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See it, Find it, Use it – Supporting Vision for Complex Learners

Our Icelandic member (the Icelandic National Institute for the Blind, Visually Impaired and Deafblind) is pleased to announce an upcoming conference and workshop titled “See it, Find it, Use it – Supporting Vision for Complex Learners”. The event will be held in Iceland from the 27th to the 28th of October at the Icelandic Blind Association, Hamrahlíð 17, 105 Reykjavik.

Vision is often overlooked when children have additional needs. In this conference, they’re putting vision at the top of the agenda! This conference will inspire you to understand how easy and beneficial it is to work with stimulating vision, even for most children with additional disabilities. We will introduce the ‘Positive Looking’ method, which is practical and accessible for both professionals and parents.

At the conference, participants will be introduced to useful and simple strategies to specifically support children with limited vision or trouble interpreting what they see, a condition known as Cerebral Visual Impairment (CVI). In the end, participants are encouraged to find their own unique ways to support children with vision loss and additional needs. The ‘Positive Looking’ method can also be used to monitor the progress of visual skills. However, few of us realize that we use vision for 70-80% of our sensory processing. It is crucial for everyone involved with a child with complex needs to understand how they use their vision and how they can progress further. This conference and workshop aim to do just that!

You don’t need to be an expert in the field of vision to attend this conference.

The conference is hosted by Positive Eye UK in collaboration with the National Institute for Visually Impaired  Blind and Deafblind and Blindrafelagid, Icelandic Association of the Visually Impaired (BIAVI).

Who should attend?

Everyone! This includes Special Educators, Special School Teachers, Teachers of Vision Impairment/Multi-sensory impairment, Therapists, and Parents.


£200.00. This covers the two-day conference, including lunches and refreshments on both days. Attendees must make their own accommodation and travel arrangements. Please note not to make any travel arrangements until the 30th of June when we will confirm if the minimum attendee count has been reached. Payment will not be asked for until this date.

Registration is available through the Positive Eye webpage or by email, please contact the Icelandic National Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired at midstod@midstod.is.

Conference-Workshop Schedule – Day 1

9 – 9.15 Registration and refreshments
9.15 – 9.30 Welcome: Gwyn McCormack, Director of Positive Eye UK.
9.30 – 9.45 We‘ll meet you where you are – let‘s find you

Here Dr. Rachel Pilling will help us to understand about autism and vision impairment.


Professor Rachel Pilling: Consultant Ophthalmologist, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. Professor of Special Needs & Learning Disability Eye Care, University of Bradford, UK

9. 45 – 10:15 Positive Looking: Simple – Possible – Doable by EVERYONE.

Gwyneth McCormack will discuss strategies for visual stimulation and share ideas that everyone can implementAt this point, it could be useful to downloadthe Positive looking app!


Gwyneth McCormack, Director of Positive Eye

10.15 – 10.30 Coffee
10.30 – 11.15 The ‘What’ and ‘Why’ Behind Positive LookingIn the lecture Estella Bjornsson MSc and Dr. Elva Johannesdottir will tell about how positive visual stimulation is useful and the science behind it.


Estella Björnsson, optometrist og Elva Jóhannesdóttir, opthalmologist at the National Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Iceland.

11.15 – 12 Do you see what I see?

Professor Rachel Pilling will help us to understand about autism and vision impairment in her presentation.


Professor Rachel Pilling: Consultant Ophthalmologist, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. Professor of Special Needs & Learning Disability Eye Care, University of Bradford, UK

12 – 13 Lunch
13-14 Using the Eye for Positive Movement

Beth Foster will share ways to utilize residual vision to assist with movement opportunities. She will discuss physical literacy and how an increase in literacy can assist with independence and self-advocacy


Dr. Elizabeth (Beth) Foster, Ph.D. Associate professor at West Chester University, PA in adapted physical activity/education (APA/E). 3 APA/E program coordinator and graduate coordinator of the APE graduate certificate program. Director for Camp Abilities in Pennsylvania

14 – 14.45 Positive Looking in Action Setting up the environment for Positive Looking

Here you get to know how to make the environment successful for visual stimulation and what tools you can use for visual stimulation.


Gwyn McCormack, Positive Eye UK

14.45 – 15 Coffee
15.15 – 16 A continuum of the workshop Positive Looking in Action Positive Looking Everywhere You Go!


Conference-Workshop Schedule – Day 2

9:00 – 9:15 Welcome and Workshop to make your Positive Looking Everyday by Everyone Toolkit base!.


