Early Connections Conference 2019

A little boy wearing glasses and a young girl stand in front of a tub of water playing while their mother looks on.

Early Connections Conference

April 27, 2019

Perkins School for the Blind

Watertown, MA

April 27, 2019 - 8:00am to 3:00pm
Lower School
United States
175 North Beacon Street
Watertown, MA 02472

Cost: $45

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Growing Together

It takes a village to support a family. Join Perkins this spring at the annual Early Connections Conference to learn and build relationships to grow your community of support.

Connect with families and learn alongside professionals and parents of children with visual impairments from birth to age 7. This year renowned author, educator, and researcher Dr. Jerry Petroff is set to deliver the keynote address.

Sign up for our mailing list before January 1 for exclusive access to registration a week early and at a reduced rate of only $30 for the whole family! This includes up to 6 adults and 4 children.

Make sure to check here for updates as we get closer to the conference.

General Information

An infant plays in a ball pit.Join us at the Early Connections Conference! We invite parents and professionals throughout New England to network, share ideas and strategies for helping children with visual impairments from birth to age 7.

For the past 36 years this unique conference has fostered communities and offered a wealth of resources for families like yours. 

Activities and childcare will be provided by counselors who will be assigned according to each child’s age, disability and special considerations.

If there is a last-minute change of plans regarding your child’s attendance, or if you would prefer to bring your own sitter, please call Sharon Stelzer at 617-972-7696 or email Sharon.Stelzer@Perkins.org to leave a detailed message.

Questions? Please call Teri Turgeon at 617-972-7331 or email Teri.Turgeon@Perkins.org.

Families wishing for assistance in arranging overnight accommodations should contact Vincent Pagano at 617-972-7432 or email Vincent.Pagano@Perkins.org no later than April 23, 2018. A limited number of rooms are available on campus on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Early Connections Conference will be held in Watertown on Perkins' campus.  Perkins will provide free child care and lunch for attendees.


One family registration includes up to six adults, four children, lunch, and free childcare with Perkins counselors during all sessions.

Ticket Types

  • Exclusive Registration - Open to those who RSVP, one week only!
    January 11 - January 18
    Cost: $30

  • Early Bird Registration
    January 21 - February 28
    Cost: $35

  • Regular Registration
    March 1 - April 22
    Cost: $45

2019 Agenda

Check back here for updates in January 2019 for new details.


Check back here for updates in January 2019 for new details.

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Jerry G. Petroff

Dr. Petroff is a Professor at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) School of Education in the Department of Special Education, Language and Literacy.  His experience working on behalf of students, youth and adults with disabilities and their families spans several decades. Holding a doctorate in psychological studies in special education and a master’s degree in speech pathology and audiology, he has developed expertise in inclusive education, early communication, social network development, assistive technology (augmentative and alternative communication), and the transition of students with disabilities from school to adult life.  Dr. Petroff’s specific focus for the past 40 years has been in the area of development and education of infants, children and youth with deafblindness. In addition, Dr. Petroff is the Executive Director of TCNJ's Center for Sensory & Complex Disabilities and Faculty Director of the Career & Community Studies Program at TCNJ.

Parent Responsibilities

Parents play with their daughter in a ball pit.Childcare is provided for free to all parent or guardian registrants. Any parent or guardian taking advantage of childcare must provide the following:

  • A written schedule for your child's medications, meals, naps, and any other special instructions.
  • Administration of all your child's medications and management of G-tube feedings.
  • Labeling your child's clothes, toys, and/or special equipment.
  • Any special equipment (stroller, porta-crib, highchair, wheelchair, etc.) and food or feeding equipment that may help your child feel more comfortable.

Kitchen areas will be available for you to heat foods. Emergency number on the day of the conference is the Administrator for Emergency Coverage hotline (617) 201-7512.


Directions by car

Exit the Massachusetts Turnpike (traveling east or west) at Exit 17. Follow signs marked “Watertown,” leading to Galen St. Follow Galen St, crossing bridge to Watertown Square. Bear right (not the hardest right along the river) onto North Beacon St. (Rte. 20). Follow North Beacon St. for about one-half mile to the Perkins campus on the right. Pass the campus entrance and turn right at the light onto Beechwood Ave. Parking lot is on the right.

Directions by public transportation

From the Green Line/Kenmore Station, take Bus #57/Watertown to the last stop, Watertown Yard. Cross the bridge and keep right, following North Beacon St. (Rte. 20). Campus is one-half mile on the right. (About 1 hour)From the Red Line/Harvard Square, take Bus #71/Watertown to the last stop, Watertown Square. With your back to the river, walk to the right following North Beacon St. (Rte. 20). See above. (About 45 minutes)Or, from Green St. and Prospect St. in Central Square, take Bus #70, usually marked “Waltham.” Shortly after the Arsenal Mall, get off at Beechwood St. (tell driver in advance). Follow Beechwood St. to the left for one block. Campus is on the right across the street from Beechwood and North Beacon St. (About 45 minutes)

Event Date: 
April 27, 2019 - 8:00am to 3:00pm
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