European Newsletter - Issue 66
Volume 24 number 2, September 2018
Table of contents:
- The President’s Message by Hans Welling, ICEVI-Europe President
- ICEVI-Europe Agenda of upcoming Events
- Save the Date: 10th Conference of ICEVI-Europe
- How children with CVI can discover the world through the iPad apps: EDA PLAY PAULI and EDA PLAY TOBY, by Markéta Skalická and Ivana Bajgarová
- Using virtual reality glasses and a smartphone to help a visually impaired person to see
- Technology comes to help people with low vision by Seyed Mansour Moeinzadeh
- 4th International Congress “University and Disability” (Madrid, Spain)
The President’s Message
Dear members and non-members of ICEVI-Europe
This is the second newsletter of this year. I hope you enjoy reading through it!
As you will see, this newsletter contains a list of the planned activities of ICEVI-Europe for the coming years. It is a provisional overview that will be updated periodically. As you may be aware, we are also endeavouring to organise conferences of professional interest groups in addition to the usual regional conferences.
One of our professional interest groups is Vocational Training and Employment Rehabilitation. This theme is very important for people with a visual impairment and also for us as educators and training professionals. Recently, I came across an article by Trouw (2018) entitled, "The Chinese Blind want something different from massaging.” According to the article, there are essentially only three career options for people who are blind in China: piano tuner, fortune teller or masseur/masseuse.
For a long time, massage has been as a mainstay of employment for people who are blind in China, but more and more people with a visual impairment are expressing dissatisfaction with the narrowness of their career options. They want to develop their personal talents. In the USA, people with a visual impairment have been identified in three hundred different occupations, hence the article.
In reading this article, I wondered, what are the professional possibilities for people with visual impairment in Europe? Are they offered sufficient opportunities to develop their personal talents and to practise their abilities?
We know many people with disabilities are excluded from opportunities to develop a career and, to this extent, society is not open to them. The challenge for us as professionals must always be to support people with visual impairment to make their dreams come true, and to overcome any concerns that employers may have about employing them. Recent technological developments offer effective opportunities to change employers’ perceptions of what people with visual employment can achieve in the workplace.
I hope that in the coming period we will be able to organise a successful Europe wide conference for this particularly important professional interest group. I would like to invite professionals interested in helping us to develop this important theme to visit our website.
Hope you are enjoying a good start to your work after this hot summer.
On behalf of the Board of ICEVI-Europe,
ICEVI-Europe Agenda of upcoming Events
Your invitation for participation. Save the dates!
VIII ICEVI East European Conference
27-29 September 2018 (arrival 26 September - departure 30 September)
Organized by the International Council for Education and Rehabilitation of People with Visual Impairment, Europe (ICEVI-Europe) with the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation and the Yuri Gagarin State Technical University of Saratov.
Where: In Saratov, Russia
Theme: Accessible Environment for People with Disabilities
Venue: Yuri Gagarin State Technical University of Saratov
For the Deadlines of Abstract Submission & Registration, as well as, further information regarding Registration, the Call for Abstracts, Accommodation, Transportation, please visit the conference website.
The 7th ICEVI European Conference on Psychology and Visual Impairment
1-2 November 2018 (arrival 31 October - departure 3 November)
ICEVI-Europe Professional interest group, European network for psychologists and related professions working in the field of Visual Impairment (ENPVI)
Conference in Thessaloniki, Greece
Hosted by KEAT, the Center for Education and Rehabilitation for the Blind in Greece, located in Thessaloniki and Athens, and organized in cooperation with ENPVI, European network for psychologists and related professions working in the field of Visual Impairment.
Theme: Diversity in many ways
Venue: Mediterranean Palace Hotel, Salaminos 3, 546 26, Thessaloniki, Greece
French Speaking ICEVI Day-1 Day Workshop in French for teachers and other professionals about inclusive education
8 February 2019
Title: Visual impairment and inclusive education: What’s new?