Gwyn McCormack, Positive Eye UK

9:15 – 10:45 Positive Looking = Positive Impact in the States Utilizing the Storytime Show. This presentation will focus on the Impact of Positive Looking Strategies through the participation in The Storytime Show through the introduction and development of literacy skills. Literacy has commonly been defined as the ability to read and write. However, that definition has placed literacy beyond the scope of possibility for some children who have complex sensory, physical or developmental challenges. The State DeafBlind Projects collaborated to create an online space for families to enjoy stories, build confidence, and create a home library that is inclusive of all family members. The State DeafBlind Project was purposeful in its planning, sending craft activity boxesto all family participants, contract with Gwyn McCormack, provide American Sign Language Interpreters, captioning, and translating into Spanish. The Storytime Show connects to the Positive Looking Program strategies to ensure active participation for children who are Blind/visually impaired, DeafBlind, Complex Learners.


Dr Donna Carpenter: Kentucky Deafblind Project Danna Conn: Tennessee Deafblind Project Robert Hill: South Carolina Deafblind Project

10:45 – 11:00 Coffee
11:00 – 11:45 Practical Workshop: Positive Looking – Story Writing Gwyn McCormack, Positive Eye, UK

Here participants are given the resources to write stories to use with children to develop their visual skills.

11:45 – 12:30 See It Find It Use It –a new approach to the child with CVI

Professor Rachel Pilling and Daniel Downes will share a new tool they have developed to support educators working with children with CVI


Professor Rachel Pilling: Consultant Ophthalmologist, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. Professor of Special Needs & Learning Disability Eye Care, University of Bradford, UK Daniel Downes: Team Leader for Children with VI, Salford, UK

12:30 – 13:00 Lunch
13:30 – 14:15 Looking Past the Barriers: Our Journey in Kentucky, USA

How state of Kentucky implemented positive looking in their schools and consultation.


Dr Donna Carpenter: Deafblind Project, Kentucky Robbin Cox: Outreach Consultant, Kentucky Angela Powell – Outreach Consultant, Kentucky

14:15 – 15:30 Practical Workshop: Create a ‘Positive Looking Everyday by Everyone Toolkit’ to takeway


Gwyn McCormack, Positive Eye, UK

15:30 – 16:00 Plenary, takeaways.
General meeting 2023 Group photo

May 9th to 11th were 2023 dates for ENVITER 2023 annual meeting, this in year in the beautiful city of Ascoli Piceno, Italy.

With 3 full days dedicated to following your network goals, we had a full program that included our usual Conference, on Wednesday, this time under the theme “Innovation in Education and Rehabilitation for Visually Impaired People”, during which we had the following presentations:

  1. Psyvis Impact Study: The impact of visual impairment and comorbid mental disorders on functioning in essential life domains. A systematic review and Delphi study, by Marjolein LA Onnink, Lisanne BA Teunissen, Peter FJ Verstraten and Ruth MA van Nispen, Hilde PA van der Aa (Robert Coppes Foundation, Vught, The Netherlands, Amsterdam UMC, Vrije Universiteit, Ophthalmology and the Amsterdam Public Health research institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
  2. Guidelines to support the creation of accessible videos to visually impaired children and their families, by V.Baiardi, S.Trentin, M.E. Reffo and E. Mercuriali (Robert Hollman Fondation, Italy)
  3. Rehabilitative educational project for visually impaired youth with psychiatric, neurobiological and behavioral disorders, by Francesca Alessio-Vernì, Anna Calacione, Denise A. Ciccia and Giorgia Valenti (Istituto Rittmeyer, Italy)
  4. Bringing Solutions and stakeholders together, by Prof. Priv. Doz. Mag. Dr. Elmar Wilhelm M. Fürst and Stefanie Chwalko, (Hilfsgemeinschaft der Blinden und Sehschwachen Österreich, Austria)
  5. Blind people’s use of AI technology (BlindTech), by Birgit Christensen, Rikke Fogh Jørgensen (IBOS, Denmark)
  6. Experimental taking care model: a machinery system in favour of families with visually impaired children, by Chiara Mastantyono (Unione Italiana dei Ciechi e degli Ipovedenti, Italy)
  7. Summary of Innovations in Education at Royal Dutch Visio, by Evert Rasing (Royal Dutch Visio, The Netherlands) – PRESENTATION WILL BE AVAILABLE IN A FEW DAYS
  8. New device in O&M- Bubble cane for beginners, by Agnes Somorjai (School for the Blind Budapest, Hungary)

During Wednesday afternoon, our attention was all on the results for the Erasmus+ T4VIS-In3D project: “Trainers for Visually Impaired Students Indtroduce 3D Printing”. This presentation was focused on:

  • Creating tactile teaching material with 3D printers:
    • Advantages of 3D printing in comparison to traditional techniques
    • Prerequisites
    • Minimum requirements and anticipated costs
    • Further applications for 3D printing in organisations for the visullly impaired
  • Developed curricula and associated teaching materials:
    • Curriculum 1: “Creating tactile teaching materials with 3D printer. Introduction into FDM and SLA technology
    • Curriculum 2: “Introducing visully impaired students into FDM 3D printing technology”

You can download the presented material using this link: https://www.t4vis-in3d.net/Presentation/ENVITER_3DPrint_Workshop_Presentations.zip. For more information on this project, please visit https://www.t4vis-in3d.net/ .

