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About Us

About AER

The mission of AER is to support professionals who provide education and rehabilitation services to people with visual impairments, offering professional development opportunities, publications, and public advocacy. 

The Association was formed in 1984 as the result of a consolidation between the American Association of Workers for the Blind and the Association for Education of the Visually Handicapped.  A rich history began more than 25 years ago, one that the Association's History and Memorial Committee strives to keep alive. 

The AER Bylaws and AER Policies and Procedures Manual detail AER's purpose, structure, and procedures. The Association uses a number of standing committees and ad hoc committees to design and carry out its many programs and services. Resolutionspassed by the association's membership provide insight on where the association stands on specific issues. 

AER is committed to serving our members and affiliated chapters and divisions through effective strategic planning conducted at all levels within the organization. AER's Strategic Planguides the association into the future and is periodically updated to ensure we are meeting the members' and association's needs. 

AER develops and promotes professional excellence through support of those who provide services to people with visual impairments by providing: 

Professional Support
Communication and networking on a local level are achieved through automatic membership inChapters.

 Divisionmemberships enable members to focus on specific topics of expertise, including Administration and Leadership, Rehabilitation Counseling, BEP & Employment Services, Multiple Disabilities & Deafblind, Psychosocial Services, Information & Technology, Low Vision Rehabilitation, Infant & Preschool, Orientation & Mobility, Education Curriculum, Vision Rehabiliation Therapy, Division on Aging, Itinerant Personnel, and Personnel Preparation.

International and regional conferencesprovide the opportunity for professional development as well as support.

 Publications

We provide our members with opportunities for professional growth and development through continuing education, regional, national and international conferences, and several publications.  The AER Report keeps members informed about Association news and policy. Insight:: Research and Practice in Visual Impairment and Blindness is AER’s newest member benefit, providing information on excellent research that can be applied in a practical setting. The journal also features best practice examples that contain enough detail to be implemented by other practitioners. The journal reports on informative and helpful practices, research findings, professional experiences, experiments, and controversial issues.

 Professional Development

To enhance career development, AER members have exclusive access to AER Job Exchange, listings of job openings in the field.

 Continuing Educationis an important part of professional development. One of AER's goals is to develop ongoing continuing education opportunities for its members.

 Professional Recognition through biennial awards including the C. Warren Bledsoe Award, the Alfred Allen Award, Mary K. Bauman Award, John H. McAulay Award, the Ambrose M. Shotwell Award, the Douglas C. MacFarland Award, and the AER Outstanding Chapter Award. These awards are given to the recipients during the AER International Conference's held every other year, on the even numbered years.

 Scholarships

AER provides two scholarships to studentswho are legally blind and are studying for a career in the field of services to the blind or visually impaired. The scholarships are named in honor of William and Dorothy Ferrell. They are awarded in the even number years. 

 Advocacy

Finally, through its lobbying efforts, AER gives professionals and consumers in the field a collective voice on Capitol Hill to keep the focus on the importance of maintaining specialized blind services for consumers of all ages.

 

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