Beyond Blindness (formerly the Blind Children’s Learning Center) received $20,000 to to integrate critical technology into the lives of visually impaired children (birth-22 years) with a new cutting-edge Assistive Technology Lab (ATL).

Description of how the Impact Giving grant funds will be used:

Funds will be used to:

  • Build a NEW Assistive Technology Lab with state-of-the-art resources for underserved visually impaired students (preschool-12th grade) and their parents
  • Transform on-site classrooms so children enter their first academic learning space with tools and resources adapted to their visual needs

Description of Project/Program that seeking Impact Giving funds for:

BCLC seeks funds to integrate critical technology into the lives of visually impaired children (birth-22 years) with a new cutting-edge Assistive Technology Lab (ATL). This Lab will offer walk-in hours, individual training, and a technology lending library. Moreover, parents will be trained with specifics on how to improve their child’s educational development.

This new ATL will be the only one designed for blind and visually impaired children in Orange County. Only 65% of special education students graduate from high school as many give up on school altogether.

Targeting underserved and low-income children with visual impairments living throughout OC, BCLC serves families facing extraordinary expenses raising children with special needs and moderate to severe disabilities.

This compelling project is the first of its kind in OC and a model that can be replicated throughout California.

Impact Giving has the opportunity to be one of the first investors in this essential community resource and be leverage for additional dollars from the California Dept. of Rehab and other funders.

High Impact & Life Transforming

Children with visual impairments are at risk for devastating isolation, and developmental and academic delays.  Research shows that students who are kindergarten ready are more likely to read at grade-level by 3rd grade. But imagine if your child never saw a book before they entered kindergarten. This is the equivalent of a blind child without access to assistive technology.

This project will reduce inequity in education and quality of life. Addressing the needs of visually impaired students is vital to their academic success and personal fulfillment.

Education

Staff advocates in the schools will support students with Independent Education Plans (IEP).

Developmental tools and toys including iPad accessibility tools, tactile skeleton, light boxes, and toys with braille, will be available for all ages.

Technology is essential for visually impaired children to access their environment, learn about the world, and function fully in their daily lives.

Sustainability

  • BCLC consistently secures 30-35 foundation grants annually.
  • 100% of board members contribute annually.
  • The project is scalable and will expand reach to school age students, providing a pipeline for other highly fundable opportunities.

Community Building

BCLC leverages important partnerships such as leading-edge CEO Angie Rowe who is spearheading a new association of providers across California to support those with visual impairments.

Children with visual impairments will be able to collaborate on school projects with sighted students and engage in community-wide activities in which they were previously unable to participate. Many blind students have never even met another blind student. In the ATL, visually impaired students will be able to connect with their peers; interactive workshops will connect parents facing similar challenges.

Additionally, a robust advisory board of eyecare professionals has been established.

Innovative

This new ATL will be the only Lab designed for blind and visually impaired children in OC. Additionally, BCLC will operate the only early learning classrooms equipped with state-of-the-art technology for children with visual impairments. This is an enduring investment in the future of OC’s blind and visually impaired community.

Measurable

80 preschool-12th grade students will gain increased access to education through the use of assistive technology. Outcomes include:

  • 85% of children enrolled in BCLC’s early learning classrooms will improve cognitive, academic, and social-emotional skills necessary for success in school and beyond.
  • 85% of participating K-12th grade students attending public school classrooms will have improved accessibility to educational services.
  • 90% of parents will increase knowledge of assistive technology and the ability to advocate and support their child’s learning at home and school.

Organization’s Mission Statement:

To prepare children with visual impairments for a life of independence through early intervention, education, and family support

Link to the website:    https://www.blindkids.org/