ICEVI-Europe homepage

European Newsletter - Issue 60

Volume 22 number 2, August 2016

Table of contents:

 

President's Message

Dear Members of ICEVI-Europe,

Hopefully you have gotten the opportunity to enjoy your summer vacation with your families and loved ones.

As ICEVI-Europe being one of the co-partners in the organization of the 2016 VBS Congress in Graz held on August 1-5 2016, it is my pleasure and honor to announce that the conference took place with great success. Many distinguished researchers, academics, scientists, specialized staff in the fields of medical science and technology and representatives of associations and umbrella organizations in the fields of impairment, inclusion and care attended the conference in order to exchange knowledge and ideas on the topic of inclusion of persons with visual impairments, blindness and multiple impairments.

Another noteworthy announcement is the historical achievement of the World Blind Union and its partners in leading the international campaign for the ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty. Canada became the 20th country to ratify the treaty which will now enable blind and print disabled persons to obtain access to literature and information that non-print disabled persons already benefit from. More information can be found within this newsletter.

On August 18-25 2016, the WBU-ICEVI Joint Assemblies 2016 will take place in Orlando, Florida. This world conference is a joint initiative by ICEVI and WBU and will be hosted by the National Federation of the Blind (USA). We look forward to meeting all colleagues in the field of visual impairment from around the world in order to network and share information on key issues for improving the lives of people with visual impairments, enabling them to lead productive and independent lives.

This issue of the newsletter will primarily focus on the announcements of various conferences that will be taking place within the next couple of months.

The 6th European Conference on Psychology and Visual Impairment (6TH ECPVI) will be held on November 10-12, 2016 in Budapest, Hungary at the ELTE Barczi Gusztav Faculty of Special Needs Education. For further information please visit the conference website.

The seventh conference for the East European Countries will be held on December 14 -17, 2016 in Tbilisi, Georgia. The theme of the conference will be “Partnership _ parent-professional cooperation in the process of education of visually impaired children.’’ Guidelines for authors about the preparation and submission of the abstracts for the conference can be found within this newsletter. Further information about the ICEVI East European Conference will soon be placed on the ICEVI-Europe website.

The 9th ICEVI European Conference will be held on July 2-7 2017 at the facilities of the Sint-Lodewijkscollege in Bruges, Belgium. The theme of the conference will be “Empowered by Dialogue,” centered on the Quality of Life Framework by Dr. Robert Schalock. Additional information regarding the conference announcement can be found within this issue of the newsletter. For further information, please visit the 9th ICEVI European Conference.

ISaR International is a large web-based data base in the field of inclusive education and rehabilitation of children and young people with visual impairment (VI). Functioning as a virtual resource center, the purpose of ISaR International is to gather and disseminate valuable information and best practices to teachers, students, parents and other professionals from the field of VI. ICEVI-Europe has begun initial discussions with ISaR International for a possible cooperation.

This issue of the newsletter is more modest in a size than usual; this would be a good opportunity to encourage all National Representatives (National Contact Persons) and ICEVI-Europe Members to contribute to the development of Newsletter Issues by giving content and shape to them. Wishing you and your families a productive new school year and continued success in your endeavors for people with visual impairment.

On behalf of the Board of ICEVI-Europe,
Panagiota (Betty) Leotsakou, President

Betty Leotsakou

 

Marrakesh Treaty reaches 20 ratifications needed to enter into force

World Blind Union homepage

For immediate release:

Toronto, June 30th, 2016 – Today is an historic day as Canada became the 20th country to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty (full name is the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities).
The twenty ratifying countries will be able to enjoy the benefits enshrined in the treaty that are meant to extend the same access to literature and information for print disabled persons that non-print disabled persons already enjoy.

“This is another historical day for our movement,” said Arnt Holte, President of WBU. “It was a great victory when we managed to get a treaty securing accessible books for blind and print disabled persons, but the real victory was achieved today – when Canada became the 20th country to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty. The treaty will enter force in three months, on September 30th, and then millions of blind and partially sighted persons will be able to access literature and educational materials, enabling them to better participate in their society,” he added.

