IMC18 Committees

IMC Executive Committee

Eileen Siffermann

Chair of the Executive Committee. Has a MA in Special Education, Orientation and Mobility and MEd in Educational Administration. Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, (COMS). President of the Orientation and Mobility Specialist Association (OMSA) 2019-current. President of ACVREP from 2000 to 2002. Employed at the Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind from 1972 to 1996. Involved in research and publications on orientation and mobility, certification, and accreditation. Co-chair of IMC 9, Atlanta, GA, USA 1998.

Nurit Neustadt

Ph.D. – O&M specialist from Israel. Organized the IMC in Jerusalem, in 1986. She has been involved in teaching O&M and accessibility in Israel and internationally. She is the author and co-author of number of  publications concerning O&M and accessibility. Established Audio Description (AD) in Israel.

Geraldine Neill

Vision Services Development Manager, ChildVision, Dublin, Ireland Geraldine has worked in ChildVision for over 20 years. She has a background of social work and rehabilitation work service provision, specifically O&M and low vision skills in Ireland and England. She moved into rehabilitation worker education with South Regional Association for the Blind, GDBA School of Rehabilitation and SeeAbility in England; and on returning to Ireland with NCBI and ChildVision. She now works to promote, monitor and plan for excellence in the standard and quality of vision services in ChildVision. This includes the development of a Masters Programme in O&M and Low Vision. Skills and Expertise: Teaching and Learning, Course and Content Development, Programme Development, Blended Learning, Functional Vision Assessment and O&M. She chaired the Scientific Committee of IMC16 in Dublin, in 2017. She was a member of the team coordinating the conference and the Irish Keynote Speaker.

Julie-Anne Couturier

Retired Professor, Université de Montréal, Quebec, Canada Overview of professional career and achievements  Completed a MA in Blind Rehabilitation, Orientation and Mobility (Western Michigan University, USA, 1978) and a MSc in Low Vision (Pennsylvania College of Optometry, Philadelphia, USA, 1983). Acted as an O & M specialist and Services coordinator (Institute Nazareth et Louis-Braille, Rehabilitation agency, Montreal). In 2000, implemented a Graduate Specialized Program in Vision Rehabilitation at the School of Optometry (Université de Montréal) and acted as associate professor from 2000 to 2013. Other professional achievements include: (1) Co-author of a new chapter in the third edition of the Foundations of Orientation and Mobility textbook, on travelling in adverse weather conditions for vi persons. (2) Co-author and publication of a thorough French book on O&M techniques and teaching strategies (2019). (3) Co-president of IMC 15 (2015, Montreal, Canada).

Moira Higgerty

Obtained her O&M Qualification from the National Mobility Centre in the UK in 1976. Although Moira spent most of her career, in the preparation of O&M Instructors, as Principal of the College of Orientation and Mobility she has also worked in the field in various locations within South Africa as well as the United Kingdom. Moira is a qualified Social Worker, Technical Officer for the Blind and Adult Educator. Since retiring in 2016, Moira has worked as a Monitoring and Evaluation Consultant for a local NGO providing O&M Services throughout South Africa.

Inger Berndtsson

Inger Berndtsson is Associate professor in Education and Senior Lecturer in Special Education at the University of Gothenburg. She received her Ph.D. in Education 2001 with the thesis Shifting horizons. Life changes and learning in relation to visual impairment or blindness. She has developed and run a Master’s Program in Vision rehabilitation both at Stockholm University and at University of Gothenburg in collaboration with the University of South-Eastern Norway. Dr. Berndtsson is responsible for O&M courses at a Master’s level. She has a background as an occupational therapist and O&M specialist and was the chair of IMC17.

Her research deals with learning to handle a changed life-situation using a lifeworld phenomenological perspective.

Alan Brooks

He started his career in July 1967 training as a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor in England. He later qualified as an Orientation & Mobility Officer and took basic training in Industrial Audiology to understand more about training deaf blind people. Since the 1990’s during his international activity he has assessed, trained, lectured or started mobility programmes in 33 countries. He headed a committee to host IMC 10 in the year 2000. In 2012 his work was recognised by the international guide dog community with the Ken Lord Award and in 2015 by the O&M community with the Suterko-Cory Award.

