Welcome to AER Division 17

Welcome to the Illinois AER Website

2017 IAER Vision Conference

February 16-17, 2017


Chicago Marriott Naperville
1801 North Naper Boulevard
Naperville, Illinois 60563


Call for Papers Now Open!

Go here for more information





Opportunity of Lifetime


Applications for the first of two cohorts of the National Leaders Consortium in Sensory Disabilities (NLCSD) will be available starting mid-February 2015 for this first cohort.  the consortium consists of multiple universities with doctoral programs that have an emphasis in one or more sensory impairment areas: blind/visually impaired, deaf/hard of hearing, and deafblindness.


  • Northern Illinois University is currently accepting applications for the doctoral program with a specialization in visual impairments.  For more information, contact Stacy Kelly at skelly@niu.edu.
  • Illinois State University is currently accepting applications for the doctoral program in special education.  For more information contact Olaya Landa-Vialard at oalanda@ilstu.edu.


Benefits of being an NCLSD scholar:


  • Full support (tuition and fees) at Consortium universities, for up to 4 years
  • Annual stipend award $24,000 while matriculated
  • Participation in an Enrichment Program that includes a course that runs through the academic year and is delivered via distance technology and face-to-face meetings
  • Mentorship by Consortium faculty from universities across the country and across the disability areas
  • Travel to and attendance at 1-2 required NLCSD meetings per year.


For more information about the fellowship opportunity go to www.nlcsdproject.org.


Those interested in this first cohort are encouraged to act quickly as the NLCSD application deadline for the first cohort is approaching.






Do you want to go to Space Camp? Illinois Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (IAER) offerings a scholarship! Each year, IAER sends once student to SCI-VIS (Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students) at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. SCI-VIS gathers academically oriented, visually impaired students, from around the world. Braille, large print, low vision devices, CCTV’s, refreshable braille displays, synthetic speech, and support from certified teachers of the visually impaired are available during this week to allow the best experience for children with visual impairments.


While at SCI-VIS, students live in a simulated space station called Habitat 1. They have the opportunity to practice their leadership and teamwork abilities as they prepare for two Space Shuttle missions.


Space Camp is open to students from 4th grade (age 10) through high school.  There are four separate programs available, including Space Camp, Aviation Challenge (Mach I, II, & III), Space Academy, and Advanced Academy. Aviation Challenge, Space Academy and Space Camp cost $795, while the cost for Advanced Academy is $895.


This year's scholarship window is closed, but keep checking our website for the most up-to-date information about apply for the 2017 SCI-VIS!


Space Camp 2016 Application - Word

Space Camp 2016 Application - PDF


2014 IAER Award Winners
Distinguished Service - Patricia Langdon
Excellence in Education - Donna Hernandez



President's Note

As the outgoing President of IAER, I want to thank all of you for your support over the past few years.  As members of IAER I hope you have truly benefitted from your membership. Please encourage all of your co-workers to join us.  Remind them of the benefits of membership.

It is with a great deal of pleasure that I announce the results of our election process.  All of the candidates standing for election have been elected with a 100% affirmative vote.  Please click here to see who your new officers are!

I hope that you will support your leadership and find that being involved with such a dynamic chapter of AER is truly inspiring you to be your best.

Finally, as the incoming 2015 and 2016 IAER Conference Chair, I want you to save the date for our 2015 conference, February 18-20, 2015.  Our program will in part depend on each of you.  Start thinking now of something you would like to share with the membership and other professionals in our field.  We need everyone to be considering the possibility of leading or co-leading a 60 minute session for the conference.  Later in the Summer/early Autumn, you will have the opportunity to submit a proposal to present.  This is a great opportunity to share your special knowledge and skills.  Watch for the Call for Presenters and be ready to send one or more in for the program.  Presenting is not as hard as it seems.

Have a great summer! Thank you again for allowing me to serve as your 2012-2014 IAER Chapter President.

Leah Gerlach


Welcome to the Illinois AER (IAER) website! As a state chapter of the Association of Education and Rehabilitation for people who are blind or Visually Impaired (AER), IAER is committed to supporting professionals who serve persons with visual impairments.

As you explore our website you will learn that we are an exciting chapter, providing many services to professionals serving those who are blind and visually impaired. We are pleased to be able to provide support to our members in the following areas:

Professional development
Funding for special projects that benefit persons with visual impairments,
Mini Grants
Space camp
Legislative advocacy that benefits our profession (and therefore the people we serve).

As the new incoming chapter president, I am excited at the possibilities for our Chapter and the professionals who serve people with vision impairments. I invite you to check out our many programs described in this website, explore the benefits of AER membership, and encourage you to consider joining us. If you have a comment, suggestion, or question regarding our chapter, its activities, or membership, please feel free to contact me at any time.

Leah Gerlach, M.S.


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