In this month’s VICTAR blog, Jane Thistlethwaite reviews the VIEW 2018 conference.

VIEW 2018 was held March in Birmingham with approximately 140 QTVI’s from Sensory Resource Centres and residential school provisions, representatives from RNIB and staff from the QTVI course at the University of Birmingham. The two-day conference included a range of very informative keynote presentations and an array of interesting hands on workshops.

VIEW conference 2018
VIEW conference 2018

Presenters from Great Ormond Street shared two interesting presentations. The first keynote on ‘Understanding Childhood Vision Impairment’ noted the need for a clearer definition of vision impairment (VI) and challenges around VI being a low incidence high cost disability. Certification of children with a VI is not mandatory and registration rates can be low due to parents not wanting their child registered. Additionally, certification does not capture all types of VI and there is a variance in what acuity level should be noted.

Presenters Professor Jugnoo Rahi, Professor of Epidemiology at Great Ormond Street and Lucie Teoh, Research Assistant outlined a longitudinal study they are undertaking. Key points being researched in their study include trends in epidemiology and the distinct difference between functional vision and vision function.

Dr Jenefer Sargent , Consultant Paediatrician in the Neurodisability Service, Great Ormond Street, delivered a most informative presentation on ‘Vision Impairment, Can you See the Whole Child’. This presentation explored how we can get the most out of a functional vision assessment.

Julie Colley (Head Teacher) and Rachel McVeigh SENCO, presented a number of slides demonstrating a range of inclusive programmes in place at Highfields School, where not only students with VI are readily included in outdoor programmes, excursions and classroom based activities, but many learners with a variety of diverse learning requirements. The positive ‘’can do’’ attitude was evident, as was the enthusiasm to ensure they could adapt any programme requirement.

Christina Matawa, QTVI and Regional Tutor on the University of Birmingham QTVI course, and Andrea Ferris, Hammersmith and Fulham Sensory and Language Impairment team, lead delegates through a wonderful workshop session on ‘Learning with iPads’. This was such a useful session for all that included a range of adaptive uses of the iPad. Key themes of this presentation were inclusion and empowerment of the student to manage their own learning through the iPad.

Gwyn McCormack, Positive Eye, led two fabulous, hands on sessions and was available at her stand throughout the conference for delegates to visit and interact with her many resources and view the excellent learning programmes she has developed.

It was Rory Cobb’s last conference as Chair. Rory delivered a witty and reflective journey of his years in the sector with a nautical theme stemming from past roles.

The conference concluded with a presentation by inspirational speaker Amar Latif, who describes himself as the Indian, Scottish, bald, blind guy who is an intrepid traveller! ‘Blind Guy Who Wants to Show you the World’ was the lead line of Amar’s keynote. An excellent delivery by an articulate, well-travelled and grounded advocate for people who are blind. Amar has established his own travel company that specialises in extreme and exciting travel destination tours for people who are blind and want to stretch their horizons.  This was a most positive note to conclude the conference on.

Jane Thistlethwaite

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