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Literacy in America

Empowering Blind and Visually Impaired Students During COVID-19

American Printing House for the Blind president Dr. Craig Meador talks about providing the services students need in difficult times.

Dr. Craig Meador

President, American Printing House

What challenges have visually impaired students experienced due to the pandemic?

When schools moved to non-traditional instruction, the students with visual impairments were left with little support. They received the same classroom materials their sighted peers received. Often, the districts relied on platforms that lacked accessibility.

How did the learning platform Hive help bridge this gap?

We began to grow the Hive community through several venues, like the Access Academy, which provides professional trainings provided by APH staff, university programs, field professionals, and many of our partner companies. Topics have included everything from screen readers, magnification, and Braille translation to courses on skills needed for daily life. 

What role do your ConnectCenter web-based programs play in helping students?

FamilyConnect provides resources for parents and families of students with visual impairment.

Families will hear from bloggers who have walked similar paths in the past. There are resources that answer questions about diagnosis, care, educational rights, and day-to-day experiences.

We also have a free hotline service offered through the ConnectCenter. It is staffed from 8 am to 8 pm and can be reached by calling 800-232-5463 or emailing [email protected]. The hotline offers free information on virtually any topic related to visual impairment and blindness. Our calls to this line really increased during COVID-19 as local services began to shut down.

This has been paid for by American Printing House.

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