Douglas Baldwin

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I founded the Special Needs Vision Clinic; a non-profit United Way/ Lions International Center for handicapped children, low vision individuals, and seniors. The clinic also serves indigent populations. The Special Needs Clinic has been serving Mid-Michigan since 1982.

I am the founder and director of The Institute for Innovative Blind Navigation (IIBN). This center was established in October, 1997. After a year of working collaboratively with Michigan State University, we established the Institute in Saginaw, Michigan. Through a grant with NEC Foundation of America, IIBN put on four regional seminars between 2000 and 2002, called "Advances in Wayfinding Technology". These seminars were held in Michigan, California, the State of Washington, and in Florida.

I am one of the founders of "The John Moore Community of Tomorrow School." I helped an inner city elementary school form partnerships that resulted in the reorganization and re-energizing of the school. Budget cuts killed the John Moore School (building and all!) at the end of 2004, but it was a great ride and many kids benefited while it lasted.

I created a community based education program for the Saginaw Intermediate School District. The community travel program routinely serves about 50 students, mostly physically impaired children in wheelchairs, but also including deaf/blind, blind, LD (perceptually impaired), and deaf kids. The program uses principles from my orientation and mobility curriculum to teach navigationally impaired students (whether they are, or are not blind).

In 1998, I became the first president of the Heritage Square Association, a historic district where I live in Saginaw, Michigan. I suggested to my neighbors that we use the park in the center of our community as a focal point for bringing us together. Thanks to the hard work and exceptional individual effort of neighbors, this park is complete (we raised over $250,000 for park development). We plant flowers every spring throughout the historic district (called Neighbor's Growing Together) and we have a community garden.

In 2003, I founded the Old Town Saginaw Music Association (OTSMA). This is an organization of grass roots Saginaw Valley musicians. For ten years, I played in a Celtic band called Equinox. After I left the band, I felt the need to continue creating and playing music with friends. OTSMA took off like a rocket as talented musicians from the area stepped up to lead the way (with great energy).

In 2004, I began a collaboration with Dan Kish, CEO of World Access for the Blind. Dan and I worked on wearable computer solutions for the blind. Our two agencies sponsored the first World Congress on Blind Navigation Technologies- at the NFB Jernigan Institute (Baltimore), October, 2005.

Many years ago, I received a Dr. of Optometry diploma from the Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago. Prior to that degree I attained a Bachelors in Visual Science, based on credits from four years of work at Mott College in Flint Michigan, and at the University of Michigan. After the doctorate, I got a Masters of Blind Rehabilitation from Western Michigan University, specializing in Orientation and Mobility.

All of my professional career was with handicapped children at the Millet Learning Center in Saginaw, Michigan. I did work for a while during the summers with elderly blind individuals through the Michigan Commission for the blind.

I have special interests in several areas, including: the neuropsychology of vision (brain mechanisms), child development, international blindness, human navigation and orientation, and in the area of technology and education (the future and its impact). This e-book enables me to continually think about these areas of interest; it's a "playground in the mind" for me; a mental place I go for pleasure.

I retired in 2007, although I continue to work part time and do casual consulting.

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