Organized by: INS HEA & ICEVI-Europe and co-organized by the National School of the Blind in Paris, INJA
Venue: INS HEA, 58 Avenue des Landes, 92 150 Suresnes, France
Program Committee Meeting & ICEVI-Europe Board Meeting
25 February - 1 March 2019
In Jerusalem, Israel
ICEVI-Europe Professional interest group, Teaching and Teacher training, Conference in Paris, France
Provisional Dates: 16-17 April 2019 (probably arrival 15 April - departure 18 April)
7TH ICEVI-European Balkan Conference in Sofia, Bulgaria
20-23 October 2019 (arrival 20 October - departure 23 Oct)
Theme: Free access, real educational inclusion and unlimited technology
10th Conference of ICEVI-Europe
8-12 August 2021 (arrival 7 Aug 2021)
13 and 14 August 2021 - Optional days for excursions
In Jerusalem, Israel
ICEVI-Europe Professional interest group, Rehabilitation, Conference in Budapest, Hungary
Conference of the ICEVI-Europe Professional interest group, Early Intervention
Save the Date: 10th Conference of ICEVI-Europe
The Conference Theme
"Access to Learning and Learning to Access"
On behalf of the Board of ICEVI-Europe & ALEH Society we are pleased to announce The 10th Conference of ICEVI – Europe, August 8th -12th, 2021 (August 13th- 14th Optional days for excursions), The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, ISRAEL.
The aim of the Conference is to present and share up-to-date pedagogical, technological and social venues to enhance education, rehabilitation and social inclusion of people with Visual Impairments, by modifying environment and improving technology.
Professionals, educational staff and academics from universities, colleges, primary and secondary schools with a specialization in inclusion or special education, representatives of associations and organizations in the field of visual impairment, inclusion and care, parents of students of elementary, secondary, higher and vocational education from Europe and other continents, non-governmental organizations, manufacturers and distributors of technologies and equipment for visually challenged people, policymakers and government officials, individuals with visual impairment and people who have special interests in visual impairment issues.
Leading professionals will deliver key notes; renowned professionals will offer presentations, experts will provide workshops and individuals will present posters.
In addition we shall discuss best practice in the areas of
- Segregation versus inclusion
- Chasing support technologies for independent learning, mobility and daily living
- The challenge of employment and regulations – are they impeding or supporting employment
- Age related sensory changes and related impairments
The ALEH Society was established in 1990. Our goal is to aid and advance higher education for the blind in Israel and promote social mobility.
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, founded in 1918 and opened officially in 1925, is Israel’s premier university as well as its leading research institution.
ICEVI-Europe is an association of professionals and professional organisations that promotes equal access to appropriate education and rehabilitation of people with visual impairment so that they may achieve their desire to actively participate as full members of society.
For more information about ICEVI-Europe please visit ICEVI-Europe website.
On behalf of the Host Committee,
How children with CVI can discover the world through the iPad apps: EDA PLAY PAULI and EDA PLAY TOBY
By Markéta Skalická, low vision therapist and Ivana Bajgarová, app development coordinator, EDA, Czech Republic
Parents always try to do their best to improve the visual skills of their children. Together with low vision specialists and with teachers of visually impaired they try to find ways to encourage their children’s motivation to use and develop their visual skills.
In cooperation with low vision specialists we have developed a group of four activity games called EDA PLAY which parents can use to support the development of visual and fine motors skills in children with CVI. These apps contain interesting sounds, attractive animation and easy to understand illustrations rendered against black background. In this article, we describe two of these four games: the EDA PLAY TOBY app (available for free for iPad and Android tablets) and the EDA PLAY PAULI app (available for iPad devices for 2.99 USD).
The games have been kept deliberately simple and slow paced to make them accessible to children with CVI and allow children the additional time they need to process visual information.
The EDA PLAY TOBY app consists of four separate tasks for visual training: the first stage of the game contains animated scenes designed to encourage visual attention. Other parts of the game use the tablet’s touch screen with a “touch and make something happen” approach. The app uses attractive illustrations including musical instruments and animals and activities, such as “touch the box and find out what’s hiding,” that are designed to promote the development of visual perception. Parents can easily combine the iPad activities with real objects.
This iPad game helps promote visual attention and engage vision and hearing at the same time. The child can also immediately see the effects of their touch on the display of tablet device. After playing tasks focused on revealing objects hidden in the virtual box, parents can extend the game into the real world with objects hidden in a real box. Parents’ commentaries are important in helping their children to maintain visual attention and to motivate them to look for the hidden objects. Many children with CVI need prompting and support to engage their touch and eye-hand coordination.