The WBU led the international campaign in partnership with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to achieve the development of an international treaty that would put an end to the global “book famine,” which refers to the less than ten percent of published materials being available in accessible formats and often less than one percent in developing countries. The great achievement today offers much cause for celebration for the WBU and its partners.

“After many years of hard work by countless people in the blindness community and partners from a range of sectors, we are now at the start of a new phase of our work,” said Maryanne Diamond, WBU Chair of the Right to Read campaign and a leader in the fight for the Marrakesh Treaty.

However, we still have much work to do in order to end the book famine. “As we celebrate and look to the future, we cannot forget that worldwide ratification is still a long way off,” said Ms. Diamond. “We need to continue our work together to ensure the treaty can be implemented and used by blind and print disabled people irrespective of where they live in the world,” she added.

The WBU calls for every single country to ratify the treaty, and then to effectively implement its provisions for the production and cross-border sharing of accessible works in order to achieve the treaty’s overarching goal of furthering the human rights of persons with print disabilities by promoting their access to literature and information.

To learn more about the Marrakesh Treaty, how it will help end the book famine as well as about our Ratification and Implementation Campaign and what you can do to encourage your government to ratify the treaty, visit our Campaign Page.

The World Blind Union (WBU) is the global organization representing the estimated 285 million people worldwide who are blind or partially sighted. Members consist of organizations run by blind people advocating on their own behalf and organizations that serve the blind, in over 190 countries, as well as international organizations working in the field of vision impairment. Visit the World Blind Union (WBU) website.

For further information, please contact:
Caitlin Reid, Communications Officer, World Blind Union
Caitlin.Reid@wbu.ngo

 

Introduction of the ISaR projects of TU Dortmund

by Emmy Csocsán and Solveig Sjöstedt, July 2016

What does ISaR mean?

ISaR Projects are internet-based virtual resource centres. The name German ISaR refers to the data bank in German language, the ISaR International refers to the data collection in English. ISaR as an acronym means “inclusive services and rehabilitation” of children and young people with visual impairment (VI).

The German ISaR project was initiated and conducted by the professors at the department of Rehabilitation and Education of Visual Impairment at the TU Dortmund University, Emmy Csocsán PhD and Renate Walthes PhD. The Dortmund University is located in North Rhine Westphalia and it is one of the four universities which offers teacher training courses (BA; MA) for the education and rehabilitation of children and young people with VI in Germany.

The basic idea of the virtual resource centre is to collect and spread all the valuable information from the field of VI and to encourage co-operation with all involved persons, professionals and all visitors who are interested in this field. (www.isar-projekt.de)

The German ISaR started in February 2001 and it has been financially supported by Heidehof Stiftung which is a private Foundation. The project today is supported by the federal state NRW with a part-time position of a teacher and by other federal states of Germany, offering hourly exemptions of teachers.

What’s behind the ISaR Projects?

German ISaR project and ISaR International have large web-based data bases in the field of inclusive education and rehabilitation of children and young people with visual impairment (VI). German ISaR also has the possibility to function as a virtual workspace, i.e. as an online educational laboratory. It supports all persons involved in inclusion of children and young people with VI. Furthermore, a quarterly newsletter is published in German.

The professional philosophy of ISaR is based on the requirements of the documents of UN (CRPD), UNESCO and WHO (ICF) and on the national level state-based Recommendations for Special Needs and Inclusive Education (1994 / 2010) and Recommendations for Education of Pupils with Visual Impairment (1998) in Germany.

The need for a centralised Resource Centre in the form of a data base became evident as more and more children and young people with VI in Germany were being integrated into the regular school system and since the decentralisation of the educational system made a promotion of knowledge and know-how outside the special school system crucial. Counselling and support for children with VI in regular schools and in special schools require special knowledge, raise many questions and produce some problems all over the world.

