Come to Dallas, Where the Stars Shine Bright

by Janet Dickelman

Come one and all to the 54th annual conference and convention of the American Council of the Blind. The city of Dallas and the Sheraton Dallas hotel are getting ready for our arrival. By the time you read this article, plans will be well under way! Convention dates are Friday, July 3 through Saturday, July 11th.
The theme of this year’s convention is ACB – Where the Stars Shine Bright. Texas is the Lone Star State, and many Texas song lyrics feature words about stars shining bright. This summer, all of you will be the shining stars at the 2015 ACB conference and convention!

Career Development

Are there activities that can help you in your career?
The 2015 conference and convention will be filled with information about important issues affecting those who are blind and visually impaired as well as the latest new adaptive technology.
Here's a sampling of these outstanding opportunities; share them with your employer and explore the possibility of using at least part of your time in Dallas as professional development.  Perhaps your employer will even assist with part of your expenses or give you a few days of professional development time.


Compare and contrast the latest products for blind and visually impaired people.  Discover which video magnifier, scanner, braille display, notetaker or speech program best meets your needs or the needs of your students or clients.  Examine an endless variety of products for work, school and daily living.  Collect materials to take home to others in your office or organization.  You will want to spend hours and hours browsing the exhibit hall; it opens on Saturday, July 4 at 1 p.m. and closes on Wednesday, July 8, at 1 p.m.

Workshops and Focus Groups

Every conference and convention features unique opportunities to learn new skills, tips and techniques on a wide range of topics.  Seminars on diabetes, employment issues, rehabilitation, transportation and access to off-the-shelf technology are some examples.  Get instruction and tips on items such as i-devices, screen readers, braille notetakers, low-vision products, and much more.

Programs and Discussions

Learn about audio description by attending ACB movie night.
ACB general sessions (Sunday evening, Monday-Thursday 8:30 a.m.-noon, and all day Friday), address education, rehabilitation, employment, access, health-related issues, and much more.  The presentation by a talking book narrator and update on library services are always popular.
There are many other opportunities for career development at the 2015 ACB conference and convention; please come and join us!

Scheduling Events

When scheduling an event at the 2015 conference and convention, please keep the following times in mind. Breakfasts begin at 7:00; lunches begin at 12:15.
There are five convention session times. Session one (1:15 to 2:30) is reserved for special-interest affiliates. Sessions two (2:45 to 4:00) and three (4:15 to 5:30) are open to special-interest affiliates and ACB committees. Sessions four (5:45 to 7:00) and five (7:15 to 8:30) are available to affiliates, committees and others not affiliated with ACB.
Anyone wishing to schedule programs or activities in Dallas, including activities outside the hotel, must submit information directly to me.
To be listed on the pre-registration form, information should be submitted by March 29; for inclusion in the program, please send information by April 26.
Make all arrangements related to conference and convention events, including reserving meeting rooms, ordering food or audio-visual equipment, etc., by contacting me directly at (651) 428-5059 or via e-mail,

Stay in Touch

Again this year, the convention announce list will be filled with information about the convention. Subscribe to the list today by sending a blank e-mail to If you've been on the list in the past, you don’t need to subscribe again.
Don't have e-mail? No problem! New this year: convention updates will also be featured on ACB Radio and by telephone through Audio Now.

Hotel Details

Room rates at the Sheraton Dallas are $89 single, double, triple or quad, plus applicable state and local taxes (currently 13%) and tourism district fees (2%). For reservations by telephone, call 1-888-627-8191, and be sure to mention you are attending the ACB convention in order to obtain our room rate. To make reservations online, visit and follow the 2015 convention link.

Convention Contacts

2015 exhibit information:
Michael Smitherman, (601) 331-7740,
2015 advertising and sponsorships:
Margarine Beaman, (512) 921-1625,
For any other convention-related questions, contact Janet Dickelman, convention chair, at (651) 428-5059 or via e-mail,