A national conference focusing on the literacy needs of individuals with visual impairments.

December 6-9, 2017New Orleans, Louisiana
Getting in Touch with Literacy 2017

Getting In Touch With Literacy 2017



The History of the Getting In Touch With Literacy Conference

Literacy for individuals with visual impairments is an area of increasing interest. At one time, the subject was just one of many diverse topics discussed at general conferences. But for the past 15 years, a group of professionals and individuals with visual impairments has organized a conference devoted specifically to this topic...

In 1993, professionals and individuals with visual impairments in Little Rock, Arkansas decided to organize a topical conference to focus specifically on issues related to literacy. The conference, called Getting In Touch With Literacy was planned by a grass roots committee and held with great success in Little Rock.

Since 1993, this conference has been held every other year. It is not sponsored by any one group or organization but instead is embraced by professionals in a variety of organizations within one community. Each conference committee has the responsibility to make a decision about where the next conference will be held. The following communities have organized and sponsored the literacy conference in the past:

  • 1993 Little Rock, Arkansas
  • 1995 Austin, Texas
  • 1997 Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • 1999 San Francisco, California
  • 2001 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 2003 Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • 2005 Denver, Colorado
  • 2007 St. Pete Beach, Florida
  • 2009 Costa Mesa, California
  • 2011 Louisville, Kentucky
  • 2013 Providence, Rhode Island
  • 2015 Albuquerque, New Mexico

Noted presenters from both the vision and general literacy fields through the years have included Ruby Ryles, Fred Schroeder, Carl Augusto, Sharon Sacks, Judith Dixon, David Warren, Donna McNear, Kay Ferrell, Sally Mangold, Linda Jones, Karen Wolffe, Frances Mary D'Andrea, Amanda Hall Lueck, Jamie Dote-Kwan, Jeffrey Senge, Anne Corn, Ike Presley, Cay Holbrook, Alan Koenig, Eileen Curran, Bernadette Kappan, Denis Schreiber, Barbara Paten Maurer, Reid Lyon, Barbara Miles, Brian Cambourne, Phil Hatlen, Linda Mamer, Diane Wormsley, Ann MacCuspie, Kevin Sterwart, Karen Karsh, Betty Zaborowski, Deborah Hatton, Lisa Fittipaldi, Erik Weihenmeyer, Susan Spungin, Barbara Foorman, Michael Melor, Diane Croft, Jeff Bohrman, Jag Einhorn and Paul Malloy.

Key Beliefs of the Getting In Touch With Literacy Conference

Literacy is liberating. It opens doors, enlarges the world and makes life richer and more meaningful. Reading impacts us in a way that no other art form - or life skill - can duplicate. It touches all areas of our lives.

We believe:

  1. It is important to focus on all areas of literacy including braille, print, combination of braille and print, use of assistive technology and other literacy tools, research, practice. The conference is not a "braille literacy conference" though some have tried to define it as such — it is a conference that includes underlying respect for all forms of literacy. It is the belief of conference organizers that individuals with visual impairments have a right to respect for the use of all literacy tools.
  2. A range of age levels and all ability levels should be addressed. Presentations are encouraged that deal with topics related to infants and toddlers, school aged students, and adults. Both conventional and functional literacy issues are included.
  3. Conference committees raise funds and solicit sponsorship in order to keep registration costs for conference participants as low as possible. Because this conference is most valuable to those who provide direct service to individuals with visual impairments, every effort should be made to keep registration and lodging costs reasonable for teachers of students with visual impairments and rehabilitation teachers. Sponsorship of various aspects of the conference (speakers, meals and breaks, printing, etc) helps keep conference expenses as low as possible. Proceeds from the Getting In Touch With Literacy conference should be used to support the on-going planning of this conference in future years. Therefore, all conference proceeds will be sent ahead to the next conference planning committee to continue support for an affordable conference.

©2017 Getting in Touch With Literacy. All Rights Reserved