Officials for the American Council of the Blind (ACB) say Louisville residents should expect to see more people carrying canes and being accompanied by dogs this week with the start of the organization’s national conference Friday.
Over 1,500 blind and visually impaired individuals are expected to be in Louisville for the conference, which offers updated technologies and policy discussions each year.
Ronald Milliman, council spokesman, said verbal applications that use GPS are a widely used by the visually impaired and one of the new technologies that will be featured.
“That device can tell you exactly where you are, what store you’re walking past, how many feet you are from the next intersection, what that intersection is. I mean it’s just amazing,” he said.
The Louisville Convention and Visitor’s Bureau estimates the conference could result in $2.5 million for the local economy.
Many members of ACB save money all year to attend the conference, said Milliman.
“To be very candid with you, our members are not very affluent people in general. And so it’s a major expense,” he said.
This may be a reason why visually impaired individuals could benefit from the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, which Milliman said will likely be a popular topic of conversation.
Since many ACB members have disabilities and pay extra for various services and healthcare, some could benefit from a state’s decision to expand Medicaid.
The week-long conference will take place at the Galt House.