ABOUT

On behalf of the Florida Chapter of the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (FLAER), the Officers, Board Members at Large, Committee Chairs and Members, we welcome your visit to our new website!

Here you will find information about our chapter, news and activities that we are involved in or are planning. Please check back with us often so that you don't miss anything! You will also find contact information for our Board of Directors and our Committee Chairs. Feel free to contact us with any questions or comments that you might have.

Our vision is to strive to reach the highest standards of knowledge and excellence through member benefits and services. If you are not yet a member, we would love to have you join us.

Sincerely,

The Board of Directors at FLAER

Board of Directors

President

Jessica Alessio

 

Jessica teaches Orientation and Mobility and Visual Rehabilitation Therapy itinerantly at The Lighthouse of Broward. She additionally teaches assistive technology and smartphone training. Jessica has worked in the public school system in Miami-Dade County and has an understanding of both education and rehabilitation systems for vision professionals. Jessica also is proud to work as the State Liaison for Florida at the University that she completed both her undergrad and graduate degrees at: the University of Massachusetts Boston.  Since 2017, Jessica has developed and been President and CEO of the nonprofit organization See the World Education; with a mission to provide inclusive opportunities for people with disabilities in the areas of art, recreation, and travel.  Jessica is always looking for ways to develop and expand her education and creativity. Jessica stated “I am proud to be a part of AER and hope to share innovative ideas and opportunities to continue to advance the organization. AER provides a solid foundation with resources for vision professionals to build on and explore new possibilities in our field and to network. I have learned so much from AER during my term on the board, and I am truly honored to serve as President of the Florida AER Chapter.”

President Elect

Peta-Gaye Yee Kee

 

I hold a B.S. from Florida State University in Visual Disabilities and Orientation and Mobility, and an M.Ed. from the University of North Florida in Emotional Handicaps. Employed in the field of Special Education for 29 years, I have worked with students with visual impairments, autism, intellectual disabilities, and emotional handicaps. I have been employed as a TVI for the St. Johns County School District for the past 17 years, and am the lead teacher for our team. I have been a member of AER for 17 years, and assisted FAER in the facilitation of the AER International Conference in Jacksonville.

Past President

Chelsea Bridges is an ACVREP certified vision rehabilitation therapist and assistive technology specialist at Lighthouse for the Blind & Low Vision in Tampa, Florida. She has worked at this agency for over twenty-five years and been an AER member for twenty-four. She has volunteered at the registration desk for several AER international conferences. She has volunteered her time as member at large, president-elect, and president for the Florida chapter of AER. She is currently serving as past president for FAER and Secretary for AERs PsychoSocial Division.

Treasurer

Sandy Lewis

 

Sandy is a Professor in the School of Teacher Education at Florida State University. She previously worked as an educator of individuals with visual impairments of all ages in a variety of educational, home, and community settings. Dr. Lewis is known for her publications and presentations that support quality services to meet the needs of adults and children with visual impairments and edited a book on strategies for teaching the expanded core curriculum. She serves on numerous national, state, and local committees and was honored as the Mary K. Bauman award recipient—one of AER’s highest honors—in 2010. She serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness.

Member at Large - Rehabilitation

Secretary

Member at Large-Rehabilitation

Janet Amatuzzi

 

Janet received both her Bachelor and Master degrees in Visual Disabilities from FSU. She started the adult rehab program in Brevard County in conjunction with DBS in 1971. She was employed by Brevard County Public Schools from 1970 to 2007 as a TVI. During this time she also served on the deaf/blind evaluation team. Since her retirement, she has worked with FIMC transcribing the Braille FCATs and brailling for Brevard County Schools.  She is presently a volunteer for the Talking Book Library in Brevard County.  Janet has served on the FAER Board of Directors as secretary for 12 years. 

Amy Johnson

 

Amy has a B.S. degree from FSU with a major in visual disabilities and a specialization in orientation and mobility. She also holds an M.A. from Boston College in Rehabilitation Teaching for the Blind. Currently, For the past 38 years, Amy has been employed by the Vision Education and Rehabilitation Center in Jacksonville as a mobility specialist and home instructor. She holds ACVREP certification in both Orientation and Mobility and Vision Rehab Therapy.

Amy has served on the board in a variety of capacities for the past 14 years. She is the FAER newsletter editor and the awards chair in addition to representing FAER as a member at large. Our board members are dedicated and goal oriented and I am honored to serve with them.-Amy

Member at Large - Education

Member at Large - Education

Rachael Sessler-Trinkowsky

Rachael Sessler Trinkowsky, Ph.D., CRC, CATIS is the Technology Training and Vocational Coordinator for the Lighthouse for the Blind of the Palm Beaches. She is the Program Coordinator for the Assistive Technology for People with Visual Impairments program at the University of Massachusetts Boston and has developed programs through UMass Boston to prepare professionals for the CATIS credential through ACVREP. Additionally, she is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) in the Assistive Technology Certificate Program at UIC. She was a Co-Strand Advisor for ATIA 2019 and ATIA 2020 for the Vision & Hearing Strand.

 

Rachael holds a B.A. degree in Special Education and a Masters of Health Science in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Florida. She has also earned an Educational Specialist and a Ph.D. from Nova Southeastern University’s College of Engineering and Computing in Computing Technology in Education. She was the recipient of the Florida AER award for Outstanding Rehabilitation Professional for the Blind Award (2017). Rachael is serving as the member-at-large Rehabilitation for Florida AER since 2018 and she also serves on the Accessibility Committee for AER. She is a Google Chromebook Accessibility Ambassador and she was a member of the Subject Matter Expert (SME) Committee for the development for the Certified Assistive Technology Instructional Specialist for People with Visual Impairments (CATIS) through the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals (ACVREP).

Theresa Bradley

 

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Susan Yarbrough

 

Susan Yarbrough was recently awarded her Ph.D. from Florida State University and has eagerly joined the FSU Visual Disabilities Program faculty, for which she is teaching courses in O&M, reading, and working with children who have multiple disabilities. She is a TSVI and COMS with experience teaching at a residential school. She is especially interested in improving ECC instruction for students with visual impairments and developing the capacity of caregivers to teach their children.