VIP plans vision conference

Published 10:12 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2012

VIP president William Bowman sits with Shabrianna Harris, a third grader at B.K. Craig Elementary School,. VIP helped secure equipment for Harris last year to help with her daily studies. -- File photo

One local organization wants visually impaired persons to know they are “very important people.”

The Visually Impaired People Organization of Selma Inc., or VIP, will hold a free “low vision conference and assistive technology expo” Wednesday, Jan. 18 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. inside the Carl C. Morgan Convention Center. The event, which is free to the public, will also include free glaucoma and eye screenings.

VIP president William H. Bowman said the event, which has been done in times past, is a chance to bring awareness to visual impairment.

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“This year we have some new technology that will increase the independence of (the) visually impaired and make them more productive,” Bowman said. “We’ll have new programs (and) new services for visually impaired.”

Bowman expects Wednesday’s event to be “inspiring and entertaining.”

“We’re going to bring together low-vision professionals, assistive technology and the consumer all under one roof, which you don’t often see in Selma,” Bowman said. “So, you can see it, talk live to the person who knows about the products … many don’t know something like this is available.”

With visitors from five to six different surrounding counties expected to attend, Bowman expects a great turnout.

“I’m anticipating a couple hundred people,” Bowman said. “My goal is to increase the awareness of what it’s like to be visually impaired, that there’s assistive technology that can make you more independent and productive (and) let public know there’s an agency in Selma that is set up to provide them with referrals they need.”

Bowman said free transportation is also available for those who need assistance. You must call 1-877-799-5789 24 hours in advance.

“West Alabama Public Transportation will pick up anyone who’s visually impaired or blind that wishes to attend (the) event,” Bowman said. For anyone interested in volunteering for the conference, call 354-4015 or visit for more information.

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