Grandparent Connections Teleconferences

Grandparent Connections


The journey of grandparents of children with albinism is unique, and meeting others who are on the same journey can be very difficult. Grandparent Connections provides grandparents of children with albinism a place to connect and share their experiences with one another. Through a series of teleconferences Grandparents are provided an opportunity to connect with other grandparents, as well as specialists in the field of albinism from the comfort of your own home. The teleconferences are facilitated by a licensed professional and consist of a small group of grandparents. This provides a safe and comfortable environment for you to voice concerns, ask questions, share your experiences, and hear from professional guest speakers.

Interested in joining?

If you would like to participate, please to fill out this brief registration form, then watch your email for details.

Would you like your grandchild to connect with others in the albinism community? Sign up for NOAH Connections for email updates about upcoming virtual meet-ups and opportunities to connect with other kids their age!

Upcoming Sessions:

Check back soon for more information on upcoming Grandparent Connections calls!

Learn More About Our Call Hosts:

Sheila Adamo, LCSW, CADC is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with an additional certification in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling. She is the co-owner of Building Parent Connections which provides education, guidance and support to parents of children with special needs. She specializes in creating workshops, discussion groups, teleconferences and conference presentations that address the unique needs of parents of special needs children. Within NOAH, she currently manages the New Parent Program, Grandparent Connections and Parent Connections, as well as the Mother’s workshop. Ms. Adamo served on the NOAH board of directors for eight years and as board chair for two years. Ms. Adamo currently lives with her husband and their four children, one of which has albinism, in Naperville, Illinois.

Dr. Rick Thompson, O.D., FAAO is a fourth generation optometrist who graduated from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada in 1979.  He earned his fellowship at the American Academy of Optometry in 1982. In 1985, his interest in children’s vision led him to study developmental and behavioral optometry.  In 1993, he and his wife Trish, gave birth to their fourth child, Lee-Anne, who has albinism. He is currently in private practice where he offers general optometric care as well as vision therapy and low vision services to both children and adults.  Dr. Thompson contributed to the vision section NOAH’s 2008 publication, “Raising a Child with Albinism.” He currently serves as a Rapid Responder for NOAH and as Chair of NOAH’s Board of Scientific Advisors.

Jill Gorman lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband, Taggart and their son Kyle, who has albinism. Jill and her family have been members of NOAH for several years hosting events in their area such as bowl-a-thons and a mini conference in Berkeley, CA. Jill has participated in several NOAH projects including Managing Editor of the parent book, Raising a Child with Albinism: A Guide to the School Years, the relaunch of the NOAH website, the development of the NOAH SchoolKit and assisting with national conferences starting in 2016. She served for eight years as the chair of a community support group for families of children with special needs and continues to be an active member of her community. Jill currently is the Development Associate at Bay Area Outreach & Recreation Program (BORP), a nonprofit that provides sports, fitness and recreation programs for people with physical disabilities.

Kathi Garza M.Ed TVI lives in Austin, Texas with her son Keegan. She is a Certified Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments and works as a Family Engagement Coordinator in the Outreach Department of Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Kathi has worked at TSBVI for the last 11 years, and while her current role is to support families across the state of Texas, she has experience teaching in a classroom setting and with Short-Term Programs. Kathi has volunteered with NOAH over the years by contributing to Albinism Insight, coordinating events in her area, and helping to develop the NOAH SchoolKit resource for families. Kathi has served on the planning committee Adult Weekend and collaborated on the Kids Conference portion of the NOAH Conference in 2016 and 2018.

Kelsey Thompson, M.S., CRC, CCM, LCPC is an adult with albinism who has been involved with NOAH since the age of four; she previously served for ten years on NOAH’s Board of Directors, holding positions that include Chair, Vice Chair and Secretary. Since 2011, Kelsey has worked as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs at the nation’s second largest VA medical center outside of Chicago. Prior to this, she worked for five years as a counselor at The Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired. Kelsey has a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from the Illinois Institute of Technology and a second master’s degree in Health Administration. She is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, a Certified Case Manager and a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in the State of Illinois. Kelsey is the mother of two awesome kids, wife to one awesome husband, a runner, a knitter and a Simpsons nerd.

Past Sessions:

Contact the Grandparent Connections Coordinator for access to the recordings when available.

Psychosocial Experiences of Living with Albinism
Kelsey Thompson, M.S., CRC, CCM, LCPC

Join us for this call where Kelsey will outline some of the many psychosocial experiences of living with albinism.  Using her personal and professional background she will discuss how adults with albinism interact with the world, how the world interacts with them, and what grandparents can do to support their kids with albinism throughout their journey. 

Albinism and the Educational System
Jill Gorman and Kathi Garza

This session will provide you with a clear understanding of the educational system and your grandchild with albinism.  Jill and Kathi will outline typical services that children with albinism may need in school, and cover ways that as a grandparent you can assist in the process.  We will allow time for questions and discussion about education during the pandemic and brainstorm ways that you can be of assistance in your grandchild’s education.

Albinism and the Eye
Dr. Rick Thompson, O.D., FAAO

This session will provide an opportunity for you to learn all about albinism and the eye from one of our highly respected conference presenters, Dr. Rick Thompson.  He will provide a brief presentation of how albinism affects the eye and he will be available for your questions.

Adapting to Albinism
Sheila Adamo, LCSW, CADC

Join us for a discussion with both experienced grandparents and grandparents that are new to NOAH to discuss adapting to albinism as a family. We will explore some typical emotions and fears many grandparents experience and provide strategies to help the family adjust and thrive.  Grandparents with grandchildren of all ages will benefit from this call, as the process of adapting is ongoing and the support we can offer one another is invaluable.

