"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.


Nominate a worthy candidate for one of our four great awards:

Excellence in Direct Service in Education Excellence in Direct Service in Rehabilitation Friend of the Blind and Visually Impaired Community Excellence in the Field of Blindness and Visual ImpairmentAwards will be presented at our 2024 Spring Conference on March 8th at the Maritime Conference Center in Linthicum, MD. Nominate someone here. 


If you're new to the field and need someone you don't work with to ask questions to, or if you're a seasoned professional who has wisdom to share, we need you for our Mentor/mentee program. We will link you up with a mentor/mentee you can talk to. Bringing people together; it's what we do.

Click the "Mentorship" link up top, or go here to sign on.


This great award issues awards of $750 to $2,000 to persons who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement by expanding the knowledge base for the education and treatment of children who are blind, including those having multiple disabilities.

Examples of contributions to the education and treatment of members of this population that will be considered for award:

  • Publication of original material in professional journals
  • Presentation of new findings at professional conferences
  • Development of innovative techniques, methodologies or approaches
  • Innovation in personnel development strategies and applications

Nominate a worthy person by going here.

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!



2024 DC-MD AER Spring Conference

All Aboard the Technology Train -- Headed for Success

Friday, March 8, 2024

Maritime Conference Center

Linthicum, MD

Keynote speaker: Sam from the Blind Life

Register here