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By Laura Bostick Adair, HAPVI President, Houston
Abstract: Read about the parent support group that is active in the Houston area.
Keywords: Family, blind, deafblind, support group, Houston
The Houston Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (HAPVI) is a network of parents of children with visual impairments, with or without other disabilities, in the greater Houston area. Our goal is to provide support, resources, educational opportunities, and fellowship to families dealing with blindness issues. HAPVI is an affiliate of the National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI) (www.spedex.com/napvi) and of TAPVI - the Texas statewide NAPVI affiliate (www.tapvi.org).
HAPVI started out as the Texas Commission for the Blind (TCB) Parent Network in 1995, and later became an active chapter of NAPVI. HAPVI offered monthly educational and social opportunities for members. After several years, some board members moved away, and the group stopped meeting. Then in 2004, a few new families interested in starting a parent support group contacted Alison Rickerl, former HAPVI co-founder and now NAPVI Region 5 Representative, and HAPVI was reborn!
Our first HAPVI event was a social gathering on April 24, 2004. "Picnic in the Park" was held in the Challenger Seven Memorial Park, and it was a great success. There were eleven adults (including two grandparents and a TCB/DARS caseworker!), six blind or visually impaired children, and one sibling in attendance.
Our first HAPVI general educational meeting was on August 26, 2004, at the Clear Lake United Methodist Church. Colleen Davis, a La Porte ISD teacher of students with visual impairments (TVI), spoke on the topic "How Will My Child Learn to Read?" She talked about the roles of classroom teachers and TVIs in teaching children to read, the reading process, and special considerations in learning to read Braille. Jean Robinson traveled all the way from the Austin area to tell us about TSBVI (Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired) services. In addition to Colleen and Jean, ten parents, two Lighthouse of Houston employees, two children with visual impairments, and four siblings attended. Childcare and refreshments were provided. Colleen and Jean answered questions and handed out materials, and Colleen was very generous in giving away a lot of the Braille books she brought with her in a drawing!
Our next HAPVI event is on September 29, 2004, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Region IV Education Center. The topic is "How Assistive Technology Can Impact Braille Literacy." Mr. Jim Sullivan of Optelec (USA) will be on hand to discuss the importance of Braille Literacy and to give those in attendance a first hand look at the Mountbatten Braille Writer and the Jot a Dot. This will be a very informal open house atmosphere where parents and children can get hands on experience with the equipment.
If you live in the Houston area, and you are interested in joining HAPVI, please contact one of the board members:
Laura Bostick Adair, President, (281) 648-6459, email@example.com
Alison Rickerl, Vice President, (281) 286-9820, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rick Taylor, Secretary, (281) 218-9196, Rick.Taylor@Honeywell.com
If you would like to join a Texas parent support group, but you do not live in the Houston area, please contact the Texas Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (TAPVI):
12801 Midway RD Suite 212
Dallas, TX 75244
Toll free: 866-99-TAPVI (82784)
No one understands the needs and concerns of a parent of a child with a visual impairment like another parent does. I urge you to join a parent support group. There are plenty of parents willing to help you, and many others who may need your help. Together we are stronger.
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