February, 2021 Issue 5
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
Here's to 2021
2020 was a year full of challenges. In my 25 years, I haven't experienced anything like it. My staff and I are very proud of each one of you. As I visit school systems and talk to teachers, I know that it hasn't been easy. But you have each persevered. I want to remind you that my staff and I are here to provide support to you and your students. We have been busy here at LA-AEM. My staff and I have been working to make sure we have all the ELA Guidebooks, unit readers, and student materials in accessible formats. We will be adding E-Pub files this year to our collection.
Book ordering will be different this year. We are finally able to offer a secure on-line ordering system. We will be providing mandatory training on how to place book orders for the 2021-22 school year. This will be the system you use to order all books and materials. It's an exciting opportunity for our state and Special School District (SSD). This new ordering system puts you in charge of your requests.
Let's put this past year behind us and look forward to the next year as it approaches.

Contact Information: (225)757-3477 | [email protected]
Book Orders
New Book & Educational Ordering
Louisiana Department of Education is partnering with Special School District to enhance the capabilities of LA-AEM's Instructional Center. We will now be of providing an online ordering system. Every LEA will use this new system to place orders starting in March for the 2021-21 school year. LA-AEM will host a training on February 25th for all personnel responsible for ordering materials for their LEAs. You must participate in training to have access to the ordering system. We will be supporting you as you order this year using the new system.
Angola Braille Prison
Class on Angola's campus for NLS Transcribing has resumed. The program is designed to allow participants to work at their own pace. We are encouraged by the progress they are making in their lessons. This program is off to a great start despite the closure this year. We know that this group of transcribing candidates will be able to support my department for the 2021-21 school year. We have several students that have reached lesson 9 or higher. They are committing themselves to the completion of this certification. They are now able to work on their lessons in the evening and on weekends. Due to the overwhelming support and appreciation for this program, the Department of Corrections and Warden Easley are allowing class participants to work on their lessons in the evening and on weekends. This project is a true collaborative partnership focused on success.
Helen Keller National Center
Free Online Courses for Professionals who are working with Individuals who are Deaf-Blind
HKNC hopes that you are well and staying safe. The COVID-19 virus has had an impact on how we live, provide services to consumers and continue to develop our skills as professionals. As our partners, we would like to say thank you for all you have been doing and extend the opportunity to access our online courses free of charge until further notice.
Courses Offered: Access class catalog
Questions or interest in online courses (codes): contact Brenda Baroncelli
Free Equipment and Materials
Students at Harahan Elementary in Jefferson Parish celebrate as their equipment starts arriving from CATT program. Let's give a shout out to Nancy and her assistant Kathy for taking the time to complete the application.
A family in New Orleans is celebrating today. Their daughter has a new embosser, a PageBlaster, to use as she does school virtually thanks to the CATT program. This embosser is hers. It isn't on loan. Another success story!

It's not too late to apply! Think about how you can empower a student with equipment that belongs to them.
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
Jill Dunaway, Center for Assistive Technology Specialist
Susie Thomas, Center for Assistive Technology Specialist
National Association of Blind Students (NABS)
NABS is hosting a virtual event on March 19-21, 2021. This virtual program is dedicated to equipping students with the knowledge and expertise to emulate their authentic selves in all facets of life, including academic settings, the workplace, and social environments. We know that the year 2020 has taken a toll on the mental health of our members, many of whom have experienced difficulties maintaining their academic successes, social groups or environments, and even parts of their identities. Our program, rife with interactive activities, guest speakers, and opportunities to grow, aims to help each and every attendee reaffirm the elements of their authentic self. After all, we wouldn’t be a division full of diversity without the unparalleled qualities of our members.

Register by March 1, 2021.
National Federation for the Blind
2021 State Convention
Dates: July 6 - 11, 2021
Location: New Orleans, LA
More Details Coming Soon
 Family Learning & Fun Week
Join LSDVI for FREE virtual workshops & fun sessions geared towards families with Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Blind, and Visually Impaired children ages 0-6 
  • Live presenter workshops
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Move & Groove
  • Family Social
  • Visits from Vendors
  • Pre K Meet and Greet

Dates: March 8-13, 2021
Location: Virtual at LSDVI
Pam Allen
Pam Allen is the Director of Louisiana Center for the Blind (LCB), President of the NFB of Louisiana, and Chairperson and Vice President of the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind. Pam is an incredible resource for our state. I've reached out to her many times for advice and support. All programs offered at LCB reflect Pam's beliefs that academics achievements and Braille fluency lead to lifelong independence. Students in Louisiana can attend Summer Camps, Student Seminars, NFB Bell Academy, and Saturday Club. For more information on resources at LCB visit their website
Louisiana Resources
LA-Accessible Educational Materials
225-757-3478| [email protected]