The app contains illustrations of animals and objects that children know from everyday life or books. In the task “touch and find out what’s hiding in the dark”, the black background appears at first. Then children then use the touch screen to reveal a cat or a dog. Before the first touch, we can hear the sound of the animal. After the first touch, we can see half of the animal and still hear its sound. Parents can complement the game by adding their own questions such as: “What kind of animal do you hear? What is making that barking sound?” The child sees the head of the dog, hears the sound of barking and presses on the pulse animation to reveal the rest of the dog’s body. Parents can use real-time simple prompting to help children pay attention to what they are discovering on screen and they can provide simple commentary and extend the game with supplementary information that will support the child’s visual curiosity.
In the EDA PLAY PAULI app, children use the touch screen to make porridge for breakfast. Children first watch sequences of a pot, a box of oats, stirring porridge and eating with a spoon. Parents can easily complement this virtual game in real-life by showing children how to prepare breakfast with commenting on differences and similarities between the game and reality. Children can touch these real objects, smell and taste the porridge and compare them with the illustrations in the game.
Some children with CVI find it difficult to recognize facial expressions and interpret emotions in others. Sometimes if they do not respond immediately and appropriately, they can be considered poorly behaved or insensitive. In reality, they are just finding it difficult to cope with situation. In the EDA PLAY PAULI app, children can brush the teeth of Pauli, then when she has bright white teeth, they can hear her laughing. After this task, parents can describe the picture and Pauli’s smile and add their own commentary, explaining what a smile looks like and how we can recognize happy or unhappy faces.
You can find more about the EDA PLAY apps at website. You might also like to go to EDA PLAY activities to download the worksheets with illustrations of these apps. Apps and worksheets are prepared in cooperation with low vision specialists and experts in the field of early intervention from non-profit organization EDA cz. Information is available in both Czech and English.
Using virtual reality glasses and a smartphone to help a visually impaired person to see
Ideas VALTERI Finland
Different kind of electronic glasses that combine miniature LCD displays and a camera have emerged around the world. The purpose of these glasses is to help visually impaired persons see their surroundings. The price of these glasses is, at the moment, very high, but you can get a taste of the technology for yourself using equipment that is much affordable and easier to get a hold of.
To do this, you will need a pair of VR- glasses that have a removable front cover (such as Google Cardboard etc.), a smartphone and the ’Supervision’ app (available from Play Store or Appstore). You can then watch a short video from Youtube, where it shows you how to setup this combination.
The combination creates a stereo image in front of the users eyes. This means that things in the distance, are brought in front of the users eyes, through the smartphone camera.
The image quality depends on the sharpness of the smartphone display.
You should also note before using it that it can cause nausea in some people. It’s also quite heavy and cumbersome, so using it can be a bit tiring. Still, this combination gives you a good view of the future and what possibilities technology can bring to visually impaired people.
Using a smartphone and a PC for distance viewing
There are students who don’t want to carry big items of equipment from classroom to classroom. There are also students who don’t want to appear different from their classmates because they are bullied or because they are afraid of being bullied.
The solution to these students could be the combination of a smartphone and a PC/tablet-device. In this combination, you connect a smartphone to a PC/tablet with Wifi. This takes a lot less room on the desk and is less noticeable. Smartphone camera quality is also sufficient for distance viewing, if you are seated near the front of the classroom. With the camera Zoom feature, the image can be enlarged even more.
The smartphone can also be set to a tripod and with a tripod the smartphone doesn’t need to be held by hand. The image is also more stable. The tripod should be as sturdy as possible, but still small enough that it can be placed behind the computer.
Instructions for PC users:
- Download and install the Chrome- browser to your pc
- Install the Allcast receiver- add on to chrome browser
- Download Screen recording and mirror app
- Put your PC and phone on the same Wifi
- Open Chrome and the Allcast receiver add on
- Open Screen recording and mirror on your phone
- The name of your pc appears on the phone display.
- Press the pc name and your phone screen appears on the allcast add on.
- Open the camera on your phone. The camera image appears on the PC.
