Thank you for attending Perkins’ 37th Early Connections Conference!!
This year we had a record number of registrations across 37 countries and 45 states. We hope you gained new insights and strategies during our virtual conference. Our goal is to ensure you have the knowledge, skills and support you need to help each child reach their full potential.
Let's stay in touch
Here’s how to access more resources, connections and support from Perkins until we see you at next year’s Early Connections Conference.
- Follow us on social: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Linkedin
- Subscribe for our news and events email list
- Subscribe to learn more about our professional development offerings
- Visit Paths to Literacy for resources and activities for children with Visual Impairment
- For information, and to register for professional development credit, check here
If you participated in the conference, please be sure to complete the survey we’ll be sending via email to share feedback on this year’s event and your suggestions for next year.
Did you miss our keynote with parent and TVI Burju Sari? Watch a replay of Burju's keynote: Empowering Each Other on Our Journey
For more information about Perkins programs:
To enroll at Perkins or to request an independent and/or CVI evaluation, please visit us at Perkins.org/Admissions. We are here to help and look forward to speaking to you.
For more information about our services on campus, in the home and in the community for children ages 0-3, please visit our Infant-Toddler Program page.
Download a list of resources for families, contacts at Perkins and some words of wisdom from one of our parents.
Thanks again - let's continue the conversation!
The Early Connections Virtual Conference is designed for families of children with visual impairment, birth to 7 years old, and the professionals who support them. Here families can connect, talk to experts and learn new skills to apply at home and in the classroom to help each child reach their full potential.
Click below to watch any of the 8 pre-recorded sessions anytime during the week on topics such as:
- Advocacy: Building an Effective Team- Learn to be an effective advocate and member of your child's educational team by understanding the team process. Build effective communication skills and principles to guide developing an optimal individual education plan (IEP).
- All About Switches- Explore activities using simple “cause & effect” technology - switches - to activate a toy, access an iPad or interact with a computer.
- Building Concept Development: Accessibility for Children with Cortical/Cerebral Visual Impairment (CVI)- Learn how to help your child understand new concepts across different learning environments.
- Expanding Your Child’s Potential for Visual Improvement- For children with Cortical/Cerebral Visual Impairment (CVI), learn how a vision assessment and the right supports can foster vision improvement.
- Financial Planning for Two Generations- Go beyond wills and trusts, avoid common mistakes and pitfalls to secure your child’s financial future.
- Let’s Get Moving: Orientation and Mobility in a Child’s First Seven Years- Learn how to teach visually impaired infants, toddlers and young children and lay the foundation for future safe and independent travel.
- Technology at your Fingertips- Explore the technology available for children with visual impairment and multi-sensory needs while learning your rights for getting your child assessed and equipped with the right tools.
- Transition IFSP to an IEP- Learn how to support your child's transition from Early Intervention (0-3 years) to school-based services by understanding the initial individual education plan (IEP) process
Empowering Each Other on Our Journey
Keynote Speaker: Burju Sari, M.Ed., Teacher of Students with Visual Impairment (TVI), Community Programs, Perkins School for the Blind
Burju Sari is a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairment (TVI). The mother of 9-year-old twin boys, her journey started upon learning one of her sons had vision loss, the result of periventricular leukomalacia. After meeting her son’s TVI in 2010, she knew she needed to do something to help other families and became a TVI herself.
In 2015, she earned her Master’s in Education for Teaching Students with Visual Impairment from UMass Boston. Today, she works for Perkins School for the Blind’s Community Programs as an itinerant teacher, specializing in early intervention. Additionally, Sari provides training to teachers and families, locally and in Europe, for how to support children with CVI and low vision.
Who will be speaking?
Educational leaders from Perkins School for the Blind with expertise in early learning, CVI, orientation and mobility, deafblindness, assistive technology and education planning, as well as consultants in parent advocacy and financial planning.
- Alana Berg, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS), Community Programs, Perkins School for the Blind
- Brenda Allair, M.Ed., Teacher of Students with Visual Impairment (TVI), Coordinator of the Infant Toddler Program, Community Programs, Perkins School for the Blind
- Burju Sari, M.Ed., Teacher of Students with Visual Impairment (TVI), Community Programs, Perkins School for the Blind
- Cynthia Haddad, Certified Financial Planner, Special Needs Financial Planner, Affinia Financial Group, co-author of The Special Needs Planning Guide and sibling to a person with special needs
- Ellen Cadigan Mazel, M.Ed., CTVI, Director of CVI Project, Perkins School for the Blind
- Marguerite Tibaudo, M.Ed. CTVI, Assistant Director of CVI Project, Perkins School for the Blind
- Rachel Antonino, M.S., Teacher, Lower School & Early Learning Center, Perkins School for the Blind
- Samantha Eyley, M.Ed., Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI), Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS), Assistive Technology Liaison, Community Programs, Perkins School for the Blind
- Teri Turgeon, M.Ed., Director of Community Programs, Perkins School for the Blind
- Tom Miller, M.S. Masters in Special Education, Educational Consultant
- Wendy Buckley, M.Ed., Ed.S, Deafblind Program, Perkins School for the Blind
How can I join the live events?
Register online today to reserve your spot and receive event updates: https://www.perkins.org/get-involved/events/early-connections/register
Is the event free?
Yes, as this year's conference is a virtual event, there is no cost to attend.
Can I earn professional credits for attending?
Yes, we are now able to offer professional credits for this virtual conference via Perkins eLearning. Fill out this form to receive more information.
How will the conference work virtually?
Starting Monday, June 22 you will have access to pre-recorded sessions on a wide range of topics that you can watch at any time. When you register for the conference, you will be invited to attend special “live” virtual sessions:
- A keynote from parent and Perkins TVI Burju Sari
- Q&A sessions on Wednesday, June 24 and Friday, June 26 with experts who can respond to questions you and other parents are asking
- The opportunity to connect online with other families and professionals
We recognize partner organizations who serve families of children who are blind or visually impaired.