Dedicated to Improving the Lives of Blind and Visually Impaired People

RDPFS Resources for Partners June 9, 2023

Summer Activities for Fun and Learning

by Connor Courtien, RDPFS Intern: Summer is nearly here, which means parents will likely have to find many ways to keep their children occupied. If you’re the parent of a child living with vision loss, there are some great activities that can help them have an enjoyable and productive summer vacation. One surefire way for your child to have fun, while building valuable skills such as teamwork and communication, is to get them involved in adaptive sports. Some examples include goalball or beep baseball, both of which use audio signals in their gameplay, allowing for a fun, productive, and visually accessible experience. Another idea is to venture out on tandem bicycle rides with your child, offering them an exhilarating, safe experience in the outdoors. If your child is too young for some of these activities, other fun ideas can be arranged for them as well. Making a ball pit from an inflatable pool and plastic balls is an enjoyable, tactile experience that can provide hours of entertainment. Another activity is to play “parachute” by taking a bedsheet and putting some audible items on it, such as bean bags, bells, and rattles, and shaking the sheet up and down to create a symphony of fun sounds. Some more summer activity suggestions can be found in this press release on summer activities for blind or visually impaired children and youth issued by PR Newswire for Wayfinder Family Services, and this blog post on Fun Summer Activities for Students with Visual Impairments and Multiple Disabilities from Paths to Literacy. If you are looking for a more extensive and immersive summer experience, you can also check out the many camps designed for children who are blind or have low vision, several of which have been previously featured in RDPFS Bulletin posts Summer Camps for 2023 and Summer Camp Options, along with another program featured in the following piece. Camp Bloomfield Camp Bloomfield is a summer camp that “offers activities adapted for children of all ages and abilities and gives them a natural and safe environment to develop self-esteem and build independence.” It’s the only one of its kind in the state of California, designed for children with blindness and multiple disabilities. They accept applicants from anywhere, and offer free admission for blind and visually impaired participants. Two programs are open for registration, and both offer a sleep-away camp experience for children aged 7 to 17 with blindness. The first, the traditional Camp Bloomfield experience, is designed for children with blindness and multiple disabilities and takes place from June 21 to June 25, 2023 at Camp Whittier in Santa Barbara, California. Campers will have the opportunity to enjoy beep baseball, archery, surfing, arts and crafts, and more. The second program, a collaboration between Camp Bloomfield and Camp Bob Waldorf in Glendale, California, will integrate 24 campers who are blind and visually impaired into Camp Bob Waldorf’s camp session attended by more than 100 sighted children aged 7 to 17, offering everything from sports to culinary workshops. This session will take place from July 23 to July 29, 2023 and requires the prospective camper to submit a short video or essay as part of the application. You can register a child for the traditional Camp Bloomfield session here, and apply for the Camp Bloomfield session with Camp Bob Waldorf here. [...]

Read More... from Summer Activities for Fun and Learning

Free Training Webinar on Vision Screenings on June 15, 2023

by Connor Courtien, RDPFS Intern: The National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health, established by Prevent Blindness, “supports the development of a public health infrastructure to promote and ensure a comprehensive, multi-tiered continuum of eye health and vision care for young children.” The Center is holding a webinar on June 15, 2023 from 1 to 2 pm ET to provide free training on how to carry out vision screenings for both children and adults. Vision screenings play a pivotal role in eye health, as early detection is key to achieving the best possible outcome for many eye conditions. At times the first step in addressing eye conditions, vision screenings increase the number of individuals needing care who ultimately receive comprehensive eye exams and necessary treatment. Some learning objectives outlined for the webinar are to “understand the importance of healthy sight to support life in the U.S.” and to be able to “describe the evidence-based vision screening methods and tools adapted for newcomer populations.” Register here for Vision Screening for Newcomer Children and Adults. How to Find Free Vision Screenings and Eye Exams If you are interested in a vision screening or eye exam for you or a loved one, some free screenings and exams are available through different organizations across the country. Vision screenings are conducted in several areas of the nation as a way to identify possible eye conditions needing treatment. ChildSight, a program of Helen Keller International, provides screenings in several states, including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Ohio, and California. Another great resource to look into are local community health centers and universities, which often offer free or low-cost screenings or eye care, such as the SUNY School of Optometry in New York. You can use a tool provided by the Health Resources and Services Administration here to find a community health center near you which may offer free services. Free eye exams are available in some cases as well. InfantSEE, a national organization, offers a free exam for infants, regardless of family income or vision insurance. It’s managed by the American Optometric Association (AOA), and each eye exam is performed by an AOA member. To find a participating optometrist, check out the  InfantSEE website. Another resource, which provides free eye exams for seniors aged 65 and older, is EyeCare America. This program is offered by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and allows seniors to get free eye exams from volunteer ophthalmologists, as well as receive a year of free care for any disease diagnosed through the exam. Check out the AAO website to see if you qualify, and find a participating ophthalmologist near you. For more information on vision screenings and eye exams, and their respective roles in eye care, read the article from Vision Aware describing The Difference Between a Vision Screening and a Comprehensive Eye Examination. [...]

