The Sight Center of Northwest Ohio recently held its third annual summer residential camp at The University of Toledo for youth who are blind and visually impaired.During the camp, which was held in June, students ages 14 to 18 who have severe vision impairment were provided with instruction and practice in daily living skills, orientation and mobility/white cane training, assistive technology training, and recreational opportunities.
“This is the only summer camp offered for adolescents who are blind or visually impaired in northwest Ohio,” said Dawn Coleman, program director for the Sight Center of Northwest Ohio. “We have been able to put this camp on for three years now thanks to a generous grant from the St. Marguerite D’Youville Foundation.”
Founded in 1923 as the Toledo Society for the Blind, the Sight Center is a nonprofit United Way agency. It offers a distinguished history of service to persons who are blind or visually impaired throughout a 16-county area in northwest Ohio.
“It’s really nice that UT has let us use its facilities for the Sight Center camp,” Coleman said. “The staff here at the UT Office of Accessibility has been great in making sure that we have everything we need.”
Coleman also said that the technology used in the Office of Accessibility plays a huge part in the improvement of the students’ abilities.
“Some kids are more basic and some are more advanced in their vision abilities,” Coleman said. “The Zoomtechs provided here in the lab are really great because they play a big role in preparing the students for college.”
The Zoomtech program magnifies the computer screen and can read to the kids for all levels of vision impairment, Coleman said.
Sight Center camper Gabbi KlaKamp, who agreed that the Zoomtech equipment is pretty top-notch, said she really enjoys some of the opportunities UT provides for Sight Center campers.
“It’s fun to stay away from home and your parents for a while,” she said. “At the same time, we get to do fun things and improve our abilities.”
Toni Howard, service provision specialist for the UT Office of Accessibility, said it is important for the University to reach out to programs like the Sight Center’s because the young students involved eventually become college students who need to prepare to the best of their abilities.
“Helping kids with disabilities become aware of the differences between high school and college is the main reason offices like the UT Office of Accessibility exist, and we do everything we can to make the transition for the kids easy,” she said.
For more information, contact the Sight Center of Northwest Ohio at 419.720.3937 or visit www.sightcentertoledo.org.