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Meet APH: American Printing House for the Blind

When navigating life with a challenge like blindness, it is comforting to know there are organizations that provide valuable resources that can help. American Printing House For The Blind (APH) is one such organization, providing resources and support to sight-impaired individuals.

For over 150 years, APH has proudly served the blind and visually impaired community by creating educational and functionalAmerican Printing House for the Blind living products for those that suffer from visual impairment. It is now the largest non-profit organization in the world that serves this community.

Tracing its roots back to 1858, APH was founded when it first saw a need to assist blind students. After the opening of the first schools for blind children in the 1830’s, it was clear that teachers had precious few books and educational resources. Funds were raised and locations discussed. Finally, in 1858, the General Assembly of Kentucky passed an Act to establish The American Printing House For The Blind. In 1860, a press was purchased, and, after disruption by the Civil War, the first book was produced by APH in 1866.

Since then, APH has worked tirelessly to provide products to the blind and visually impaired community. In 1879, under the Federal Act to Promote the Education of the Blind, APH became the official supplier of educational materials for visually impaired students. The funding for this Act benefitting blind and visually impaired students continues today through the Federal Quota Program. Funds from each state are used to purchase educational materials for blind and visually impaired students.

As both a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and a manufacturing company, American Printing House for the Blind serves a unique and important public role, but is also able to manufacture and offer incredible products to the individual consumer. Browsing their shop shows an array of:

  • Braille textbooks, magazines, custom braille
  • Large print textbooks, custom large print
  • Talking Books on a contract basis
  • Accessible tests
  • Educational kits, tools, and supplies
  • Talking software and hardware
  • Independent living products such as talking color identifiers

APH and CVI

American Printing House for the Blind is a leading resource for the Cortical Visual Impairment community. APH understands the importance of education for CVI.

“Those working with children diagnosed (and many who remain undiagnosed)  with CVI understand that the more we learn about this neurological visual impairment the more complicated the conversation becomes.”

To this end, they have numerous educational resources and posts on their website http://tech.aph.org/cvi/.

Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy notes that CVI “is the leading cause of visual impairment in children today”.  At CVi Connect, we are happy to see the commitment from APH to the CVI community. Please visit http://www.aph.org/ to see their vast educational resources and products that support the blind and visually impaired community.

The Future of CVI – Why CVi Connect is Excited About Recent Advances

It is heartening when a challenge is solved with a solution that just makes sense. If you are a parent that has a child with Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI), you understand the challenges related to that diagnosis very acutely.

How could you not? But while the healthcare system in the United States can be frustrating for families with uncommon diagnoses, there is a silver lining. That system creates opportunities for innovative businesses to fill the gap by creating amazing solutions that solve real problems.

CVi Connect is one of those solutions. This state-of-the-art ipad app is a new and powerful tool to assist children with CVI. Its intelligent software captures data behind the scenes to allow CVi Connect Support Professionals to enrich the experience of the ipad app by creating additional activities. CVi Connect also has created an active forum where users of the app can get their questions answered and discuss ideas in a community setting.

What makes the CVi Connect iPad app different? If you’re a CVI parent, or someone who has worked with CVI patients, you may have seen other apps targeting CVI. The apps aim to assist individuals with CVI by showing visual queues, working to stimulate the areas of the brain that control visual processing and the visual pathways of the brain.

But the CVi Connect iPad app is different.CVi Connect Activity Screenshot

First, the CVi Connect app is smart. It reacts to the experience of the user, stores the data about how a user responds to a particular activity and then presents that data back to the parent or TVI. Capturing this data allows parents and TVIs to create follow-on activities based on how the user responds.

Second, not all users are the same, so there has to be something that allows the technology to make sure they are presented exercises that are good fit for them. The CVI Range Score, developed by Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy, is what allows users of the CVi Connect iPad app to have an experience that is tailored to them. Pretty neat.

One of the hot topics in technology is something called “big data.” It is a nebulous term, but essentially it means that all software being built is creating a huge amount of data. This begs the question, “What can we do with all this data to help improve processes?”

The CVi Connect app is not just displaying visual targets to users. By using the camera on the iPad, the app is “observing” and recording a number of things:

  • when an individual is looking at the screen
  • how long they are looking at the screen
  • if they touch the screen
  • and much more.