Read More... from Free Training Webinar on Vision Screenings on June 15, 2023

More Upcoming Virtual Webinars: Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Lighting 101

Prevention of Blindness Society of Metropolitan Washington events this month include two virtual programs that are open to the public: On June 13, 2023 from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm ET, learn about age-related macular degeneration and how it can impact vision. The program is sponsored by MedStar Washington Hospital Center. For more information and a Zoom link for this program, visit the webpage on Age-Related Macular Degeneration 101. On June 20, 2023 from 1 to 2 pm ET tune into a program on proper lighting and its usefulness as a tool to optimize sight. The session will cover setting up a “workspace for success” and share a variety of lighting options. Additional details and the Zoom link are available on the webpage for Tech Talk Tuesday: Lighting 101. To register for either or both of these programs, call (301) 951-4444. [...]

Read More... from More Upcoming Virtual Webinars: Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Lighting 101

Nystagmus Awareness Day

by Connor Courtien, RDPFS Intern: June 20, 2023 is International Nystagmus Awareness Day, established to raise awareness of the eye condition so that it can be detected as early as possible. This commemoration originated through the UK-based Nystagmus Network, an organization that primarily funds research on nystagmus. This condition affects nearly 800,000 Americans and millions of people worldwide. Many people aren’t aware of its impact, however, making it important to focus attention on it. Nystagmus, sometimes called “dancing eye syndrome,” is a dysfunction of eye movement that leads to the involuntary shaking of the eye from left to right or top to bottom. This uncontrollable movement often causes reduced or limited vision, and is frequently associated with other eye conditions, such as albinism and macular degeneration. It can also emerge as the byproduct of other medical conditions, including multiple sclerosis and stroke. Although there is no cure, symptoms can be reduced through the use of glasses or contacts. In addition, sometimes surgery can be performed on the muscles that control the eye, leading to a greater reduction in symptoms. To read more about Nystagmus Awareness Day, and ways to spread the word, check out the Nystagmus Network website and this article on International Nystagmus Day from National Today. [...]

Read More... from Nystagmus Awareness Day

Recognizing LGBTQ Pride Month

Every June LGBTQ Pride Month is celebrated to recognize the culture, accomplishments, and activism of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities. For individuals who are blind or have low vision and are part of the LGBTQ communities, a number of opportunities are available to connect with others and participate in activities. Following are some highlights and news: In his June Presidential Release, Mark Riccobono, president of the National Federation  of the Blind (NFB), highlighted LGBTQ Pride Month. He reminded listeners about the organization’s LGBT Plus Group, which offers Federation members a place to talk about matters related to being both visually impaired and LGBT. Riccobono spoke about the group’s resources, which include providing “mentorship and support to blind LGBT Plus members” and educating the public, including the overall LGBT community, about myths and misconceptions about blindness. For more information, or to join the group, visit the webpage for NFB-LGBT. Visit NFB’s webpage here for more information on the June Presidential Release and tune in here for the recording. Blind LGBT Pride International (BPI), an affiliate of the American Council of the Blind (ACB), aims to “promote the awareness, inclusion, and well-being of blind and vision impaired LGBT people through education, advocacy, and peer-support.” BPI reaches out and supports its members through email communications, virtual townhall conversations, and an annual meeting at the ACB convention. They also have a blog and produce a radio program, “Pride Connection,” which is available during selected times on ACB Media 1, on-demand as a podcast, or downloaded as individual episodes. Learn more about BPI here and about “Pride Connection” here. Pride events are being held throughout the month in communities across the nation and online. To check out some virtual events, visit Eventbrite’s listings here for LGBT Pride online events and workshops. For additional information on the commemoration overall, read the Wikipedia piece on Pride Month. [...]

Read More... from Recognizing LGBTQ Pride Month

You Can Now Request a Ride-Hailing Service by Calling a Phone Number

Popular ride-hailing service Uber now offers passengers the opportunity to schedule a trip via phone, in addition to booking car travel via their app. This allows users another way to summon these services, especially for those who do not have smartphones, have difficulty with the technology, or for anyone who would prefer to speak with someone on the phone. Uber’s phone option can be reached by calling 1-833-USE-UBER (1-833-873-8237). This will connect to a team member who can help with creating an account and requesting a ride. Riders need to call from a cell phone that can receive text messages, so that they can send a message with details about your driver and let you know when the driver arrives. For more information, read the announcement on Uber’s website. Although Lyft, another popular ride-hailing service, does not provide a phone number specifically to schedule rides, their customer service phone number can be used for that purpose for those without a smartphone or if it is difficult to connect. That phone number is 1-844-250-2773. Additional details about connecting with Lyft is available on the Ridester webpage on the Lyft Phone Number: When, Why, and How to Call Lyft Support by Phone. [...]

Read More... from You Can Now Request a Ride-Hailing Service by Calling a Phone Number

Having Trouble Reading Standard Print? Enjoy today’s bestsellers in easy-to-read large print: Select Editions Large Type Books

Enjoy the best in current fiction, romance, mystery, biography, adventure, and more. Reader’s Digest Select Editions Large Type features expertly edited best-selling books in every volume. You get a full year of exciting reading (five volumes in all), for the low nonprofit price of $25. Indulge your love of great reading in a format that is comfortable and pleasurable to read. A portion of the proceeds from each subscription supports Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight Foundation’s work and dedication to fostering the independence of people who are blind and visually impaired. Each subscriber also receives a large-print calendar free of charge. Subscribe to Reader’s Digest Select Editions Large Type today or give a gift subscription. To order your subscription by phone, call 1-800-877-5293. [...]

Read More... from Having Trouble Reading Standard Print? Enjoy today’s bestsellers in easy-to-read large print: Select Editions Large Type Books