The beginning of the school year offers an opportunity to explore the growing selection of virtual learning opportunities. Numerous programs can be accessed by individuals with vision loss, as well as professionals, family members, and others. Following is a sampling of providers of online courses and webinars offered at no charge.
American Printing House for the Blind: “Webinars for Everyone”
American Printing House for the Blind (APH), through its Access Academy, offers tutorials on new products and technology, along with information on resources, services, and programs for home, the classroom, and the workplace. Presenters include APH experts as well as other professionals covering a wide range of topics. Examples, available through APH’s YouTube Page, include “Teaching Reading and Writing Using Building on Patterns,” “Laptime and Lullabies: Sharing the Joys of Literacy with Young Children who are Blind or Low Vision,” and “How Braille Works Electronically,” to name a few. Learn more by visiting the APH webpages on their Access Academy and Webinars for Everyone.
Virtual workshops are provided free of charge and are open to the public. Topics include life skills, technology, arts & healthy living, and more. Upcoming sessions include:
On September 8, 2023 from 10 to 11:30 am PT (1 to 2:30 pm ET): Understanding Vision Loss;
On September 11, 2023 from 10 to 11 am PT (1 to 2 pm ET): Intro to JAWS for Windows;
On September 13, 2023: from 10 to 11 am PT (1 to 2 pm ET): Principles of Contrast
On September 14, 2023 from 1:30 to 3 pm PT (4:30 to 6 pm ET): (link); Using The Voice Memo App with VoiceOver; and
On September 18, 2023 from 10 am to 11 am PT (1 to 2 pm ET):
Intro to Seeing AI App.
For more information and a complete list of upcoming programs, visit the Braille Institute webpage on Workshops and Events for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
An on-demand webcast series, “Focus” Talks provide opportunities to learn at any time about topics related to eye care, vision, and vision loss. This resource, a cooperative effort of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB) and the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS), is part of the MCB/DDS Partnership Project for Orientation and Mobility/Low Vision Services. Presentations are accessed via the Zoom platform, featuring professionals from Massachusetts; however, they are available to users from any location. Topics covered include environmental modification to improve functional vision, lighting, assistive technology assessments, nutrition, and many more. For additional details, and links to specific talks, visit the webpage for “Focus” Talks. The “Focus” website also provides some information about online courses for a fee on the page covering Online Courses and Webinars.
Foundation Fighting Blindness
Webinars on a wide range of topics are held periodically by the Foundation Fighting Blindness, with recordings of previous sessions available to professionals and to the public. Recent sessions included such topics as “Managing Your Retinal Degenerative Disease,” “Low Vision Resources,” and “Clinical Trials,” to name a few. Additional listings and links of recordings are available on the Foundation Fighting Blindness webpage on their National Chapter Vision Seminars.
Hadley offers individuals who are blind or visually impaired online academic and enrichment workshops free of charge. Available programs cover a wide range of topics, related to daily living, adjusting to vision loss, technology, working, recreation, and braille. Examples include series on cooking, managing medications, low vision features on smart phones, working with screen readers, and much more. Audio podcasts and discussion groups are available as well. Find out more here about Hadley’s online learning programs.
Helen Keller National Center
The Online Learning Department at Helen Keller National Center offers educational tools and information as a resource to deafblind individuals as well as family members, providers, and other individuals. Learning tools include recordings on such topics as: Introducing Advocacy in the DeafBlind World, a series for consumers, family members, and providers; “Communications Technology for People who are DeafBlind,” with a version with closed captioning and descriptive visual information and one featuring a sign language interpreter; and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a seven-part series summarizing the ADA. Additional information and programs are included on Helen Keller National Center’s webpage on Online Learning Tools.
Perkins School for the Blind
Perkins School for the Blind features many video presentations and webinars on its website. Video offerings include units on mobile apps, such as the APH “BrailleBuzz” and “Word Melodies” for reading and writing; creative ways to learn braille; and how to “Track changes with JAWS.” For a comprehensive list of videos, visit the Perkins webpages on Video: All Topics. Once on the page, you can indicate specific topics of interest, such as “At-Help for Families,” Career readiness,” “Literacy,” and “Success Stories.” Several videos cover CVI (cortical vision impairment), the leading cause of pediatric vision loss, featuring what CVI is, research updates, conferences, and more. Navigate directly to these listings here for Videos on CVI. Webinars on a wide range of topics are available as well, such as preparing for preschool, workplace-related topics, and how educators can support students who are college bound and are visually impaired. To check out these sessions, visit the webpages beginning here on Webinars.
Note to Readers: If you have information about additional virtual events and other programs available free of charge on vision rehabilitation and related topics, please contact [email protected].