By capturing all that data, CVi Connect can use it to help TVIs both refine future activity sets, while also enhancing the functionality of the app itself. The more usage of the app, the more “big data” is available and the more refinements can be made. CVi Connect is very excited about leveraging these cutting edge tactics to enhance our technology and help individuals with CVI improve their eyesight.

The CVi Connect Forum

But, CVi Connect wants your help to make the technology even better.

The CVi Connect forum is available for CVi Connect app users to discuss ideas, ask questions and just talk to other individuals affected by CVI. There’s a good chance that if you have a question about the app, someone else has either already asked that question or will ask it in the future. The forum also allows you to ask questions that will be answered by CVi Connect staff. The dialog around your question is then logged in the forum and made available for the next person who has that question.

CVi Connect knows there are many groups of people who care deeply about CVI and those affected by it.  The CVi Connect Forum is an ideal place to discuss ideas and ask questions with other CVI-minded individuals – parents, teachers, professionals and CVi Connect staff. If you or a family member is involved with CVI or has a CVI child, please spread the word (click here to share the forum to Facebook) and help make the CVi Connect Forum the comprehensive hub for all CVI related conversations. CVi Connect is committed to making it your community.

CVi Connect Blog

CVi Connect will not just work to continually enhance its technology; it will also provide consistent, valuable content to the CVI Connect community. The CVi Connect blog contains the latest CVI news, recent updates to the iPad app, and CVI events across the country. There is also app-specific content posted to our blog – things like tutorials, getting started guides and new feature updates. The blog will also share any other important information that is valuable to the CVi Connect community. Finally, CVi Connect sends out a monthly newsletter with the latest articles and CVi Connect news. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter and get great content sent straight to your inbox.

CVi Connect is focused on the opportunity to positively affect the lives of individuals with CVI. It has an amazing team that works hard everyday to provide the best technology and service possible.

CVi Connect sees a world where CVI patients have better tools at their disposal, where the CVI community is more connected, and where families and professionals have great information available to make better decisions in their journey with CVI.

CVi Connect invites you to join with us and help improve the lives of those affected by CVI.

How CVi Connect Will Help to Improve The Vision of Your Child

Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) is the term used for a brain that misinterprets signals from otherwise healthy eyes. In 2013, Christine Roman-Lantzy, PhD, developed a protocol for improving the vision of kids with CVI. Her protocol has proven extremely effective in helping children recover their vision. CVi Connect has augmented this system into a new iPad-based, cutting edge program designed to assist children with CVI. This innovative application serves to provide:

  • Cutting edge technology that captures the eye movement of your child
  • Learning activities based on the individual progress of your child
  • Functionality designed to improve the eyesight of your child
  • The ability for your child to learn anytime, anywhere
  • A vibrant online community to provide ongoing support

The iPad program has been successfully tested at the Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency with excellent results.  It has also been utilized by many families, with their child, in a home environment. We are proud to now offer the CVi Connect app to assist your child with Cortical Visual Impairment.

Technology

The CVi Connect app utilizes technology for monitoring and charting the progress of a child as they work toward individualized goals. Using the camera inside of the iPad, CVi Connect detects whether or not the child is engaged with the image or activity presented. The camera can determine whether the child’s eyes have followed movement on the screen. This engagement information is recorded and correlated with what is being displayed on the screen to help the family understand what is providing the best visual attention for the child.

Personalized Progress

The CVi Connect app offers the freedom to work with your child in the comfort and convenience of your own home, with the support and guidance of CVI Support Professionals at CVi Connect. CVi Connect works to advance children through the CVi Connect’s activities curriculum. To determine your child’s starting point, he or she needs to be assessed and provided a range score.  If your child has not been assessed for their CVI range score that can be determined at the beginning of the program.

Online Community and Support

In addition to monitored progress, a subscription to the CVi Connect service includes access to education and social forums administered by CVI Support Professionals. These forums work to ensure proper administration of the program, collaborate efforts with other families and TVI professionals regarding questions about the program, as well as webinars and other informational offerings on CVI and CVi Connect.

CVi Connect has worked to fine tune our program and app offering in order to provide an optimum environment to improve the vision of your child. We are very excited to offer you this product and invite you to join this program with your child.

To receive ongoing information on CVi Connect, and how we are working to help children with CVI, be sure to sign up to receive notifications from our blog and newsletter.