This Multiplier Event ended with the Workshop “Creating tactile maps with FDM 3D printers”, where participants learn about the required software, how to use TouchMapper, prepare data files for FDM printer/slicing, preparing the printer and starting the print job, also with the chance to check a 3D printer on the spot, during all these steps.

PsyCovia project logo

PsyCovia project logo

On April 18th, from 4:00 to 5:00pm (CET – Central European Time), ENVITER held another WEBINAR, part of the PsyCoVIA project – International sharing of knowledge and expertise on psychological and psychiatric comorbidity in adults with visual impairment – dissemination events.

Goals for this Webinar:

In the webinar, the team will shared their experiences on the following topics:

  • The format of the Transnational Project Meetings (TPM) and to what way this was experienced as an effective method to share experiences;
  • The most important insights gained during this project on providing care to adults with a visual impairment and comorbid mental disorders;
  • The procedure used to discuss the cases, that was based on the socratic intervision method.


The complexity of a visual impairment with multiple additional disabilities is often the reason for adopting a highly individualistic approach. A pilot study by Boesen et al. (2016) showed that there is hardly any literature available on how to deal with these multi-problems. Especially literature on the combination of psychological and psychiatric symptoms with a visual impairment is missed. Within the entire population of people with a visual impairment, this is a small group. It is therefore inevitable and necessary to work together with partners from abroad in order to better support this vulnerable group of clients through joint expertise. The method we use for this is the sharing of best practices.

During six Transnational Project meetings, professionals and clients from five countries shared their knowledge and expertise in this area by presenting their own knowledge and discussing cases on specific topics. All good practices shared during these meetings were collected in a digital ‘Good Practices Book’ that can be used for further training of professionals (educators and trainers) in working with adults with a visual impairment and additional psychological/psychiatric problems. With the ultimate goal to better assist service users.

The format of this project and the structure of the different TPM’s were experienced as successful and highly effective by the different partners. The combination of presentations and case discussions was a good way to exchange knowledge and build a strong network between the participating organizations.


  • Marit van Buijsen, Robert Coppes Foundation, the Netherlands
  • André Kunnig, Berufsförderungswerk Halle, Germany
  • Ana Petrinec & Emina Šišić-Anđelić, Center for education and rehabilitation ‘Vinko Bek’, Croatia
  • Janka Braun, Ildikó Gálné Németh & Emese Tóth, Budapest School for the Blind, Hungary
  • Elena Weber, Regional Institute Rittmeyer for the Blind, Italy

You can find the presentation used in this webinar here or you can see the recorded presentation in ENVITER youtube channel.

Visio logo

Visio logo

You are invited to participate in Visio International Week 2023 that will be held in the Netherlands from June 5 to June 9, 2023.

The international week is a biannual event organised by Visio that provides the opportunity for international partners and colleagues to get insight into the work of Visio, its best practices and expertise in the field. At the same time International week is an opportunity to strengthen inter-organisational links and cooperation as well as stimulate international cooperation and knowledge sharing initiatives.

This year, Breda is the operating base of the international week. Together with many experts in the organization, Visio set up a program that is as diverse as possible, so that there is something for everyone.

This year International Week will address topics such as:

  • Primary education and secondary education;
  • Low vision assessment and rehabilitation;
  • MDVI Day care and living and education;
  • Cerebral Visual impairment;
  • Acquired Brain Injury;
  • Early intervention (MDVI + VI)

and much more. For the full programme, additional practical information and registration form, please follow this link:


If you are interested, you are kindly asked to register before 24 March 2023.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to ask by sending an email to:international@visio.org

We hope to see you in June!

Visio Team International

Els de Keijzer, Petra Wijen, Jan Til, Biljana Volchevska and Aukje Snijders

General Meeting Logo yellow

General Meeting Logo

We are pleased to announce our 2023 annual Conference, hosted by Unione Ialiana dei Ciechi e degli Ipovedenti in Ascoli Piceno, Italy, on Wednesday 10th May 2023.

The purpose of our Annual Conference is to create an opportunity for professionals to share their theoretical and practical knowledge in the field of vision impairment, focusing especially on innovative methodologies, practices and tools.

We are inviting proposals for paper presentations in the following thematic area:

Innovation in Education and Rehabilitation for Visually Impaired People”

Proposal ideas that extend beyond these thematic area will be considered by the Board of ENVITER.


