GNO Collaborative Teachers

Photos/Video: Audubon Charter School 2nd Annual Visual Impairment Awareness Symposium held today

Date: June 1st, 2024

Student-inspired symposium educates students about blindness and deaf blindness through interactive activities and presentations

Today, Audubon Charter School held its 2nd Annual Blindness Awareness Symposium for Audubon students and staff at Audubon Charter School – Uptown, Upper Campus. Inspired by the educational journey of a blind student at Audubon Charter School, Narjis Karimipour, and her mother Sarah Kassim, this day-long event is designed to educate students about blindness and deaf blindness through interactive activities and presentations by experts in the field and individuals with visual impairments. The symposium covered the specialized training, tools, and strategies that blind and deaf blind individuals use to access education, infrastructure, and employment, enabling them to live fully and independently.


Audubon Blind Symposium Photos:Video – Google Drive

The Blindness Awareness Symposium aims to promote a greater understanding of visual impairments and foster a more inclusive school community. By educating students about blindness, Audubon Charter School hopes to cultivate empathy and respect for people with disabilities. Audubon Charter School is committed to fostering an inclusive and equitable learning environment for all students. This event is part of the school’s ongoing efforts to raise awareness and promote diversity and inclusion within its community, and highlight the need of support for these individuals.

Highlights of the day included:

  • Interactive Stations: Students rotated in groups through five different break-out sessions, each 25 minutes in length, including learning Braille, using a white cane for independence, playing goalball, and experiencing different levels of vision through simulation glasses.
  • Expert Presentations: The symposium featured a variety of presenters, including Bonita Abadie, Braille Instructor and Blind Mentor; Rhonda Guillory, Teacher of the Visually Impaired & Hearing Impaired (Retired); Caitlyn Blodget, Orientation & Mobility Specialist; and Susan Covington, Executive Director, Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired, among others.
  • Empowerment and Inclusion: The event emphasizes that “Blindness and Deafblindness are not disabilities but rather different abilities” and highlights the importance of creating an inclusive community for individuals with visual impairments.

Break-out Sessions included:

Let’s Learn Braille: Learn the dot locations and configurations of the English alphabet, write names in Grade 1 braille, and decode braille words or phrases.

  • White Canes are for Independence: Understand the history and use of the long white cane and try using a cane to walk a short distance with non-visual senses.
  • Goalball: Experience playing the sport where participants rely on hearing and touch, not vision.
  • Blindness is a Spectrum: Use simulation glasses to learn about different types of vision and complete tasks while wearing them.
  • Use Your Words (and Touch): Engage in a partnered activity to direct or instruct a task using non-visual communication.
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