The second annual "Making the Grade Conference" took place on October 18, 2016 at the New England Eye Commonwealth clinic. New England Eye is the clinical affiliate of the New England College of Optometry, NECO. Close to fifty participants attended the event, sponsored by New England Eye, Boston Public Schools (BPS), and the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB).
The symposium was geared towards teachers, practitioners, advocates, and clinicians and focused on multi-disciplinary rehabilitation strategies for children with vision impairment. This represents the third collaborative meeting for the group, who are working together to increase collaboration, resources and improve care for children with visual impairment within the Boston area.
Presenters included spoke on a variety of topics including teachers for visually impaired students at Boston Public Schools and rehabilitation therapists, caseworkers, and orientation and mobility specialists. Topics included including determining learning media for children with visual impairments, expansion of vocational rehabilitation services, pre-employment transition services, orientation and mobility in school settings, and assistive technology.
Massachusetts Commissioner for the Blind Paul Saner spoke about the expansion of vocational rehabilitation services to consumers with progressive visual impairments as well as pre-employment transition services.
Low vision and pediatric eye care providers at New England Eye and clinical faculty at New England College of Optometry presented information on low vision evaluations, insurance coverage, and misconceptions regarding vision therapy.
The full agenda included:
- The Low Vision Evaluation - What does insurance cover? - Dr. Jamara
- The Low Vision Evaluation – Case Based Discussions – Dr. Ross & Dr. Malkin
- Determining Learning Media for Children with Visual Impairments. – Anne Spitz M.Ed.
- Expansion of vocational rehabilitation services to consumers with progressive visual impairments - Commissioner Paul Saner
- Who can receive pre-employment transition services, Pre-ETS – Commissioner Paul Saner
- Misconceptions Regarding Vision Therapy – Dr. Richard Laudon
- Fall Series of Technology for Life Programs for students ages - Michell Antinarelli (Carrol Center)
- Orientation and Mobility in the School Setting - Paula Kosior M.Ed. COMS
- Orientation & Mobility with MCB - Meg Robertson COMS
- MCB Children’s Program Presentations:
- Sengil Inkiala- Vocational Rehabilitation Services
- Dahlia James- Transition Services
- Nina Kagan – Children’s Services
- Anne Cantrill – Deaf Blind Extended Supports (DBES)
- Assistive Technology Services with MCB - Evan Silver
- Perkins outreach programs - Patrick Ryan and Teri Turgeon
- Our Space Our Place - Cheryl Cummings