However, many problems have been solved by teachers, parents and other people involved in their education, many good learning materials have been worked out, methods have been tested, organisational forms established etc. But in most of the cases, the specific knowledge and know-how referred to one particular situation and the knowledge gained remained in the given school or institution. Thus, solutions, methods and materials that have been established for an individual case, should also be made available for other teachers. ISaR wants to contribute to improving the quality of educational processes, providing a diverse, critical and constructive discourse.

Start of ISaR International

The initial idea on enlarging ISaR to become an international (English) data base and resource center was put forward at an ICEVI Europe Workshop on Teacher Training (preparing teachers of the visually impaired to support integration/inclusion) in Poland 2002. The interest among the participants was palpable. As the German ISaR had a good start, Dortmund University wanted to give other countries in Europe, which might not have the financial opportunities to create a data base on their own, a chance to use the existing framework. This has been realised in 2009. So ISaR International became the English partner project of German ISaR under the direction of professor Emmy Csocsán PhD (Budapest), professor Renate Walthes PhD (Dortmund) and Solveig Sjöstedt MA (Finland). (www.isar-international.com) ISaR International never had a budget of its own and the project leaders mainly work on an honorary basis.

Work Priorities – Data bases

ISaR has various working priorities. If you take a look at the websites you will gain access to the “Didactic Pool”, “Didactic Laboratory”, “Links”, “Literature”, “Teaching and Learning Materials”, “Addresses”, “Information”, “Forums” and “Dates”. Moreover, there is the possibility to search for a keyword in the different data bases. The visitors can see the actual number of entries of each data base.
The Didactic-Pool contains drafts, proposals and ideas for structuring a lesson that takes into account the learning conditions of students with visual impairments. The Didactic-Laboratory – Virtual Workshop gives a closed circle of teachers the opportunity to work together on a project before publishing the result on the Didactic-Pool. In the forums of German ISaR you have the opportunity to discuss practical and relevant topics about the inclusive education of students with visual impairments and blindness. Online, concrete ideas and materials will be developed further in an internal area. ISaR provides links to the topics: Assistive Technology, Conferences, Education subjects, Information about vision and visual impairment, libraries, tactile books, organizations, schools, resource centres and universities. While creating the Literature data base we are keen to establish a wide information base regarding the topic of inclusion. Therefore, we do regular research in national and international journals and consider new publications of numerous specialist publishers and libraries. It is our aim to offer a complete and current version of literature of our field. The Material data base includes links to purchase-able materials for lessons and extracurricular promotion of children and young people with visual impairments and blindness of different ages. Furthermore, there is a News page where you can find current information about the inclusion of students with visual impairments and blindness.

The Information data base of German ISaR includes the following topics: basic information, adaptions and aids for people with visual impairments and blindness, rights and legal aspects, UN-convention, discussion, kids- and youth magazines, leisure time and travel, sports and experience reports of blind and visually impaired athletes. ISaR has become the most widely used virtual competence centre within the education of children with blindness and visual impairment. By working with teachers, students, parents and other professionals, there have been established data bases which include a broad basis of information- and working materials regarding the topic vision in inclusive settings. In particular, the didactic pool includes many ideas and adaptions for lessons in all school forms. The key to the success and further development within the education of visual impairment and blindness in inclusive settings is the networking of competences and resources.

ISaR International still did not use all the possibilities the project offers. The number of entries could not reach the level of German ISaR. An important matter has been to find new and relevant links to co-operate with schools and universities and spread the information about the possibilities of ISaR International at seminars and conferences in order to find co-operation partners. What ISaR International needs is an organised network of professionals on an institutional level. It needs associations, schools, universities and rehabilitation systems of different countries etc. Thus the institutes themselves can stand for the goals and guarantee the results.

