"A dynamic group of teachers and rehab specialists work and live in the DC /Maryland area." - Sharon P

Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired.

local Chapter DC/MD

DC-MD AER is a chapter of AER (Association of the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually-Impaired). AER is a non-profit professional membership organization dedicated exclusively to professionals who provide services to persons with vision loss. Our aim is to promote and support the professions by advocating for evidence-based practices, high quality standards, value-added resources and giving voice to issues of critical importance. AER provides professional development via face-to-face conferences, virtual offerings and publications to strengthen the knowledge, skills and abilities of professionals within the field. AER provides networking, mentoring, connectivity, awards and scholarships for professionals to advance excellence within the field. Our aim is to ensure that persons with vision loss will have optimal gains and greater independence by giving timely, intentional and value-added support to professionals in the field.


To everyone who made our 2023 spring conference a rousing success. We had a larger than expected turnout, wonderful presentations, great food, and some worthy award recipients. Congratulations to our 2022 award recipients:
Jim Keim — Excellence In Direct Service In Education
Angie Biggs — Friend Of The Blind And Visually Impaired
Al Kaufman — Excellence In The Field Of Blindness And Visual Impairment


Why should I join?

When you join AER you provide the means for us to:
  • Plan conferences and other learning environments for you
  • Provide a forum for us on a local, state, and federal level to discuss issues as they affect the people of the blind and visually impaired community and those who work with them.
  • Provide professional publications assessing the latest in technologies and instructional methods
  • Provide scholarships, learning opportunities, and leadership opportunities for people to help further the field.
As a member, you will receive:
  • Discounts to conferences and other events.
  • Access to e-learning events
  • Access to listservs that will allow you to interact with others in the field.
  • Discounts on numerous other services, such as auto insurance, hotels, rental cars, and even professional liability insurance
  • Access to various awards and scholarships to help you advance in your field.
  • The opportunity to network with others in the field.
  • Access to help shape the direction you would like AER to move. We rely on our members to tell us what they would like the only professional organization for people who work with the blind and visually-impaired community. Tell us what you would like to see.


Are you a DC-MD AER Chapter member in good standing AND looking for a way to get involved with the chapter? Please consider joining one of our committees, get connected, and help continue to move us in a positive direction.

If you have additional questions about any of these committees please reach out to us via e-mail at info@dcmdaer.org.


Not a member, but want to become one? It’s never too late register!


Your DC/MD AER Chapter is here to help you with resources, mentorship, and professional development. If you have ideas of how we can help you or for events, please contact us at info@dcmdaer.org. We would love to hear from you!

Board of Directors

Karen Frank -
Al Kaufman, COMS -
Sharon Payne, COMS, CLVT -
Matt Spencer, TVI -
Abby Gifford, TVI/COMS, M.Ed. -
Sarah Wilkins, COMS -
Ericka Tinsley, TVI/COMS -
Diane Ducharme -
Kinyatti Gakuhi, TVI, COMS, CLVT -
Jacqueline Otwell, TVI -

Apply for Services

To apply for our services and make a referral, contact us. We would love to hear from you!



Blind Shell and All-Terrain Cane Demos


Diane Ducharme


Sedona Dave (developer of the All-Terrain Cane)

Tuesday, April 18     4-6 pm

at Maryland School for the Blind

3501 Taylor Ave. Nottingham, MD 21236

Early Learning Building

This is a FREE event

No Registration. Just show up