A Quick Look at My "Credentials"

Douglas L. Baldwin

The contributions I make in my small social and professional world come from a personal understanding that I am good "behind-the-scenes", and as a "connector", a person who links individuals, groups, and networks for the common good (as hard as that is to define!). I enjoy creating new institutions (modest endeavors) and then I get out of the way while pioneers shape the future. Below is a list of the "institutions" that I started.

one 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.

two I am the founder and former director of The Institute for Innovative Blind Navigation (IIBN). This non-profit was established in October, 1997. After a year of working collaboratively with Michigan State University, we established the Institute in Saginaw, Michigan. The Institute was primarily a means to purchase state-of-the-art navigational technologies for my students. 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. The Institute closed after my retirement in 2007. Because of the Institute, it was my great honor to have known several outstanding scientists and researchers, including Dr. Steven Mann (whom the media called the "Father of Wearable Computing") at the University of Toronto (in 2012), Dr. Leslie Kay, professor emeritus from Cambridge University in New Zealand (inventor of Kaspa), Mike May, CEO of Sendero group (who brought GPS technology to the blindness community), Peter Meijer, from The Netherlands (inventor of The Voice), and Daniel Kish, a good friend and founder of World Access for the Blind.

three 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.

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

six 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 created a community garden in 2007 using funds donated after the passing of my wife Katherine Louise Jones Baldwin.

seven 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).

eight In 2004, I began a collaboration with Daniel Kish, CEO of World Access for the Blind. Daniel 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. Wearable computing for blind and visually impaired individuals never reached a threshold during my career- it was just way, way beyond its time. I will settle for the same results that giants in the field, like Leslie Kay, Mike May, Peter Meijer, and Steve Mann had to endure- watching technologies develop in the direction of the money- away from the relief of suffering, and into the entertainment and information industries. Twenty years ago wearable computing could have made significant contributions to blind navigation. Someday, someone with money and marketing savvy will understand the potential of the technologies and bring them to fruition (probably because they have a blind child and so are motivated).

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. I took great pride in this education, but I knew that I was only worth whatever I could bring to a teaching situation. I referred to "The Poetry of the Moment"- whether or not I was mindful.

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 neuro-psychology 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 volunteer part time, and do casual consulting.

Web Master: Doug Baldwin

picture of a mailboxbaldwind@sisd.cc

Millet Learning Center
3660 Southfield Drive
Saginaw, Michigan


Below: Ebooks
IIBN Site Index - Teaching O&M to Blind Children - Teaching Students with Travel Disabilities - Wayfinding Technologies