The efforts of ISaR based on the motto of the European Conference of ICEVI in Krakow „Together everyone achieves more!“

Contact data:

“ISaR“ Germany
Technische Universität Dortmund
Fakultät Rehabilitationswissenschaften
44221 Dortmund
Telefon: 02 31 / 7 55 - 58 74
E-Mail: isar@tu-dortmund.de
Telefax: 02 31 / 7 55 - 62 19
E-Mail: isar@tu-dortmund.de
Homepage: www.isar-projekt.de

“ISaR International”
TU Dortmund University
Faculty of Rehabilitation Sciences
Projekt ISaR International
44221 Dortmund/Germany
Telephone: +49 (0) 231 / 755 5874
Fax: +49 (0) 231 / 755 6219
E-Mail: solveig.sjostedt@netlife.fi
Homepage: www.isar-international.com

 

“Together everyone achieves more!” – ISaR International, user’s view

“Together everyone achieves more!” is the motto of ISaR International as well as of many of us working in the fields of rehabilitation and education of children and young persons with visual impairment in inclusive settings. ISaR is a web-based database acting like a virtual resource centre with a variety of information and materials to be used by parents and professionals working with children and young people with visual impairment.

As a user I find that the wonderful key idea of ISaR is sharing. The idea “to gather information and best practice from various countries” offers all users a wide view of practice in inclusive education. ISaR provides a platform for professionals to install materials, ideas, best practice for wider use. In this didactic pool you can find teaching methods and materials worked out and those that have been used in practice with good results. ISaR’s pages also offer a possibility for cooperation, and you might find other professionals struggling with the same challenges, or you might even find contacts for your projects.

I warmly encourage each of us to act according to the motto of ISaR “Together everyone achieves more!” and actually to start sharing at least with one idea or with material. All ideas and practices are valuable and welcome, whether they are formal or informal, small or large. So please send the information about your inclusive practice, ideas on education or rehabilitation, didactical solutions, articles on visual impairment etc. to ISaR.

As a user I can warmly recommend that you have a look at the ISaR webpages and contact ISaR by writing to isar@tu-dortmund.de.

Tarja Hännikäinen, Consulting Teacher, tarja.hannikainen@valteri.fi
Valteri – Onerva, Center for Learning and Consulting, Jyväskylä, Finland

 

MDVI Euronet General meeting in April 2016, Helsinki, Finland

MDVI Euronet had its General meeting April 20-21st, 2016 at Valteri Center for Learning and Consulting, Skilla in Helsinki, Finland

At the meeting Czech Republic, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, and UK were represented.

On the agenda was among others the future of the MDVI Euronet and there was a very strong opinion that the network will remain. We will work on activating staff exchange. Suggestions for new projects to work on were given and we need to work to see if they can be put into practice. We also agreed to spread more information among us of what each of us already knows and does.

At the meeting three presentations were given. The first presentation was “Motor activation of people with multiple disabilities and VI” and it was given by Leentje van Alpen from the University of Groeningen, the Netherlands. The two other presentations were given over Skype. One was by Aly Waninge who works as a physiotherapist at Royal Dutch Visio and her presentation was about “Research in Participation and Health in persons with MDVI”. The second was about an already existing project that will aim for the exchange of already existing knowledge and development of new innovations in Europe using assistive devices for persons with MDVI. The questions asked were how we can serve the target group with assistive devices.

The next MDVI Euronet steering group meeting will be held in Munich in 2017 and the date will be announced later.

For more information go to MDVI Euronet website.

Maj-Len Heikel, maj-len.heikel@valteri.fi, Valteri Center for Learning and Consulting, Helsinki, Finland

 

Announcement of the 9th ICEVI European Conference

2-7 July, 2017 Bruges in Flanders, Belgium

9th ICEVI European Conference

Dear Colleagues,

Once in every four years a reputable European Conference in the field of people with visual impairments is organised by the International Council for Education and Rehabilitation of People with Visual Impairment, European Region (ICEVI-Europe), in cooperation with a host committee and local partners. Being a regional association of ICEVI International which is a worldwide organization recognized by the Commission of Social Services in the United Nations, UNICEF and UNESCO, along with maintaining an extensive network of highly qualified professionals- individuals and organizations- in the field of visual impairment, are elements that constitute ICEVI-Europe an important umbrella organisation in this area. The last ICEVI European Conference took place in Istanbul, Turkey on June 30-July 5, 2013 with the participation of hundreds of distinguished professionals working in the field of VI across Europe.

