Royal Blind School Hosts European Education Project


Press Release | 05/06/2013

Education specialists in visual impairment from across Europe arrive in Edinburgh today to continue developing a project on mobility and independence for young visually impaired learners.

The Royal Blind School is hosting 30 people from seven EU countries this week as part of a Comenius STEP UP project. The European visitors will work with mobility and habilitation staff at the Royal Blind School to develop resources for parents, carers and professionals working with children and young people with a visual impairment. The resources will support the development of core skills in orientation and mobility for visually impaired young people.

The two year Comenius project aims to challenge some commonly held misunderstandings and a lack of public knowledge related to orientation, mobility and independence for young learners with a severe visual impairment.   The European visitors, who are all from specialist schools and services that support young people with a visual impairment in their own settings, will work together with the Royal Blind School team to develop support materials and resources including games, activities, myth busting and common terminology surrounding mobility.

Angie Bisson, Mobility and Independence Specialist at the Royal Blind School said:

"Working across several European countries enables us to share experiences and best practice to develop high quality resources for parents, carers and education professionals. These resources will enable the learner who is visually impaired to develop core essential conceptual skills required to understand that the environment is complex and constantly changing. In addition, the resources will enable those working with visually impaired pupils to ensure that they make full use of information that can be gained through use of their remaining vision and the other senses.

“As part of our programme this week, we will be challenging the inconsistencies t in practice of orientation, mobility and independenceand producing a glossary of standardised terminology and definitions for use by pupils, staff, parents and education professionals. We will also be highlighting knowledge and awareness of environmental features and potential hazards for a child with a visual impairment.

“We are looking forward to welcoming our fellow project workers from Sweden, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Finland, Slovenia, Luxembourg, and the Czech Republic. Though we have a long and onerous work schedule planned there will also be opportunities to share practice, learn about other cultures and, as importantly, show our visitors what Edinburgh has to offer in history, food and culture.”

The project was developed in Dublin in January 2012 and will continue until 2014.