  • Deadline for abstracts/proposals: 14th April 2023 (to be sent to:  coordinator@enviter.eu )
  • Full papers must be presented in English.
  • These papers will be considered for publication on our website.
  • The presentation of the papers should be 20-30 minutes (including questions)

We also offer the opportunity for participation to people as presenters, speakers or as members of the audience who are not from ENVITER member organisations, so please inform your colleagues from the VI field about our conference.

We hope you will be able to join us.

For more information, please contact us.

Photo by Pete Linforth from Pixabay.

ENVITER webinar logo

detail photo of an eye

On February 28th, from 04:00 to 05:00pm (Central European Time), Mr. Lorenzo Billiet, from our new Belgian Blindenzorg Licht en Liefde member presented the ENVITER webinar “Development of the ICF Core Set for Vision Loss”.

Presenting through Zoom to an audience of about 30 participants from different European countries, the goal of this webinar was to take a moment to reflect on the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) framework and its development, including:

  • The ICF framework and its use;
  • What is a core set and its value for the practice;
  • How does the development of a core set happen;
  • The development of the core set vision loss.

This presentation was be part of a worldwide research that can make a big difference in the near future for blind and visually impaired people around the globe, resulting from the collaboration between the University of Amsterdam (the Netherlands) and Ghent (Belgium), working together in the development of a tool to map the functioning of people with visual loss, that includes an online survey, part of a broader research into the development of an International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) core set for people with vision loss. A core set tries to map the factors that influence the quality of life and describe what is relevant for functioning.

Blind and visually impaired people experience problems in different areas of daily life. In particular, they face a reduction in activities associated with participation in society, religion, mobility, recreation and visual tasks. How a person experiences vision loss varies depending on personal and environmental factors and will be interpreted differently for everyone. It will negatively affect the degree of independence, the ability to participate in daily life and the quality of life. In addition, this target group has an increased risk of social isolation, depression and falls.

You can find Mr. Lorenzo Billiet presentation here.

And you can also watch this webinar recording on Youtube.

And you can find more information about the different phases of the development of the core set in the invitation paper: “International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health core set for vision loss: A discussion paper and invitation”. (free accessible via: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/02646196211055954 )

If you wish to cooperate in this research, follow on of these links to the various surveys:

EASPD logo


EASPD logo

In October 2022, ENVITER became a Candidate Observer Member of the EASPD, the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities. This status means that ENVITER is an eligible organisation and has now a temporary membership (for maximum 1 year) to assess the interest of becoming a full member.

EASPD is an Association whose vision is that support services play a key role in enabling people to enjoy their human rights on an equal basis, beyond disability or any other factor. It is precisely this belief that guides their work in Brussels, Strasbourg and throughout Europe, working to reach the following objectives:

  • The full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • The provision of high-quality, and user-centred services running in an accountable, efficient and effective way
  • Fair working conditions and lifelong learning opportunities for staff employed in services.

Our full membership of the Association will be a subject for our General Meeting in Ascoli Piceno, next May. Meanwhile, if you wish to receive the EASPD newsletter and help us to decide whether or not we should become full members, you can use this web address: https://easpd.us11.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=47548462519f84ab547c39ce9&id=2c77ed4839

picture of the second online conference concerning virtual reality

The second online conference, was  held on January 26th, 2023. The conference was very confidently moderated by Emanuela Zaimi from the Hilfsgemeinschaft der Blinden und Sehschwachen Österreichs (Austria). Five speakers presented their results about:

– VR in mobility training
– VR in vocational training of technical professions
– Accessible VR

The conference was a big success. We welcomed at times up to 47 guests who participated online, while 12 staff from the project partners attended in person.
The presentations were supported by subtitles and sign language interpreters to improve the accessibility of this event. The presentations were recorded and are now available on the project homepage https://www.vr4vip.net/activities-visually-impaired/presentations-2nd-online-conference/
The last conference of this project will take place on June 27th, 2023 and covers the subject “VR in the medical field of visual impairment”

ENVITER webinar logo

Photo of a child, playing with a teapot


“Since I am unable to come to the room, the room must come to me”

On January 12th, 2023, from 04:00pm to 05:00pm CET, ENVITER had its first webinar of the year, this time about Active Learning.

Active Learning is an intervention for children and grown-ups who are – due to their impairments -, not able to explore their environment with their hands, feet, or body. They learn to be a passive rather than active participant, waiting for adults to provide activity rather than seeking it out on their own. We see this kind of behaviour mostly by young children with severe visual impairments, and by people with PIMD (profound intellectual and multiple disabilities) and visual impairments.

Active Learning emphasizes creating a developmentally appropriate and enriched environment so that children and adults with multiple special needs become active learners.

This webinar provided more information and examples about Active Learning and how this intervention challenges persons to make physical contact with materials and objects in their nearby space.

The webinar was developed by Martien Rienstra, from our Royal Dutch Visio member. You can have a look at her presentation using this link.