Go for the Gold: ACB Conference and Convention 2011

by Carla Ruschival

ACB's golden anniversary conference and convention will be one of the best ever. Make plans now to be in Reno July 8 to 16 for all the special activities, information, exhibits, fun and friends. 

The fun-filled John Ascuaga Nugget Resort Hotel Casino is home to ACB for convention week. General session and exhibits will be on the second floor, and special-interest group meetings, workshops and social events will be on 2 and 3. After a busy day in exhibits and meetings, you and your friends may want to dine in one of the hotel's many restaurants, have fun in the casino, or explore Reno and the surrounding area. Of course there are plenty of great events planned every evening at the hotel, so you will be busy from morning until night, with not a minute to spare. 

Plan to bring the entire family. Food prices are very reasonable. The Youth Activity Center will offer a full week of fun and learning. There's even a separate kid-friendly video game area that's guaranteed to please the tweens and teens. 

Often people ask if there are activities that can help them in their careers. They want to know about information available on important issues, and how they can learn more about 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 Reno as professional development. 

Exhibits: 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 browsing the exhibit hall; it opens on Saturday, July 9, at 1:00 and closes on Thursday, July 14, at 1:00. 

Workshops and Focus Groups: Every conference 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 high-tech products such as screen readers, braille notetakers, low-vision products, and much more. 

Programs and Discussions: 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. While the 2011 program is not yet complete, you can be assured that it will be exciting and information-packed. 

ACB committees, special-interest affiliates and others sponsor an endless variety of break-out sessions and small-group discussions. Look for informative programming for teachers, government employees, blind vendors and entrepreneurs, attorneys, human service professionals, and information technology specialists. Students can explore careers and meet people working in their areas of interest. Parents of children with visual impairments can gather tips on how to advocate for their children and learn what to expect in the years ahead. Special programming targets issues related to low vision, guide dogs, deaf-blind concerns, braille, etc. 

Networking: It is often said that networking with others with similar interests is as important as education and training, and that it greatly enhances the job-seeking process and long-term success in any career path. Whether you are a teacher or student, rehabilitation counselor or administrator, parent or caregiver, employer or job-seeker, you will be able to network with others in your field. 


The 2011 ACB conference and convention gives businesses and agencies a chance to let people from all over the country and around the world know about their products and services. Booth space, advertising, and sponsorships are now available. Discounts are available for exhibitors who register early and who purchase advertising. 

Back by popular demand: Reserve at least one premium booth in the exhibit hall and grab our registration bag special. We'll stuff one brochure or other item of your choice FREE in our registration bags (a $250 value)! This is your chance to reach every attendee and drive traffic to your booth. 

Color Pages: Make your products and services stand out from the rest! Full-page program ads and covers are once again available in color. 

Exhibit Special for Blind Entrepreneurs: Are you a blind small-business owner? Do you have products such as CDs, books, crafts, or computer games to sell? Are you a representative for a company that sells jewelry, toys, home decor, etc.? Would your products be a popular addition to the ACB exhibit area? 

If you have always wanted to give the exhibit area a try, but haven't been sure that the hours and cost were right for you, now is your chance. Discounts on tabletop booths are available to blind small-business owners during their first, second and third years of participation in the exhibit hall. 

For more information, contact Michael Smitherman (exhibits) at (601) 331-7740 or e-mail amduo@bellsouth.net, or Margarine Beaman (advertising and sponsorships) at (512) 921-1625 or e-mail oleo50@hotmail.com


Special-interest groups, ACB committees, and others wishing to sponsor programs or activities at the conference should submit all information for the pre-registration form by April 15. Program details need to be submitted by May 1. Make all arrangements related to conference events (reserving meeting and event space, ordering food or A/V equipment, etc.) with Carla Ruschival (phone, (502) 303-7042; e-mail, adamcarla@bellsouth.net). 

Hotel room rates are $87 plus tax, single/double; add $10 per night for each additional person in your room. Free round-trip transportation from the airport, train or bus station is included. 

Make reservations by calling 1-800-648-1177. Use group code "gblind" to insure that you receive the ACB rate. Be sure to reserve rooms in the West Tower, as that is where our rooms are blocked. You can also make hotel reservations on-line. Visit www.januggetsecure.com/jump/1308 to check it out. 

For convention questions or special concerns, contact Carla Ruschival, ACB convention committee chair, at (502) 303-7042 or by e-mail at adamcarla@bellsouth.net, or call the ACB national office at 1-800-424-8666.