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Texas Sense Abilities Newsletter

Spring 2014

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Sowell Center in Research and Education in Sensory Disabilities Distinguished Lecture Series 16th Annual Lecture

Rona Pogrund, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Texas Tech University

Abstract: Dr. Pogrund provides information on the upcoming 2014 Sowell Center Distinguished Lecture Series “Braille Boost”.

Key Words: Sowell Center Distinguished Lecture Series, BANA, Unified English Braille (UEB) Code Translation, Braille, Blind, Visually Impaired, Literacy

The 2014 Sowell Center Distinguished Lecture Series will be held on the Texas Tech University Campus in the Human Sciences Auditorium in Lubbock, Texas on Saturday, September 27, 2014. This year’s lecture is entitled: BRAILLE BOOST: Evidence-Based Instructional Strategies, Teaching Braille in a Team, and Unified English Braille (UEB) Code Transition. The distinguished lecturer is Frances Mary D’Andrea, Ph.D.  Dr. D’Andrea is an instructor at the University of Pittsburgh and an educational consultant specializing in literacy issues related to students with visual impairments. She is the current Chair of the Braille Authority of North America (BANA), the organization that endorsed the use of UEB in North America. Dr. D’Andrea worked at the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) for 10 years and helped establish the National Literacy Center and has co-authored a wide range of books including Looking to Learn: Promoting Literacy for Students with Low VisionAssistive Technology for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired: A Guide to Assessment, and Instructional Strategies for Braille Literacy.

This all-day lecture (9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.) by one of the leaders in braille literacy will provide the “boost” needed to more effectively improve the reading and writing skills of students who use braille. New and innovative strategies to use with braille readers will be offered as well as ideas on how to work in collaboration with a braille reader’s team in an inclusive setting. The workshop will also include accurate and up-to-date information on UEB. With the Unified English Braille Code transition approaching in 2015, the changes to the braille code that will be coming and how this transition will occur will be addressed by Dr. D’Andrea. The lecture is appropriate for all teachers of students with visual impairments, families, individuals who are blind, related service personnel, rehabilitation therapists, and anyone else interested in braille literacy.

Early registration by September 10, 2014 is $75 (including lunch) and after September 10 is $90. Student rates are $25 by September 10 and $50 after September 10. Payment by check, money order, or purchase order payable to “Sowell Center” is acceptable. Lecture attendees will receive a certificate for 6 hours of professional development. Registration can be mailed to Robin Rekieta, Sowell Center for Research and Education in Sensory Disabilities, College of Education, Texas Tech University, Box 41071, Lubbock, TX 79409. Please note any accommodations needed along with your registration. Sowell Center website: // 

For more information about the lecture, contact Robin Rekieta at or at 806-834-1322 or Dr. Rona Pogrund at or at 512-206-9213.