Blind peron walking with a dog in the city.

AVRT History

A Chronology was originated by Garry Bowman in 1993.  Drawing on his extensive background of involvement with MACRT over the years, he meticulously organized the information and compiled it into a document to record our history.   We are grateful for his efforts to assemble the many details of MACRT from the past.  We have recently taken on the task of updating the information to the current day.  

What a great way to look back onto the many training conferences and reminisce about the officers and award winners of the past.  We hope to continue to keep this updated and also to add additional details as they come to our attention.  

The one missing piece that we have yet to locate is a picture of the person that our annual award for excellence in our field of rehabilitation teaching was named for, Ms. Charlyn Allen.  If anyone has a photo of her, or any details of significance about her life and career, please be sure to send them on to us to include in our archives.  We welcome your input on this document and would be happy to add any additional information that you may have to offer.  Enjoy the trip down Memory Lane as you read about the history of our organization that continues to thrive and provide continuing professional development and networking for vision rehabilitation therapists throughout the country.

Susan M. Dalton, CVRT MACRT Treasurer 1998 to present. In the early 1920s, the American Association of Workers of the Blind (AAWB) was formed to meet the needs of workers in the field of blindness. The special needs of rehabilitation teachers, then called home teachers, were met at the national level in Group 3 which met bi-annually. Out of a desire to have more opportunities for professional sharing and to provide smaller geographic units to allow greater regional participation, regional "Home Teacher Conferences" were established. The Eastern Conference of Home Teachers in 1926, the Western Conference in 1946 and the Mid-Western Conference in 1947. These regional conferences met on the off years of AAWB conventions, allowing opportunity every year for rehab teachers to get together.

Our particular organization, The Mid America Conference of Rehabilitation Teachers, Inc., had its origin in 1947 as the Mid-Western Conference of Home Teachers (MCHT). The first meeting of the Mid-Western Conference of Home Teachers met in October, 1947. The location is unknown, but is believed to be Chicago, Illinois. Florence Horton was the first president. Miss Evelyn Kay, a research agent for the AFB and Coordinator of Home Teachers Training Courses had piloted the preliminary planning of the first meeting. Thirty members were present representing 8 states. Miss Kay noted that, MCHT shall be a means of great good to the blind of the Mid Western states. Some of the decisions made during our meetings may virtually affect the thinking of the workers for the blind throughout our great nation.

The second meeting was held at Springfield, Missouri in May, 1949. Thirty-one were registered representing 9 states. Martha Brannan Hahnel presided over the meeting. A number of ideas were presented and a demonstration of the Mirromatic Pressure Pan was given. Several papers were given such as, "A Birds Eye View of Home Teaching in the United States", "Services to the Deaf/Blind," and "Aspects of Case Work in Home Teaching." All who attended the meeting seem to remember the 120 mile trip through the Ozarks in chartered buses.

Other Years of AVRT

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