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Technology Bootcamp for VI Young People

 Nikiforos and I had the pleasure of organising a technology bootcamp for Young People with Visual Impairment supported by Cam Sight and Microsoft Research. The aim was to inspire the young people to become active imaginers of how technology could shape their experience of the world, standing in contrast to being passive recipients of assistive technologies. Held at Microsoft Research Cambridge on 4 August 2014, it was attended by 11 young people with visual impairment and their siblings between 6 and 16 years old. The young people were presented with a device that turns light into sound built with the … Read more

Scarlett’s 4th Birthday. What’s in my present pile?

My delightful toddler has blossomed into a wonderful young girl, 4 years old on Saturday the 14th June.  As mentioned in previous blogs Scarlett choice of toys does not fall into the ‘run of the mill’ and there is a element of coaching involved in promoting play. So I combined Scarlett’s loves of music and vibration to create the of m ultimate present bonaza!         Due to her extensive experimenting with instruments Scarlett has started to enjoy real-life instruments, the sound, quality and pitch makes for an auditory delight.  So firstly I purchased her some high-hat cymbals, … Read more

Ronan’s World: The sound track

Only recently did Niki and I realise that we constantly improvise a sound track to Ronan’s life. There is the swoosh, swoosh, sound that accompanies swinging, the chi, chi for bouncing. There are the songs that accompany certain activities: once I caught a fish alive for walking, Tenemos Hambre for eating (courtesy of Ronan’s Spanish Nanny), and Kitharista for calming down (courtesy of Niki’s Greek relatives). There is also the constant description of our activities: “Ronan – I’m preparing your dinner. I’m putting the fish in the bowl, but it needs to cool down first.” Not least, there are the … Read more

Positive Eye February’s idea! Literacy and numeracy development Hello Kitty’s Tea Party!

Whilst it is really important for children with visual impairment to have lots of access to real objects, it is also of equal importance that they too are able to play with what are seen as possibly ‘fashionable, current toys,’ just as other children do. Here is ‘Hello Kitty’ used as a toy to play with but also as a learning resource to support Literacy and Numeracy development. Materials required: Hello Kitty toy Lazy Sue – covered in shiny paper, or tablecloth (Lazy Sue is from IKEA) Dolls Tea Set (I found a Hello Kitty Tea set in a toy … Read more

Everyday Object Picture Cards with Matching Objects

Flash cards!  They are everywhere, recommended to help children’s development.  I myself use them with my sighted child Sonny and its amazing how much he has come on and learnt to recognise pictures of everyday items.  From the use of flash cards the possibilities are endless to how we can further develop his learning from animals sounds to phonetic actions I think flash cards work a treat.  So this poses the question, how can children with a sight problem benefit from such a visually stimulating educational resource? Well Positive Eye have designed a new product which can tie in brightly … Read more

Paul at iCAN Experiences Interview

A visit too a zoo to admire the animals, speeding around a track in a ferrari, leaping out of a plane from thousands of feet in the air. Do they seem like activities which would be impossible for a blind person to do? Well Paul Nicol from iCAN Experiences makes these dreams a reality. iCAN Experiences is a gift and activity company which caters for visually impaired and disabled people. The company ethos focus’s on inclusion….extreme inclusion. Paul Nicol, iCAN’s director aims is to get more disabled people enjoying and participating in fun, unusual and sometimes thrilling activities. Paul Nicol from Oxfordshire, … Read more

How Accessible are the Arts to the Visually Impaired?

Blind artists are people who are physically unable to see normally, yet work in the visual arts. This seeming contradiction is overcome when one understands that only around 10% of all people with blindness can see absolutely nothing at all. As such most blind people can in fact perceive some level of light and form, and it is by applying this limited vision that many blind artists create intelligible art. Also, a blind person may once have been fully sighted and yet simply lost part of their vision through injury or illness. Blind artists are able to offer insight into … Read more

Music therapy, is it a way in?

Many parents have often heard me discuss Scarlett’s great musical ability…. despite having a distinct lack of language Scarlett’s is very musical, and in terms of remembering lyrics she amazes me everyday!  She also left the Educational Psychologist astonished with her ability to recall lyrics, like she has picked them out of thin air and starts to sing beautifully in tune and uses whatever she can bang the loudest to accompany her singing. I have found that lots of children with VI have a great musical ability so its not surprising that Scarlett does too, but I really want to … Read more

The Calvert Trust

Following mine and Scarlett’s visit to the Calvert Trust in the Lake District I contacted the center to tell them how much of a wonderful time Scarlett had their facility and was really keen to find out more about what they offer.  The Calvert Trust do not specifically cater to just Visually Impaired people but enable people with all types of disabilities to partcipate in outdoor activities, which at first may seem impossible.  After chatting with Sandra Pryor a member if the Calvert Trust staff she spoke about various things the centre offers in order to give VI children and young … Read more

Scarlett’s and Mummies girly holiday!

I think one on one time with your child is so very important, especially with the age gap between my two young children, 368 days exactly, Sonny and Scarlett nearly shared a birthday!  So in a quest to make sure they get lots of attention I alternate their nursery sessions so that Scarlett attends in the morning and Sonny in the afternoon- apart from on Friday when they both go in on the morning (sneaky bit of time for myself).  I feel spreading their time with me like this is working effectively, especially as it can be quite difficult to … Read more