Omaha org seeks to help blind, visually impaired with remote learning

Published: Aug. 24, 2020 at 4:10 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A support group to help blind and visually impaired parents help their children with remote learning will meet for the first time later this week.

Many school districts in the Omaha metro area have learning programs that are unfriendly to the visually impaired.

Outlook Enrichment, a local nonprofit is organizing the support group.

This school year, students are picking up iPads to learn at home. But some parents are having difficulty helping their children with their home learning.

“The children are familiar with it once they bring that home. A lot of the parents aren’t familiar with using technology. So the parents are trying to use a device that may or may not be set up for somebody who’s visually impaired,” said Paulette Monthei, program manager with Outlook Enrichment.

Monthei has 25 years of experience working with technology and leads the Outlook Enrichment support group that will help blind and visually impaired parents when they hit a technical roadblock while trying to help their students learn from home.

“Had this been accessible for Screen Reader, it would have been reading some of the information that is in this block -- we got nothing,” she said. “But for parents with vision loss with sighted students, accessible resources to help them facilitate remote education for their children are scarce.”

But there are programs that can help..

“Allow visually impaired persons access to computer technology, one allows it for screen reading, it allows for screen reading and magnification,” Monthei said.

The support group will give blind and visually impaired parents an opportunity to get together with Outlook Enrichments’ technical training staff.

“This support group is going to be a resource for parents who might not have the technology experience and are other for other parents they can turn to for some support,” said Rachel Carver, senior specialist of public relations with Outlook Business Solutions.

The support group not only will help visually impaired parents it will also help children who have learning disabilities.

“Having him being remote school, I have to help him because he’s got cognitive issues as well so he doesn’t understand a lot of ideas and concepts. So I have to sit almost all day with him just make sure he doesn’t get frustrated and angry, then he’ll get off the iPad and run away,” said Chris Cady, a parent of a student.

The Outlook Enrichment virtual support group will be held for six consecutive Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 beginning Aug. 27.

For more information, call 531-365-5320. Officials say five families have signed up for the first Zoom meeting.

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