Within this context, BLL (Blindenzorg licht en liefde), Spermalie and Centrum Ganspoel, three organizations situated in Flanders, have decided to join forces for the organization of the 9th ICEVI European Conference in Bruges, which will be held July 2-7 2017 at the facilities of the Sint-Lodewijkscollege in Bruges, Belgium. The theme of the conference will be “Empowered by Dialogue,” centered on the Quality of Life Framework by Dr. Robert Schalock. For further information, please visit our conference website.

With this announcement, we have the pleasure of inviting you to join us and urge you to forward this information to other people and professionals in the field of visual impairment interested in its content. Take advantage of the opportunity to become an active part of the exchange of knowledge and expertise and sharing of best practises within a network of people and institutions promoting the social inclusion of people with visual impairment. Furthermore, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful city of Bruges in Belgium; an attractive unique pedestrian medieval town listed as a UNESCO World Heritage and often called the "The Venice of the North," where you will enjoy various touristic offers in culture, history, art and gastronomic Belgian cuisine. To be more specific, we will welcome you in Flanders, which has a long tradition of well-organized public Welfare and Health Care and especially long history in supporting people with visual disabilities.

Our three organizations cooperate intensively and structurally in order to ensure a complementarity of expertise. This way, we take care of babies, toddlers, children, youngsters, adults and elderly people with visual and multiple visual impairments and we realize a continuum in intensity of support through different support services: mobile support, ambulant support, semi-residential support, residential support and outreach.

We invite all stakeholders to join the 9th ICEVI European Conference in Bruges: the individual person with visual impairment and his environment; the individual professionals, regular or specialized, their teams or organizations and services; the volunteers and their network; communities and policy makers.

We are sure, in dialogue, we will empower each other, and we will be looking for a way to improve the independence, social participation and wellbeing of people with visual impairments, definitely three aspects that significantly matter in human life.

Save the date and follow the news on the website.

We hope to see you all in the next ICEVI European Conference to meet and exchange expertise with colleagues from all over Europe.

Kathleen Vandermaelen, Centrum Ganspoel
Martha Gyftakos, ICEVI-Europe

Licht En Liefde - logo Spermalie logo Ganspoel website ICEVI-Europe logo

 

Announcement of the 6th European Conference on Psychology and Visual Impairment (6TH ECPVI)

European network for psychologists in Budapest

ICEVI-Europe logo


Dear Members of ICEVI-Europe,

The European Network for Psychologists and related professions working in the field of Visual Impairment (ENPV) of ICEVI-Europe, under the guidance of Peter Rodney and Peter Verstraten, have the pleasure of announcing that the 6th European Conference on Psychology and Visual Impairment (6TH ECPVI) will be held on November 10-12, 2016 in Budapest, Hungary at the ELTE Barczi Gusztav Faculty of Special Needs Education barczi.elte.hu. The theme of the conference is PSYCHOLOGICAL SURVIVAL SKILLS IN A SIGHTED WORLD. The conference will be organized by the European Network for Psychologists and related professions working in the field of Visual Impairment of ICEVI-Europe in cooperation with Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), the Faculty of ELTE Bárczi Gusztáv, and the Special Education Development Foundation. Researchers, psychologists, health, social care and education professionals are encouraged to attend the conference in order to exchange knowledge, information and best practices regarding people with visual impairments in the psychological context. For further information regarding the program, registration procedures, forms and important deadlines, you are welcomed to visit the 6th European Conference on Psychology and Visual Impairment (6TH ECPVI) conference website. The European Network for Psychologists and Visual Impairment and its cooperating partners look forward to welcoming you at the 6th European Conference on Psychology and Visual Impairment!