Career Panel of Adults with Albinism
Kris Elliot Baker, Nancy Lee, and Kristen Dalton

This call will host a panel of adults with albinism that will share their experiences along with their career choices.  If you have questions for the panel, please send them to Sheila at, and you may hear the answers as you tune-in to this call.

Overview of Services from Birth Through Independence
Susan M. Dalton

Join us for this call as Sue will give an overview of what to expect and what services your grandchild with albinism will receive throughout their development. Sue will share her personal and professional experiences while providing valuable information on vision services,  orientation and mobility, along with provide tips that grandparents can do to help with the major transitions in their grandchild’s life.

Adapting to the Diagnosis of Albinism with Sheila Adamo

Join us for a discussion on the common stages parents and grandparents may experience while adapting to albinism. We will explore some typical emotions and fears many parents and grandparents experience and strategies to help the family adjust and thrive.  Grandparents with grandchildren of all ages will benefit from this call, as the process of adapting is ongoing and the support we can offer one another is invaluable.

Social Aspects of Albinism with Sheila Adamo

Join us to discuss the social situations a child with albinism may face and learn strategies and tools that grandparents can use to help the entire family. Topics covered will include: building self esteem, developing good social skills, discussing albinism with your family and others, advocacy, and the importance of how you and your grandchildren see the world.

Living with Albinism – A Teen’s Perspective

A panel of teens with albinism share their personal experiences from growing up with albinism. Teens will share their own stories, struggles and successes, as well as be available to answer your questions.

How can Grandparents Help their Grandchild with Albinism in the School System?

In this call hosted by Jill Gorman and Kathi Garza, two of the creators of the NOAH SchoolKit, you’ll find the answers to your questions along with some great advice on heading back to school. The NOAH SchoolKit provides information and resources to guide parents and caregivers in supporting general education teachers when a student with albinism will be in their classroom. We will talk specifically about how grandparents can assist in the process and how to use the NOAH website.

Adapting to the Diagnosis of Albinism with Sheila Adamo

This presentation outlines the common stages parents experience while adapting to raising a child with special needs, and provides insight and suggestions on assisting your child and grandchild with this process.

NOAH’s 2018 Conference – What is it all About and How do Grandparents Fit in?

In this call hosted by Mike McGowan and Jill Gorman, we’ll discuss to expect at a NOAH conference and why you should attend. Suggestions will be provided for first time attendees, and grandparents who have attended past NOAH conferences will share their experiences and tips.

Growing Up with Albinism – Joni Vella and Mike McGowan

You won’t want to miss this practical call about growing up with albinism, where Joni and Mike cover all the questions you’ve been too afraid to ask. Our two hosts share their personal experiences growing up with albinism, answer your questions, and share how people with albinism do things that may seem impossible for people with low vision.

What is a Vision Itinerant and What Services does my Grandchild Receive? – Gianna Guskey

Gianna will outline the role of a vision itinerant and what visual aids are available for children with albinism. Gianna will share her journey as a mother of a child with albinism and the road that led her to become a Teacher of the Visually Impaired and an Orientation and Mobility Specialist.

Albinism and the Eye – Dr. Rick Thompson

During this call, Dr. Rick Thompson gives a brief outline of albinism and the eye. There will also be time for questions from the listeners. Join us to hear from a doctor who has personal and professional experience with albinism.

Dealing with Comments – Sheila Adamo

During this call, we will examine how to effectively deal with comments and questions from others about albinism. Using humor, sarcasm, honesty and anger will all be discussed in the lively, supportive call.

Panel Discussion of Young Adults and Teens with Albinism

This call will have a few young adults and teens with albinism share their experiences of growing up with albinism. This will be a wonderful opportunity for you to learn from the experts.

The NOAH Conference Experience

Join us for a call with Mike McGowan, NOAH’s Executive Director and Don Martin, NOAH Board Member and the grandfather of a child with albinism, as they bring the highlights of the NOAH conference home to you. They will also be available to answer your questions regarding any new information or presentations at the conference. If you attended the conference, please join us to share your own highlights and experiences.

Practical Tips for Grandparents of a Child with Albinism

Join other grandparents for this opportunity to share practical tips on being a grandparent of child with albinism. From hats and sunscreen, to coping with diagnosis of albinism as a family.

“What Types of Services Does My Grandchild with Albinism Receive?” with Susan M. Dalton, M.S.Ed., CVRT

Do you have questions about what services are available to your grandchild with albinism or what service providers actually do when they meet with your grandchild? What is a TVI, and what is an Orientation and Mobility Specialist? Susan Dalton is a Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist, a grandparent and the parent of three adult children, of which two have albinism; and she will be answering these questions and more. Sue will explain the services that your grandchild receives and what you can expect from these services.

Growing Up with Albinism with Guest Speaker, Mike McGowan, Executive Director of NOAH

Join other grandparents of children with albinism for this opportunity to learn and ask questions about what it’s like to grow up with albinism. Mike McGowan will​ share his​ personal life experiences as a legally blind person with albinism. These experiences ​include his 30 year career as an information technology professional working in the local court, as well as his second career as NOAH’s first Executive Director in January 2010. Prior to being named Executive Director, Mike served as a NOAH board member from 1995 to 2009, including being president from 2001 to 2009.

Grandparents of Children with Albinism with Guest Speakers, Don Martin and Laura Sawyer

Don Martin and Laura Sawyer (featured in the photos above) shared their knowledge and experiences as grandparents of children with albinism. Laura and Don have been involved with NOAH for many years, and they have written recent articles in NOAH’s “Albinism InSight” magazine.