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Anat Baniel, founder of Anat Baniel Method® NeuroMovement®, and author of Kids Beyond Limits, San Rafael, CA

Anat Baniel, founder of Anat Baniel Method® NeuroMovement®, is the author of two highly acclaimed books, Move Into Life: NeuroMovement® for Lifelong Vitality and Kids Beyond Limits. Anat was trained as a clinical psychologist, dancer, and was a close professional associate of Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais for over a decade. In 1982 Anat Baniel moved to New York City where she quickly developed a practice working with babies and young children; with musicians; with athletes and with adults suffering back pain, injury, etc. She also began teaching seminars and professional training programs worldwide. Anat Baniel’s work with children with special needs is world-renown, applauded by parents, health professionals, and those at the cutting edge of the neurosciences. Increasing numbers of leading brain scientists, medical doctors, and others in the helping professions are enthusiastically endorsing Anat Baniel Method (ABM) NeuroMovement® for her work with adults, as well as with children with special needs.

Dr. Lauren Lieberman, Professor, The College of Brockport, State University of New York

Dr. Lauren Lieberman is a distinguished service professor at The College at Brockport, State University of New York.  She is an internationally recognized presenter and a widely published author of research articles and books. Her sessions at Texas Focus 2018 will concentrate on ensuring access to sports and physical activities, whether in PE class, school sports teams, or the community, for all students with disabilities. She is also Director of Camp Abilities Brockport, a camp that seeks to to empower children and teens with visual impairments to be physically active and productive members of their schools, towns, cities, and communities, as well as to improve the health and well-being of people with sensory impairments. 

Larry L. Lewis, President of Flying Blind, LLC, Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Founded in May of 2006, Flying Blind. LLC is a US-Based (Ohio) Limited Liability Company whose mission is to empower persons who are vision impaired with the necessary Adaptive Technology Solutions to make them independent and efficient in unlimited capacities. Flying Blind, LLC's founder, Mr. Larry L. Lewis, Jr., has over fifteen years of practical experience serving the Adaptive Technology Industry in a variety of capacities which include domestic and international product management and sales management roles with companies that have rich histories in developing speech and Braille solutions for the Adaptive Technology Industry. Mr. Lewis is congenitally blind and attributes his successes to Braille literacy, which has enabled him to develop the skill sets necessary to start his own company, a boyhood dream which finally became a reality in May of 2006

Kassandra Maloney, Yoga Instructor and author of Yoga for Children with Visual and Multiple Impairments, Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired, Austin, TX

Kassandra is a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist and Yoga Teacher at Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired where she has worked for the past 10 years. She  became a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance and then a Radiant Child Yoga Teacher in 2010 and never looked back! Since then, she has been teaching yoga and movement to students at TSBVI where she combines her passions for orientation and mobility and yoga as she works with students with visual impairments! Last year her first book, Yoga for Children with Visual Impairments was published by TSBVI.  Kassandra is also an avid blogger and shares her thoughts and tips on orientation and mobility, yoga, and other topics.

Dr. Michael McLinden,  author of Learning Through Touch: Supporting Children with Visual Impairments and Additional Difficulties and Professor in Education, University of Birmingham, UK

Michael is concerned with the inclusion of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. He is co-Director of the Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research(VICTAR) in the Department of Disability Inclusion and Special Needs (DISN) at the University of Birmingham and programme lead for the professional development courses in visual impairment. Approximately 100 part time students are registered on programmes offered within the centre, making it the largest single provider of specialist courses in this field in Europe. His book, Learning Through Touch, was written to assist teachers and other professionals who support children with visual impairment and additional difficulties and examines the role of touch in developing effective teaching and learning.

Dr. Elina Mullen, Physical Education Instructor, Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired, Austin, TX

Elina was born in Mombasa, Kenya, East Africa and was trained as a licensed teacher in Kenya and obtained a Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and Doctorate in Education, in the United States of America, in physical education, planning and administration and implementation of physical education programs for the total population. Elina has worked as a teacher at the elementary and high school level.  She also lectured at Kenyatta University College, a teacher training facility in Kenya, East Africa and at many institutions and functions about the topic of physical education.  Elina is currently working as a Certified Adapted Physical Educator at Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and is a Consultant in the area of adapted physical education for the multi-handicapped in its Outreach Department.  She is also in much demand as an in-service training presenter.

Patty Obrzut, OTR and Assistant Director of Penrickton Center for Blind Children, Taylor, MI

Penrickton Center for Blind Children is a unique, private non-profit agency, providing five-day residential, day care, and consultation/evaluation services to blind, multi-disabled children ages one through twelve. Patty joined Penrickton Center in 1987 as the Occupational Therapist and after attending a conference in 1992 given by Dr. Lilli Nielsen, began her study of Active Learning. During the following years, she attended over ten conferences given by Dr. Nielsen and developed a personal relationship with her. Immediately after implementing Active Learning techniques at Penrickton Center, staff saw changes in the independent activity of the children. As a result Dr. Nielsen was invited to provide training for staff and eventually Patty spent several weeks in Denmark with Dr. Nielsen observing Active Learning techniques in action. Finally, in 2002, Dr. Nielson granted Patty permission to lecture on techniques of Active Learning. In addition to her responsibilities at Penrickton Patty lectures nationally and contributes regularly to the development of the website, Active Learning Space, collaboratively developed by Penrickton Center for Blind Children, Perkins School for the Blind and Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired.