Technology comes to help people with low vision
By Seyed Mansour Moeinzadeh, Iran
It is well established that vision impairment can reduce quality of life [1, 2]. Although over 85% of the visually impaired population is made up of people with low vision rather than blindness, the resources to address their needs are limited. Currently, most educational and employment opportunities for visually impaired individuals depend on their ability to use computers or to access the internet . Reading resources for the visually impaired population are largely limited to audio books or books in Braille. It is worth mentioning that over 80% of the people with vision impairment are aged above 50 and most will find it harder to learn and use Braille compared with the younger population . Furthermore, audiobooks cover only a small portion of the reading resources and printed materials available for daily access to the fully sighted . Therefore, there is an obvious need to develop tools to give access to printed information for every visually impaired individual irrespective of age, status or geographical region.
Our invention, an Electronic Magnifier with Dedicated WIFI and URL, (US Patent Application Number 15/003,722 dated 01/21/2016) is the latest and most sophisticated model of electronic magnifiers. It is equipped with video output, as well as, dedicated WIFI and URL, making it connectable not only to any TV set, eye wear or ordinary monitor with video input, but also to any Android or iOS based smartphone or tablet, or any Windows or Mac based computer or laptop.
The invention is a battery operated and completely portable magnifying device for low vision readers who need more contrast or magnification than optical aids provide. It can be used by every reader who needs greater magnification of texts, regardless of their age or education level. It is guided across the page, and the text is displayed on the monitor with desired magnification. The illumination of the camera provides the desired level of brightness irrespective of the lighting quality of the surroundings. This feature enables the users to read in a dimmed reading environment, which is a desirable condition for many visually impaired people.
Our electronic magnifier will enhance the quality of life of visually impaired people, by providing them with a tool to use for all forms of written texts including, but not limited to, books, magazines and newspaper. Further, a broader impact of our invention is on boosting the educational opportunities for visually impaired population especially in low-income developing countries. In addition to the electronic magnifier which is designed to read texts, we have invented a tool (US Patent No.9,578,213 dated 02/21/2017 titled "Surgical Telescope with Dual Virtual-image Screens”) to enhance the ability of visually impaired population to see far objects. The electronic magnifier can be used along with the surgical telescope by students to read text (using the electronic magnifier) and look at the blackboard (using the surgical telescope) concurrently.
- McCarty, C.A., M.B. Nanjan, and H.R. Taylor: Vision impairment predicts 5 year mortality. Br J Ophthalmol, 2001. 85(3): p. 322-6.
- Ramrattan, R.S., et al.: Prevalence and causes of visual field loss in the elderly and associations with impairment in daily functioning: the Rotterdam Study. Arch Ophthalmol, 2001. 119(12): p. 1788-94.
- National Federation Of The Blind, Blindness and Low Vision. 2017.
- World Health Organization, Vision impairment and blindness. 2017; Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs282/en/.
- Internet World Stats: Internet Users in the World by Region 2017; Available from: http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm.
4th International Congress “University and Disability” (Madrid, Spain)
15-16 November 2018
About the Congress: the Congress is a forum that aims to provide a meeting place to propose ideas and strategies to make universities more inclusive and to let people know about the research, the programs and the opportunities related to persons with disabilities which are being developed at universities in a global level.
Organized by: the ONCE Foundation
Venue: The Cultural Sports Complex ONCE - Paseo de la Habana, 208, 28016 Madrid
Registration Deadline: October 31, 2018
“LOEKA!” consists of an information brochure and a set of materials.
The brochure tells you how to prepare a client with a visual impairment and other severe multiple disabilities for an eye exam and the measurement of the visual acuity.
It contains lots of useful techniques, practical tips and ideas.
Send this order form via email to: .
The goal of this manual is to provide professionals with a framework for mapping basic visual functioning and primary visual processing in babies and children with severe (multiple) visual impairment with a development age less than 6 to 8 months.
The observations target the following functions: perception, fixation, visual tracking, face orientation and starting initial eye-hand coordination (reaching - grabbing). All these functions are explained.
Based on these findings an IEP for visual stimulation can be introduced. This instrument can be used later on to revaluate and assess the evolution of the eyesight strategies.Send this order form via email to: .
Manual Get the feel
The manual 'Get the Feel' provides ideas for materials and working methods thatcan be used to develop a comprehensive programme of sex and relationships education for blind and partially sighted children, youngsters and young adults.
The materials and working methods from the manual can be used in lessons on sex education at school, at a workshop with a group of children or youngsters or in response to an individual question of a child, youngster, adolescent or parent.
For more information: .
To order the publication, send us this form via email to .
START EARLY! Early detection of babies and youg toddlers with visual dysfunction