Sincerely,

Panagiota (Betty) Leotsakou
Social Psychologist
President of ICEVI-Europe

 

Conference announcement - 52nd pedagogical days of the GPEAA - "Mental representations and visual impairment"

52nd pedagogical days of the GPEAA
Groupement des professeurs et éducateurs pour aveugles et amblyopes

“Mental representations and visual impairment”

The 6th, 7th and 8th of October 2016
Paris- INJA
65 boulevard des invalides 75007 Paris

Programme and registration form : annie.lamant0655@orange.fr.

 

Conference announcement - ICEVI Eastern Europe

Guidelines for Abstracts

Guidelines for Authors about Preparation and Submission of the Abstracts for the ICEVI Eastern European Conference 2016 to be held in Tbilisi, Georgia, „14-17 December, 2016

These guidelines explain the process for preparing and submitting the abstract for the Eastern European Conference 2016.

Deadline: The deadline for abstract submission is October 15, 2016. Abstracts received after the deadline are not guaranteed to be included in the abstract book or CD of abstracts and in the conference programme. However, all the selected abstracts will be included in the conference book and CD of abstracts.

Method of Submission: The Abstract may only be submitted via E-Mail to mariani.contact@gmail.com, abstracts sent by fax or regular mail will not be accepted.

Confirmation of Submission: After you submit your abstract, you will receive a confirmation email containing the title of your abstract, your abstract number and the submission date. Please remember to save your abstract number as it will be used for corrections, scheduling and notification.

Evaluation of abstracts by the Scientific Committee: The Programme Committee will send your submitted Abstract to the Scientific Committee - a panel of reviewers. The reviewers will have a list of criteria to help them make a decision regarding whether your Abstract will be accepted or not. Please carefully read the sections “content of the abstracts”, “format of the abstracts”, and “criteria for the acceptance of abstracts”.

Notification of Acceptance: Authors will receive confirmation of accepted abstracts on October 31, 2016. Following notification of acceptance, the first author must register online for the conference at the latest by November 15, 2016; abstracts can only be accepted on receipt of the registration fee via a bank transfer, please ensure to send the scanned receipt by E-Mail.

Type of Presentation: Authors can send abstracts for oral or poster presentation and workshop but the scientific committee retains the final decision to choose the type of presentation. Accepted abstracts will be published in the Abstract Book and on the abstract CD besides on the WEB site for the ICEVI Eastern European Conference 2016.

Content of the abstracts: Abstracts may be based on either “best practices” or “scientific research”. Ensure that the topic of the presentation relates to the theme “Partnership _ parent-professional cooperation in the process of education of visually impaired children’’ and the conference scheme.

Please outline how your thoughts as expressed in your presentation, are shaped by the implication of parents’ and professionals’ cooperation in the process of education at all stages of visually impaired children and adolescents by considering the following:

  1. 0-6 infancy and early childhood _ early intervention
  2. 7-18 primary, secondary and high school,
  3. 15 and above vocational education,
  4. 18 and above higher education.

And the topic of interest;

Format of the abstracts:

Paper Size and Margins: Please set your word-processing software for standard US letter-size paper (8.5 in × 11 in, or 21.6 cm × 27.9 cm). Margins should be set to 1 in (2.54 cm) on all four sides.

Language and Length: Abstracts must be submitted in English or Russian and cannot be more than 350 words.

Title: Font must be 12 pt. Times New Roman, bold, left aligned. Make the title brief, clearly indicating the nature of the investigation. Capitalize only the first word of the Title.

Authors: Font must be 10 pt. Times new roman, bold, left and right justified. Authors list should appear immediately under the title. Authors should be listed by full name The name of the author expected to present the paper should be underlined (most often it will be the first author). The first author** named will normally be the first point of contact in communication with the conference host commitee. Do not include degrees. Use a carriage return after the author list, but do not leave a blank line.

Affiliations: Font must be 10 pt. Times new roman, italicized, left and right justified. Affiliations should appear immediately under the author list; if the authors are affiliated with different institutions, the affiliations should be clearly marked with superscripts (using only lowercase letters) indicating to which author they refer. Affiliations should be separated by comas, and should include the Department, Institution, City, and Country. Leave a blank line after Affiliations.

