other.




2018 Virginia AER

Awards Nomination

Guidelines and Form


Virginia AER established two awards at the Annual State Vision Conference, 2012 in Williamsburg to honor and recognize the accomplishments of a fellow colleague or group of colleagues.  Nominations are now being accepted for the 2018 Dominion Award of Excellence and the Mason Award of Leadership.  The recipients will be announced at this year’s annual conference in Glen Allen, Virginia.



This award honors a Virginia AER member for outstanding achievement in the field of work for the blind and visually impaired.  A small group of members united for a specific purpose may be considered and share a single award.

DOMINION Award Criteria:

  • A person or group whose unique achievements have benefited citizens of Virginia who are visually impaired.
  • A person or group whose achievements have exceeded the expectations of their particular job description.
  • A person or group who has been innovative in the field of education, rehabilitation or human services.
  • A person or group who has had an impact on the field that extends beyond current or former job placement.
  • A person or group who has positively altered attitudes towards visual impairment or the manner in which services are delivered to individuals who are visually impaired.
  • A person or group who has demonstrated extensive collaborations with other disciplines or organizations working with people who are visually impaired in order to enhance their overall quality of the life.

The Dominion Award of Excellence Nomination Form



This award recognizes a Virginia AER member who has demonstrated exemplary leadership in the field of work for the blind and visually impaired.  A small group of members united for a specific purpose may be considered and share a single award.

MASON Award Criteria:

  • A person or group whose unique achievements have benefited citizens of Virginia who are visually impaired.
  • A person or group who achievements have brought about innovative changes in our field.
  • A person or group who has provided outstanding leadership to our field.
  • A person or group who has improved services to programming and quality of life to individuals with a visual impairment.

Nomination Guidelines:

  • Each nomination must be made using the form provided
  • Each submission must include:
    • Completed nomination form
    • At least one other supporting document, such as
      • a letter of recommendation from an administrator or co-worker
      • a letter of support from a parent, student, or client
      • a published item reporting the nominee’s accomplishments
  • The nominator must be a member Virginia AER.        
  • The nominee has to be a Virginia AER member.     
  • Current Virginia AER Board members are NOT eligible for nomination.

The Board of the Virginia AER grants only one Dominion Award and one Mason Award each year.


The Mason Award of Service Nomination Form


Past News

April 2012

From the AER VA Chapter President....

The Virginia Chapter just held another successful conference, held March 21 -23 in historic Williamsburg, Virginia. Approximately 200 people attended to hear speakers such as Dr. Frances Mary D'Andrea and Ike Presley at the "Working Together, Making History" conference. Co-sponsored with the Virginia Department of Education and The Virginia Project for Children and Young Adults with Deaf-Blindness, the conference put an emphasis on fun as well as learning: Corey and LaQuita Staten started the conference off with Talking Drums; Timothy Seaman played the hammered dulcimer during exhibits; and two rooms offered a jazz option and a Rock n' Roll option at the social. Returning speakers included Korey Singleton, Anna Swensen, Holly Lawson, and Amy Salmon covering topics ranging from technology and braille to assessment. Many thanks to the numerous speakers and exhibitors for making our conference a success!

A new addition to our conference was an awards presentation. Bruce Rudd coordinated this effort and the Chapter gave two awards: The Old Dominion Award of Excellence and the Mason Award. Congratulations to Lee Ann Armbruster and Kim Avila, our award participants. A certificate and check were given to these two deserving professionals.


The Chapter offers grants as a benefit to its members, and one grant was used by Lori Floyd to host a beeping Easter Egg Hunt in Martinsville (see phototo the left). Everyone had a great time! Thanks to Lori and others for making this a success. 

Our membership drive has increased our membership over 25% this year. Activities included offering regional trainings, rebates towards renewal fees for referring new members, and rebates for new members. Members also benefitted from reduced conference fees. We are happy to welcome our new members while appreciating the participation of our tried-and-true "old-timers."


We are looking forward to our next year!
Submitted by Julie Kay, president of VA AER


From the AER VA Chapter President.....

The VA AER conference is just around the corner! Mark your calendars for the March 21- 23 conference to be held in historic Williamsburg at the Williamsburg Hospitality House. Go to our Conferences/Events page to register for this exciting conference and lovely hotel.

Nominations for the board positions are coming up! Michael Triplett, immediate past President of VA AER, will be sending out that information later this week. Voting will be done before and during the conference, with elected members announced on the Friday of the conference.

We are going to have awards this year! Bruce Rudd, another past president of VA AER, is leading this initiative. Be on the lookout in early February information on how to nominate an outstanding VA AER member.

Who says there isn’t a free lunch? There was one for VA AER members when Meg Walker and Kara Hackney hosted Korey Singleton for iOS Accessibility: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch training in Staunton! Thirty people attended; woo-hoo! December 3rd was a busy day for VA AER members! Barbara McCarthy and Michael Triplett hosted the same training in Richmond on December 3rd. After member Sara Henry called suggesting that training be held in Bristol, Meg Walker and Margaret Tomasik took the bull by the horns and the training was held there! ACVREP credits are being awarded to those who attended.  

These are the new members who joined during these trainings: Karle Correll, Kit Burnett, Sadie Jones, Jamie Cvecich, Brenda Marion, April Gasper and Jim McCarthy. Welcome to all of you!  

Thanks to all of you who took the time to answer the survey. It will be used for planning the future of our state chapter. You gave us some outstanding ideas.  

Spread the word about our wonderful professional organization! Remember, for each new member you recruit, you will receive a $25 rebate from the VA chapter. If you recruit six new members before your renewal date, your membership will be FREE! People who join AER for the first time will also receive $25 off their membership fee; this offer is good up to the day before the March conference.  

One round of grant and stipend applications is done. Member Lori Floyd was awarded a grant to hold an Easter Egg Hunt this spring. Congratulations, Lori! Our spring applications are now being accepted. It is another financial incentive that we offer! Check it out: http://virginia.aerbvi.org/resources.htm  

Looking forward to seeing you in March!

Julie Kay VA AER President  



Previous News


Our teachers for the blind and visually impaired are struggling in so many counties trying to serve our kids...sometimes carrying caseloads of 40, 50+ kids at a time.  By transferring the responsibility for administering state funds that support teachers for the visually impaired to the Dept. of Ed. ....school divisions will receive more money that could be spent on special education and would have to establish a maximum instructional caseload size for teachers of the visually impaired.


Remember right now Visually Impaired is the ONLY special education category that does not have a maximum caseload for teachers...and the way it is worded does not specify who has the responsibility of setting those.


The more they hear from us...as parents...the more it will make an impact....if you have not mailed, emailed or faxed in your comments PLEASE DO SO.  Also please consider going to one of the remaining public comment forums...so far there has been at least 3 people who have addressed this particular issue during the public comment forums...2 parents in Chesterfield and one teacher in Norfolk....but that is not nearly enough!  If you have an opportunity to attend one of the public comment forums listed below it is a wonderful opportunity to express why this is so important.


It is very important for the citizens of Virginia to express their views to state and local officials and to their elected representatives.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW the comment that the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired sent to the Virginia Department of Education addressing the maximum instructional caseload size for Teachers of the Blind and Vision Impaired in the proposed "Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia (April 2008)."















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