December, 2020 Issue 3
This newsletter is meant to provide updates on technologies, resources and strategies to support students with Visual Impairments.
“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision” 
Helen Keller
Superintendent Ernest E. Garrett III
Upcoming Events
Director's Message
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays
When I was teaching, December was one of the fun months. Everyone was so excited about the holidays. It was so hard to get my students to focus on their work. The conversations were on decorations, Christmas trees, and gifts. I still have all of the gifts the students gave me during each Christmas. It was a sweet time of the year. I miss those days and the teachers I worked with in Grant parish.
I know COVID has changed how our classrooms look. I know this has been a year of challenges for each of you. I want to encourage you today by reminding you that there aren't many Teachers of the Blind in Louisiana. You are rare and so incredibly important to your students and their families. You are standing in the gap making sure your students have access to high-quality instruction and materials. It's a challenging job that only a few choose to volunteer for. Thank you for your time, energy, sacrifice, and most of all patience.
My thoughts are with you this holiday season. I hope you are able to get some much-needed rest and have a special time with your families.

Contact Information: (225)757-3477 | [email protected]
Book Orders
 Angola Braille Prison Program
La-AEM and Louisiana Department of Corrections have partnered to create a braille prison program at Angola State Prison. My dream for this program became a reality last December but was stopped in March due to COVID.
The responses for the Braille class at Angola were high, from which 25 offenders were selected to participate. We started instructing, mentoring, and grading assignments as they worked through the NLS Transcribing Certification that is offered through the National Federation of the Blind and Library of Congress.
The goal was to build the state's capacity to provide braille materials and textbooks to students in Louisiana. The classes will resume in Angola this month. They have been working independently during the break. I can't wait to see which lessons they are on. My thoughts have been with them often. I've wondered how they are doing through this epidemic. I imagine that it has been difficult and scary.
This program started because I wanted a way for students to have better access to braille. I have realized from working with Angola how much this program means to the men that are learning braille. These men have never seen braille. They are excited and eager to be a part of this program. It's an incredible opportunity for them to give back but more importantly to have a purpose. I am starting a blog that I hope you will want to follow. I will be telling our story!
World Braille Day January 4, 2021
Happy Birthday Louis Braille
January 4th, 2021 is the day we celebrate World Braille Day. This is Louis Braille's birthday. Louis was born in 1809 in France and became blind after a childhood accident. When Louis was only 15 years old, he created a reading and writing system based on 6 dots. We call this system Braille.
This day is a reminder to us all of the importance of having access to the world. Individuals who are blind have access to print because of braille. This access allows them to live an independent life. It starts in school and having access to textbooks and materials that support learning independently. It continues as they transition into jobs and independently living. This day reminds the world how important braille is and the independence it provides individuals.
Free Equipment and Materials
Center for Assistive Technology Training (CATT)
The Center for Assistive Technology Training (CATT) Project is a collaboration between the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) and AIDB. The federal appropriation for the CATT is $2 Million. Our goal through this program is to pair the provision of assistive technology devices to students who are Blind/Visually Impaired with training. This training is for the student using the devices, the teachers working with the students, and the family members that are a part of the student’s life. Devices are purchased through APH and training is provided through AIDB employed trainers. Although the initial participants will be mostly from the state of Alabama, the CATT project is charged with working in a nine-state region that includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
Lisa Bonner, Center for Assistive Technology Assistant – [email protected]
Jill Dunaway, Center for Assistive Technology Specialist – [email protected]
Susie Thomas, Center for Assistive Technology Specialist – [email protected] 
National Federation for the Blind
NLS Transcribing Certification Program
Are you thinking about continuing your education? Can I recommend getting an NLS Transcribing Certification in UEB? National Foundation for the Blind (NFB) in partnership with National Library Sevice (NLS) is offering the course to become certified at no cost.
To get more information and apply for the program visit NFB's website
    Association for Education & Rehabilitation for the Blind & Visually Impaired (AER)
AER is having Dining in the Dark event at Baton Rouge Marriott, March 27, 2021, 5:00 - 10:00 p.m for $60. AER aims to support professionals in the vision field by providing face-to-face conferences, publications, and professional development opportunities. 
Louisiana Resources
LA-Accessible Educational Materials
225-757-3478| [email protected]