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Salus University’s Blindness and Low Vision Summer Residency

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Salus University’s Blindness and Low Vision Summer Residency

It’s business as usual – almost – for the summer residency students in the Blindness and Low Vision Studies (BLVS) program at Salus University.

Of course, nothing is the same as it once was thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the BLVS program has made it as close to business as usual for its students, primarily by utilizing existing technology to its fullest potential.

“We’re going to tap into existing technology and put it to good use under the circumstances,” said Dr. Fabiana Perla, chair of the Department of Blindness and Low Vision Studies.

The BLVS department has four programs – Low Vision Rehabilitation, Orientation and Mobility, Educators of Children and Youth with Visual Impairments and Vision Rehabilitation Therapy, all of which are mostly taught online.

But students in those programs need hands-on practice with certain skills – like how to use a white cane, how to use optical devices or learning independent living skills – and those things can’t be taught online.

“There are a great deal of learning experiences that use blindfolds and low vision simulators so that the students actually learn how to perform the skills and use specialized equipment under simulated vision loss,” Dr. Perla said. “That happens during the summer because many of our students are school teachers and can come on campus during their break.”

The disruption with the limited access to the Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, campus at Salus, which loosened a bit in June to allow students on campus for labs, did affect most of the BLVS summer semester, which this year was from May 18 to Aug. 28.



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