ENVITER webinar logo

Another ENVITER Webinar, this time about “Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Visual Impairment” was held through Zoom on November 28th.

The presentation by Laura Latour, from our IRSAM (France) member, was about her PhD research studies, which started with two general observations:

  • The high prevalence of ASD in Blind and Severely Visually impaired children: several studies estimate occurrence up to 30-50%…
  • Complexity of the ASD Diagnosis: overlapping of clinical signs + lack of tests adapted to these children.

You can access this presentation here.

The recording of this Webinar is available at ENVITER’s Youtube channel.


Photo of a magnifying glass over braille

Dear CVI professional,


We would like to know about your possible interest in establishing an ICEVI-Europe professional interest group on Cerebral Visual Impairment (CVI). Professional Interest Groups were established with the purpose of bringing together teachers, academics and professionals who work in the same specific field in order to exchange knowledge and experiences about the education and re/habilitation of people with visual impairments.

With this questionnaire we would like to map the organisations and persons who are supporting children and young adults with cerebral visual impairment (CVI) and to determine interest in setting up such a professional interest group.

We would appreciate if you could share this questionnaire that takes no longer than 10 minutes, with any other professionals who may also be interested in such a professional interest group.

Please go to: https://forms.office.com/e/Ae04ZMBqqZ to fill in the questionnaire.

It would be great if you could reply before 20 November 2023.

Many thanks in advance.


Marieke Steendam, Royal Dutch Visio

John Ravenscroft, University of Edinburgh

Frank Laemers, University of Education Heidelberg

Aukje Snijders, Royal Dutch Visio

Photo of Elena Weber and Philippe Belseur standing by a EASPD poster
Our President, Mrs. Elena Weber, and another of our Board Members, Mr. Philippe Belseus, are in Helsinki representing us and also our peer Network, HIPEN, in the EASPD (European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities) International Conference ‘Enabling Social Innovation: Concepts, frameworks & organisational change’ and General Assembly.
For more information about this event, visit https://www.easpdconference.eu/.
Project Early Logo

Another ENVITER Webinar, hosted by VYV3 PDL – Monteclair Institute, was held on October 16th, with the aim of presenting the EARLY project results.

EARLY project was born from ENVITER exchanges, based on a topic submitted by MONTECLAIR Institute (Angers-France), and coming from the same purposes: children, and young adults with blindness often lack of autonomy in different areas.

Monteclair proposed to work together to question our practices in early intervention services and support of families with the aim to develop good practices in this field. An Erasmus + project Exchange of practices is born in 2020 between France (Monteclair and CRDV), Italy (Rittmeyer, Ascoli and Istituto dei Sordi), Austria (Contrast), Bulgaria (NRCB) and Croatia (Vinko Bek). During 2 years, 3 mobilities of professionals were developed for the exchange of practices and put forward the good practices for the support of very young children.

This webinar detailed the content of the project and outcomes realized, with intervention by Catherine THIBAULT and Philippe BELSEUR (VYV3 PDL – Monteclair Institute).

You can find the results of this project here:

Please visit our  ENVITER Youtube channel, following this link, if you wish to see the recording of this webinar.

Worshop group photo

This year, Viena (Austria) was the host city of ENVITER’s annual Blue Sky Meeting (BSM).

On September 28th and 29th, our members met at the Hilfsgemeinschaft to brainstorm about ideas for project proposals and develop constructive workshops.

These annual BSM are developed with the financial support of the network itself, sponsoring the involvement of a person per member and this way promoting the opportunity to meet together and to take part in the growth of ENVITER, by encouraging work on new project topics and proposals for submission for funding.

During the 2 work days, we had the opportunity to participate in debates, presentations, project workshops and also a visit to our new member, the Bundes-Blindenerziehungsinstitut.

During the presentations, Laura Latour, from our member IRSAM, presented her work about Autism Spectrum Disorder And  Visual Impairment. You will be able to find her presentation here and we hope that, soon, we can have a webinar about it, so this subject can reach professionals working in our members organizations and others.

For participants that could also stay until Saturday, it was possible to engage in a very special visit to one of the most iconic places, in Vienna: St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

ENVITER webinar logo

ENVITER and ICEVI Europe logos

On 21 September, for almost 2 hours, during the afternoon, ENVITER and ICEVI-Europe (International Council for Education and Re/habilitation of People with Visual Impairment, Europe) hosted a joint webinar on Visual Impairment and Relations, Intimacy, and Sexuality.

All blind or partially sighted people (from 0 to 100), regardless of their intellectual ability, should have access to correct knowledge about their body, relations, intimacy, and sexuality and should be given the opportunity to experience this all according to their wants and needs. This statement is the rational for the work at the national Dutch expertise group on relations, intimacy, and sexuality (RIS), made up of members from 3 different organizations: Royal Dutch Visio, Bartiméus and the Robert Coppes Foundation. And they invited all interested professionals to join an interactive international webinar on September 21 and share experience and knowledge: sexual development in the lifecycle, practical information and materials, results from scientific research project, personal stories from clients, casuistry, and ideas for attitude and conversations on this topic.


  • Suzanne Sparidans (Royal Dutch Visio)
  • Sandra van der Meijden (Royal Dutch Visio)
  • Yeshe Zoutenbier (Bartiméus)
  • Bram Vedder (Robert Coppes Foundation)

You can find the recording of this webinar in our ENVITER’s Youtube channel.

Other resources presented in the Webinar:

photo of the muziekgebouw with save the date 2 to 4 june 2025

Save the date: 2-4 june 2025 – Tactile Reading Conference

photo of the muziekgebouw with save the date 2 to 4 june 2025

ENVITER is excited to announce the Tactile Reading and Graphics Conference 2025, which will take place from 2 – 4 June 2025 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The Tactile Reading’s third edition will bring together participants worldwide that contribute to making information accessible through tactile solutions. In addition to braille, this also involves tactile graphics, drawings and 3D. During three days, the conference will feature a varied program about all aspects of tactile reading and graphics with inspiring speakers.

Join us at the fantastic and inspiring venue of the ‘Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ’, the most important concert hall for contemporary music in the Netherlands.

To learn more about the Conference, please visit the website www.tactilereading.org . Stay tuned for further details, including the call for abstracts, the official program and featured speakers.

It is the aim of the Conference Organization to connect as many people as possible in joining forces to empower inclusive reading experiences for all. Therefore, if you know other people and organizations who might be interested to participate, to be a speaker or to be a supporting sponsor of the Tactile Reading and Graphics Conference, please forward this announcement to them.

So, mark your calendars and save the date!


Positive Looking International Conf-Shop logo

conference sponsors

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)
  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.