Conferences & Trainings

Mark Jacobson, M.D., Pediatric Ophthalmologist, Kaiser Santa Rosa.
Dr. Jacobson joined us for an ophthalmology inservice training at our October Staff Meeting. Also in the photo are BBF Vision Impairment Specialists Gail Calvello and Adrienne Appleton.
2013 Babies Count Task Force, the group met in Oakland this past July. Babies Count is the national registry for children with visual impairments, birth- three years. For more info on the Babies Count Project, please visit the website: Babies Count
L-R: Drue Banister (BBF VIS), Gail Calvello (BBF VIS), Julie Bernas-Pierce (BBF Program Director), DeEtte Snyder (Foundation for Blind Children, Phoenix, AZ), Linda Lawrence, M.D. (pediatric ophthalmologist, Salina, KS), JC Greeley (Anchor Center for the Blind, Denver, CO), Burt Boyer (APH, Louisville, KY)
Nineteenth Annual Lowenfeld-Akeson
Early Years Symposium:
“Dealing with Dual Diagnosis: Autism and Visual Impairment”
Co-Presenters Linda Lawrence, MD & Terese Pawletko, PhD

Friday February 6 & Saturday February 7, 2015
8:30am-4:00pm both days

California School for the Blind
500 Walnut Ave, Fremont, CA


Friday’s program will be geared to professionals, while the focus on Saturday will be for families as well as professionals.

Single day registration fees are $65 for professionals, $25 for students and families;
Two-day registration fees are $110 for professionals, $45 for students and families
For registration materials, please contact:
Michael McFarland
Blind Babies Foundation, A Program of Junior Blind
(510) 446-2229  or

Parent/Family Scholarships will be available due to the generosity of the William Silverman, M.D. Scholarship Fund

Linda Lawrence, M.D.

Dr. Linda Lawrence is a graduate of Texas A&M University. She attended medical school and Ophthalmology residency at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. She started a private practice in General Ophthalmology with Pediatric emphasis in Salina, Kansas in 1986.

In response to a great need in her own community she began a program for Functional Vision Assessment and Intervention for infants and toddlers with disabilities in conjunction with the Infant Childhood Development at Salina Regional Heath Center in 1992.  This program has outreached to children in other communities, as well as the local school systems. Their finding, documenting the high rate of ocular pathology in children with disabilities, have been presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine, as well as the World Ophthalmology Congress in 2006, and many other international meeting, advocating for early eye care and intervention in children with “different abilities”.

In 1998, Dr. Lawrence began as an international volunteer where she assisted in the establishment of Pediatric ophthalmology programs in two centers (one in India and in Guatemala). She began the Amaranth Foundation in 2003 to 2008 whose mission was “to help children achieve their full potential.”   Her work continued in Peru, Guatemala, India, Nigeria, Vietnam, Brazil and Panama as a volunteer, where she advocates and teaches parents and professionals in early intervention and rehabilitation of children with special needs. She was honored by AAO with the International Humanitarian Services Award in 2009.

She is a volunteer faculty for project ORBIS, and Assistant Clinical faculty of the University of Kansas Medical School, Dept of Ophthalmology. She performs outreach in Kansas with the Kansas State School for the Blind for children with visual impairment and multiple disabilities through a Lion’s Sight International Grant. She trains local, national, and international teams in their own programs. In Kansas international professionals are trained through an ICO short course program on Early Intervention. She is a volunteer consultant for over 11 years for Centro Ann Sullivan del Peru (CASP) in Lima, Peru, an NGO that supports persons from newborn to adulthood with neuro-developmental disabilities.

Dr. Lawrence has been an invited speaker to many USA and international meetings and trainings for professionals in the area of early intervention especially for infants and toddlers with multiple disabilities and low vision.

She is coauthor of a book chapter on Pediatric Low Vision, and coauthored several articles. She is member of American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and American Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, as well as other professional organizations.

Terese Pawletko, Ph.D.

Dr. Terese Pawletko has worked with children since 1976, first as a teacher of the visually impaired, then as school and pediatric psychologist.  Starting in 1989, after completing a postdoctoral fellowship in Pediatric Psychology at UNC-Chapel Hill, she worked at UNC School of Medicine with chronically ill children, and with autistic students, their parents, and related service providers.  In 1997 she joined the staff of the Maryland School for the Blind where she worked with multiply handicapped children (e.g., visual impairment, autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, mental retardation, learning disabilities), as well as training staff to work with these students.  Dr. Pawletko and her colleagues developed the first program in the country for children with visual impairment and autism.  She is considered a national expert in this area and has presented at regional, national, and international conferences, contributed to websites, conducted evaluations of children suspected of dual diagnosis, and provided consultation to and training of parents and service providers nationally and internationally.  She continues to do so through her private practice.


Symposium Co-Sponsors:

·        Blind Babies Foundation (BBF), A Program of Junior Blind

·        California Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (CAPVI)

·        California Deaf-Blind Services (CDBS)

·        California School for the Blind (CSB)

·        Northern California Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (NCAER)


Helping children with visual impairment and their families since 1949