News Release

LDS Missionaries Provide Resources and Training for Visually Impaired

During the week of September 26-30, 2016, representatives from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) provided new resources and training for visually impaired individuals in Barbados at the Irving Wilson School (formally known as the School for Deaf and Blind).  As a great advocate for the visually impaired community, Senator Kerryann Ifill was involved in and supportive of the week-long activities.  In conjunction with the training, three new devices and supporting equipment valued at USD $7,400 were furnished for the school: Sara CE (Camera Edition), Trident Braille Embosser, and Duxbury Software.  


This new technology will improve the classroom and promote greater learning opportunities.  With the Sara CE (Camera Edition), users may put any object with text on it - a book, magazine, newspaper - on the Sara, and within a few seconds, it reads aloud in a computerized voice.  Teachers may use the Trident Braille Embosser to print out classroom assignments and any other necessary materials for the classroom.  The Duxbury software translates common text files like Microsoft Word documents to a format compatible with the braille embosser.

Four different workshops with daily classes were conducted throughout the week.  Project leader, Ron Gardner taught an Orientation and Mobility Workshop focused on safely navigating around objects and stairs, using cane skills, touching and listening.  Each participant received as a gift a new long, white cane as part of this training.

During the White Cane Workshop, taught by Deja Powell, students went on walks around the school and onto Pine Plantation Road sidewalks, learning the finer points of using a long cane.  Novice students made exceptional progress after only a few hours of training and practice with the long canes.  
Both shopping skills and food preparation were taught in Corrina Trujillo Tanner’s Cooking Workshop.  Participants visited a nearby grocery store where they could better experience the visual challenges of finding the necessary ingredients and supplies for their planned meals during the week: cookies, chicken salad sandwiches and tossed salad.  Even the youngest members of the group were able to assist and learn in the kitchen during these meal preparations.

Norm Gardner taught a Victor Reader Stream Workshop designed for the adults in the group.   Beyond reading a text, this handheld device allows the user to locate specific pages, paragraphs, or verses within a text, save voice notes, and even listen to radio stations streamed over WiFi.  Each adult in this training received a Victor Reader Stream to keep as their own.

In addition to these workshops, the team held a discussion group each day.  This setting encouraged honest questions and answers dealing with the many aspects of life with a visual impairment.  Participants offered meaningful emotional and practical support to one another.  

A closing ceremony was held on the final day of training and was attended by Senator Ifill, LDS District President Stuart Sampson, members of the media, and all individuals who participated in the workshops.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hopes to conduct another training session within the next six months for a third group of visually impaired Barbadians.

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