Three Programs Changing What it Means to be Blind
Education and Advocacy Learn about three initiatives that are improving blind and partially-sighted Canadians' access to resources, education, and community activities.
- Mobile Eye Clinics Provide Early Detection and Improve Eye Health
- Get Together with Technology Program Levelling the Accessibility Playing Field
- The Rich History of Blind Curling Lives On
Mobile Eye Clinics Provide Early Detection and Improve Eye Health
Although 80% of vision loss is treatable or preventable, those who don't have access to early detection services can experience a decreased quality of life through childhood and into their adult years.
Mobile eye clinics (MECs) address the treatment gap by helping vulnerable and underserved populations as part of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB)'s outreach programs. They are a cost-effective and efficient way to provide support, prevention, and treatment to students, adults, and seniors in communities that otherwise go unvisited and, thus, undiagnosed and untreated.
Closing the service gap
The customized, fully-equipped vision vans are part of a seamless program offering eye health services at low-income schools and seniors' homes.
Following long-established guidelines, pretesting is undertaken by Lions Club volunteers, followed by comprehensive eye examinations conducted by a registered optometrist. Following their examinations, students and seniors have the opportunity to receive the correct eyewear.
The presence of MECs at schools and seniors' residences is critically important to providing proper vision care to families and individuals across the country and continuing the important work of stakeholder organizations like the CCB.
Written by Michael Baillargeon
Get Together with Technology Program Levelling the Accessibility Playing Field
Close your eyes. Now, pick up your smartphone or tablet and begin using it with your eyes shut. How many tasks can you complete before opening them? For thousands of Canadians who are blind or partially-sighted, this is more than a one-time experience — it's an everyday challenge.
Get Together with Technology (GTT) is an exciting self-help initiative that empowers members of the Canadian blind, deaf-blind, and low vision community by sharing information about assistive tools, strategies, and access technology in a safe and supportive environment.
Advice based on first-hand experience
Participants are supported by experienced blind and low-vision individuals through events and activities facilitated by Canadian Council of the Blind staff and volunteers.
"I wish something like this had been active when I was starting out in school and work," says Hugh McLeod, a longtime participant. "One of the greatest barriers that blind, and perhaps all, people face is isolation from peers. GTT is one vehicle which directly addresses this issue."
GTT groups interact with each other across Canada through face-to-face meetings, over social media, and by monthly teleconference calls. For more information, contact GTT Coordinators Albert Ruel at albert.GTT@ccbnational.net or Kim Kilpatrick at GTTprogram@gmail.com.
Written by Albert Ruel
The Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB) will host the AMI Canadian Vision Impaired Curling Championship later this month. Sponsored by Accessible Media Inc., it will mark the 16th year in the event's rich history.
The week-long tournament draws teams from across the country, bringing together close to 60 curlers and nearly as many guides, coaches, officials, and volunteers.
Showcasing the best Canada has to offer
Held during White Cane Week, the series showcases the abilities of blind and low-vision curlers in one of the nation's most respected winter sports.
Indeed, blind curling requires few modifications. Teams participate in a round-robin format leading to a playoff series that culminates in Friday afternoon's championship game.
With over 70 years of curling history in the blind and low-vision community, the CCB encourages members of all ages and abilities to take up the sport.
AMI-audio will broadcast live from the championship game. Find the AMI-audio channel with your local television service provider by visiting AMI's Schedules page, or stream coverage online by visiting AMI's Listen Live page.
Written by Mike Potvin