Athena Oden, Pediatric Physical Therapist and author of the Ready Bodies Learning Minds, San Antonio, TX

Athena is widely known in Texas and across the US for her down to earth approach to teaching, and the practical and powerful nature of the Ready Bodies, Learning Minds program. Whether it is a presentation to hundreds of therapists, or on the floor with children in a Ready Bodies Motor Lab, Athena is driven by the sincere desire to apply her knowledge to help those that choose to work with her. She is a professional and engaging speaker and an experienced therapist with a clear mission: To help children perform at their peak, and to help therapists, teachers and parents understand the fundamental issues involved with sensory integration, motor skills, learning and performance. 

Karen Ranus, Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Austin, TX

Karen is the Director of NAMI in Austin.  NAMI's goal is to improve the lives of all persons affected by serious mental illness by providing support, education, and advocacy throughout the Metropolitan area of Austin, Texas to individuals and families affected by mental illness. Founded in 1984, NAMI Austin is dedicated to supporting the inclusion of individuals with mental illness throughout the organization. They provide guidance, coordination and resources to promote communication and education in Central Texas.

Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy, Director of the Pediatric View Program, Western Pennsylvania Hospital, Pittsburg, PA

Christine Roman-Lantzy received degrees in Elementary Education and Special Education/Visual Impairment at Michigan State Universi and worked as an itinerant teacher of the visually impaired in the greater Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area for 17 years prior to becoming a Research Assistant in the Vision Studies Program at the University of Pittsburgh. She also completed studies in Orientation & Mobility and received a Master’s Degree in Medically Fragile/High Risk Infants. Dr. Roman-Lantzy is the Director of The Pediatric View Program at The Western Pennsylvania Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA and a former Project Leader of the CVI Project at The American Printing House for the Blind in Louisville, KY. She has lectured extensively regarding the CVI educational materials she has developed and the books she has written that have been published by The American Foundation for the Blind.

Dr. L. Penny Rosenblum, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Dr. Rosenblum is a Professor of Practice in the Department of Disability and Psychoeducational Studies at the University of Arizona where she joined the faculty in August 1999. From 1999 to 2016 she prepared teachers to work with children with visual impairments (TVIs). During that time she coordinated teacher preparation programs in Arizona and Nevada.  In July 2016 she became the Project Director for an Institute of Education Sciences (IES) federal project Animal Watch Vi: Building Graphics Literacy, a follow-up project to the 4 year AnimalWatch-VI Suite. Both projects aim to support youth with visual impairments in building their ability to be successful in pre-alegbra math word problem solving skills so they have the skills to suceed in algebra and beyond. As a person with low vision, Dr. Rosenblum is able to share first-hand information with future teachers about the impact of a visual impairment on the lives of children and adults. Dr. Rosenblum has been a teacher of children with visual impairments and multiple disabilities in Pennsylvania (2 years), South Carolina (3 years), and Arizona (3 years). Currently she is providing family education services on a part-time basis for the Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and Blind. 

Dr. Neil Sharp, ABM Practioner, ABM Center, San Rafael, California

Neil Sharp trained as an M.D. at Cambridge University and Edinburgh University Medical School. He worked in the United Kingdom as a doctor before leaving medicine to pursue a career in music as an opera singer, musical director, and violinist. Neil began training with Anat Baniel in 2004 and moved to the U.S. in 2007 to work as an ABM Practitioner at the ABM Center in San Rafael, California.

Monica Turner, Field Services Representative, American Printing House for the Blind, Louisville, KY

Monica is a Field Services Representative for APH where she provides presentations on APH products, product exhibitions, and inservice events centering on students and their families. The American Printing House for the Blind gives serious consideration to ideas for products that improve the lives of persons who are blind and visually impaired, especially product ideas that support Core and/or Expanded Core Curricula, since both are essential to the education of students and clients who are blind or visually impaired.

Heather Withrow, Deaf Blogger, Artist, Coach, and Mother of a Deaf and a DeafBlindSonand Hearing Daughter, Austin, TX

Hearther is a former Teaching Fellow in Visual Arts at Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center and studied Orientation & Mobility at Texas Tech University. However her most important credential is as a mother to two sons (one deaf and the other DeafBlind) and a hearing daughter.  Heather brings her personal experience as a parent and as a person who is deaf in thinking about how parents can support their child in becoming more active. She is also a dedicated blogger (A Mom's Musings) sharing her experience in raising Orion, her son with DeafBlindness.