Bruce Blasch

Received the following degrees; AB degree Knox College 1963,MA degree in O&M  WMU 1964, Ph.D Special Education MSU 1974. Clinical teaching and consultant experience 1964-1973.  Faculty at WMU, U of Georgia, Emory U and established O&M Programs at U of Pittsburgh and U of Wisconsin. Executive Director of the AmericanAssociation of Workers for the Blind (1973-1977). Research Health Scientist at Veterans Administration Medical Center (Atlanta), Rehabilitation Research and Development Center (1995-2015).  He has published more than 70 articles and Co Edited 3 (and 4th volume soon to be published) volumes of Foundations of Orientation and Mobility. Recipient of the Lawrence E. Blaha Award 1998 and Suterko-Cory Award 2009 and Co-Chair of the 9th IMC.

IMC Scientific Committee

Marlena Kilian

Chair of the Scientific Committee Ph.D., special educator and gerontologist, typhlopedagogue (teacher of the blind and visually impaired children and adults, O&M specialist), working as a researcher and academic teacher at the Faculty of Education of the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw, Poland. She deals with the education and rehabilitation of blind and visually impaired people throughout their life cycle, especially in older age. Author of over 60 scientific publications on disability and aging, including 3 books devoted to the functioning of elderly people with disabilities. Currently, she conducts extensive research on adapting the rehabilitation of blind and visually impaired seniors, including O&M, to their specific needs.

Marzenna Zaorska

Professor of humanities, special education teacher: tyflopedagogy, surdopedagogy, speech therapist; theoretician and practitioner. Research interests concern the issues of development assistance, education and rehabilitation of children, youth and adults with disabilities coupled (especially deaf-blind), disability auditory, visual and speech disorders. Also, alternative communication and supportive. Author of over 300 scientific articles and 11 books and popular authors and edited by the 5. Works at the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn.

Małgorzata Walkiewicz-Krutak

Ph.D., Associate Professor, Chair of the Department of Vision Impairment at The Maria Grzegorzewska University in Warsaw, University Lecturer, Vision Rehabilitation Therapist, Orientation and Mobility Instructor, Early Intervention Specialist, Head of Postgraduate Studies Low Vision Rehabilitation.

Main Research Areas: Functional vision assessment and supporting of vision development in children with low vision; The specificity of the cognitive functioning of children with cerebral visual impairment; the developing of orientation and mobility of visually impaired children; early support for the development of children with visual impairment; visual perceptual difficulties in children with specific learning disabilities.

Kamila Miler-Zdanowska

Ph.D.,  Assistant Professor, University Lecturer, Teacher of the Blind and Visually Impaired People, Orientation and Mobility Instructor, Speech Therapist, Head the Project „Training of orientation and mobility  for the blind and low vision people” (TOPON).

Main Research Areas: The developing of orientation and mobility of blind and visually impaired people; echolocation, as a method supporting orientation and mobility, models of teaching orientation and mobility instructors in Poland and in the world.

Dariusz Rutkowski

Ph.D. – University of Lower Silesia, Rector’s officer for students and doctoral students with disabilities 2nd class coach of Disabled Sports swimming, alpine skiing, boccia, parabadminton instructor, nordic walking coach and referee. Physical education teacher for over 30 years – The Lower Silesian School and Educational Centre No 13 for Blind, Visually Impaired and Students with Other Disabilities in Wroclaw. Teacher of O&M and RT of visually impaired. Member of the Polish Scientific Association of Adapted Physical Activity. Member of the Polish Educational Research Association. President fo the Integrative Association of Physical Activity of the Blind, Visually Impaired and Guides. The author of the standard for marking accessible nordic walking routes.

Emilia Śmiechowska-Petrovskij

Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University Lecturer at the Faculty of Education at the Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw, Poland. Braille and Orientation and Mobility Instructor. Main Research Areas: cultural education for people with blindness and low vision, and using of technology in education and rehabilitation those people, especially research on using Electronic Travel Aids (ETA) and Electronic Orientation Aids (EOA) by persons with visual impairment and by orientation and mobility instructors in O&M curriculum. Author of over 40 scientific studies in the field of typhlopedagogy.

Agnieszka Zakrzewska

Society for the Care of The Blind in Laski


Co-ordinator Geraldine Neill
Child Vision, Dublin, Ireland

Assoc Prof., Dr. Fabiana Perla
Salus University, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, USA

Dr. Laura Bozeman
University of Massachusetts Boston, USA

Prof. Julie-Anne Couturier
University of Montreal, Canada

Senior Lecturer Inger Berndtsson
University of Gothenburg, Sweden

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