Chicago, IL, March 14, 2010 --(PR.com
)-- Citing her outstanding efforts in promoting, developing and improving education and rehabilitation services for persons who are blind or visually impaired, Mary Zabelski, a resident of Chicago’s Northwest side and senior director of educational services at The Chicago Lighthouse, was named a recipient of a 2010 Distinguished Service Award from the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER).
Recently presented to Ms. Zabelski at the AER’s conference in Naperville, Illinois, the 2010 Distinguished Service Award saluted among other things her 20 year record of service as head of the Lighthouse’s Development Center for Blind, Multi-Disabled Children. In that capacity, she not only supervises the program but offers a strong support system to families experiencing for the first time a child who is visually impaired or otherwise severely disabled.
“During the more than 40 years that I have been associated with AER, I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award than Mary Zabelski,” said Chicago Lighthouse President James Kesteloot.
Noting that the source of her interest, energy, creativity and dedication was deeply rooted in raising her own child who was totally blind, Kesteloot maintained that Ms. Zabelski’s qualities made her a “natural” in the field of education and rehabilitation.
“She has had an enormous impact on the profession of education and rehabilitation of people who are blind or visually impaired,” Kesteloot said. “Most importantly, her personal experience with blindness has provided hope, counseling, inspiration and direction to thousands of families with children who are blind and to other vision teachers.”
Ms. Zabelski is the immediate past president of National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI) and one of the original founders of the Illinois Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (IPVI). Widely published, she has authored a chapter in Teaching Social Skills To Students With Visual Impairments (AFB Press), chapters on “Early Intervention” and “Negotiation & Advocacy” in A Parents’ Guide To Special Education For Children With Visual Impairments (AFB Press), and a current article in the Journal Of Visual Impairment And Blindness (May, 2009). She has a Master’s Degree in special education and is nearly finished with her dissertation.