Body text: Font must be 12 pt. Times new roman, left and right justified, 1.5 spaced with a carriage return between paragraphs. You can leave a blank line between paragraphs. Sub headings (i.e. Background, Methods, Results, Discussion, and Conclusion and Keywords) must be bold. A Maximum of 6 keywords will be accepted. Please, Do not include any figures or tables in your abstract.

** The First author will need to provide a full mailing address (including country), email and phone on the abstract submission form as they will be the contact person.

Criteria for the acceptance of abstracts: The Scientific Committee will evaluate and decide the abstracts based on the following criteria that will help you to complete your abstract.

In some instances, the Scientific Committee may feel that a proposed paper may be better presented as a Poster. You will be informed of this decision and given this option.

Unfortunately, some Abstracts will not be accepted. This is usually because

If you require further help, please contact the address mariani.contact@gmail.com

Good Luck!

 

Learning together
Resources for pupils with complex needs (MDVI)
Movement, Gesture and Sign
and the Canaan Barrie ‘on body’ Signs

Many people will be familiar with the work that has been carried out over many years at the Canaan Lane Campus of the Royal Blind School in Edinburgh, Scotland. A curriculum has been developed for pupils with complex learning needs and visual impairment (M.D.V.I.)

Mary Lee and Lindi MacWilliam have spoken at ICEVI conferences and many other venues across Europe about these methods concerning the development of communication and play. Interactive methods are used, based upon movement communication and early parent/child interaction to develop each pupil’s own personal communicative patterns. As their understanding of their own powers of communication develop, they learn that others can understand and respond to their personal gestures. Thus the young people are enabled to move on to understanding and learning some more standard tactile or ‘on body’ signs.

The work is described in the book Learning together by Mary Lee and Lindi MacWilliam, published by RNIB in 2008 and which was subsequently translated into French, Dutch and Czech. The full English text of this book is now available on the website of the Scottish Sensory Centre, alongside useful assessment materials and the full vocabulary of Canaan Barrie ‘on body’ signs. The signs have been uploaded as individual jpegs so that they can be easily downloaded and used to create resources for individual pupils or young adults.

Please check out this amazing, free resource.

 

Blinfo - Accessible information on iPhone via Bluetooth beacons

IBOS is involved in developing Blinfo - a new and groundbreaking accessible information solution for persons with a vision impairment that e.g. cannot see signs or get proper information in buildings and urban spaces. With the Blinfo app installed and Bluetooth activated on your iPhone, you can easily and automatically get information when passing the beacons. With Voice Over, notifications and messages will becomes auditive information designed for the blind user.

The Blinfo solution is relatively easy to update with new information on the Blinfo web site where you have an account. Blinfo could potentially be used by railway stations, hospitals, supermarkets, public libraries, office buildings, parks, etc. or as a home kit for the private user, where you decide which info you need, e.g. at hotels when travelling, at work or in school. It´s up to you whether you want the same info every time, you pass a beacon, or only new messages. At IBOS, the Blinfo app can give you the weekly updated canteen menu, and a specific notification when you arrive at the Exhibition of assistive tools, the rest rooms etc.

IBOS is a key knowledge partner helping Living IT Lab who has invented the Blinfo solution. Also, the Danish Blind Association, Center Bredegaard, the Alexandra Institute and the software company Bagvendt are playing roles in the further development.

The next plan is to make an Android version and establish a socio-economic company with both blind and sighted Blinfo consultants selling and supporting the Blinfo app and packages of beacons for professional or private use. The dream is to empower blind and visually impaired Blinfo users as they get more independency and autonomy and also provide new jobs for tech savvy blind consultants.

For more info in Danish: www.blinfoapp.dk and www.livingitlab.dk

IBOS contact: Birgit Christensen, ICT Consultant, (AB7T@sof.kk.dk) or Dorthe Marie Degn, Development and Project Consultant, (AB8E@sof.kk.dk)

Living IT Lab contact: Lasse Korsholm Poulsen, lkp@livingitlab.dk +45 4220 2634

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