NRTC attending ARVO Conference
The National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision (NRTC) will exhibit at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) 2023 Conference Expo on April 23-27 in New Orleans, LA. The expo will allow the NRTC to interact with ophthalmic professionals, vendors in the field of vision, and others to share about our current research, products, and resources.
Anne Steverson, Research Associate III, and Sarah Moody, Communications Coordinator, will represent the NRTC and share information about the NRTC’s current research, training, and technical assistance activities.
One resource they will focus on sharing with this audience is the Working with Blindness and Low Vision course. This course was designed to educate ophthalmic professionals about the work capabilities of people with vision loss to improve their attitudes and encourage them to refer clients who are losing their vision to vocational rehabilitation. Another resource that will be shared is our You Can Work with Blindness and Low Vision brochure.
Attending conferences like ARVO allows the NRTC to increase the visibility of our research and resources and provide technical assistance to a new audience. For more information about our resources and technical assistance, visit our National Technical Assistance Center on Blindness and Low Vision website.
Current Research Highlight: Increasing Labor Force Participation
Labor force participation rates among people with B/LV remain well below the rates for the general population, with approximately half of the people with B/LV out of the labor force. In other words, they are not working and have not looked for work for at least four weeks. For this NIDILRR-funded research project, we are seeking new information about factors associated with leaving the labor force for people with B/LV.
We completed the first phase of this study in 2022. This included an analysis of national datasets to identify differences among people with B/LV who report being unable to work and those who are employed, unemployed, or out of force for other reasons. Two publications describing results from the first phase of this study are currently available:
- Out of the labor force due to health reasons? An analysis of the Survey of Income and Program Participation regarding persons with visual impairments, published in the International Journal of Rehabilitation Research.
- Unable to work? Characteristics of people with blindness and low vision who are out of the labor force, published in the Disability and Health Journal.
We are currently working on the second phase of the study. This phase aims to look more closely at how persons with B/LV make decisions about their labor force participation. We are particularly interested in determining the potential impact of government policies and programs on their employment decisions, and how technology, self-employment, and mentoring might influence labor force participation.
For this exploratory phase of the study, we conducted 30 semi-structured interviews with people who are not in the labor force. We are currently analyzing the transcripts of these interviews to identify differences and common themes among the participants.
We will identify and describe factors that influence people with B/LV to leave the labor force. We hope these findings will provide insight into strategies and practices to facilitate labor force participation. Our anticipated outcomes may be helpful to policymakers in identifying and crafting effective interventions to increase competitive employment among people with B/LV.
For more information about this research project, visit our research project webpage.
Training and Technical Assistance
A new episode of Employment Insights with the NRTC is now available! In this episode, we are joined by Jinnerfer who shares about her employment journey to becoming a massage therapist. Listen now on our Podcast page.
The Accessibility Recommendations for Online Surveys document provides tips on improving the accessibility of online surveys for users with B/LV.
We have updated the Transition Activity Calendar! This resource was developed for visually impaired high school students who plan to attend college. From taking the right courses to learning to use appropriate assistive technology and more, this resource helps with college preparation.
NRTC Conducts Blindness Experience Training
The NRTC recently conducted our first Blindness Experience Training with the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (ADRS). This new training program explores how proper training and tools can help prepare people who are B/LV for success in independent living and employment. Read our news item for more.
Other NRTC News
The NRTC has a new Employee Spotlight! Inspired by art from a young age, artist Ricky Trione does not let losing his eyesight prevent him from creating his artwork. Ricky uses his sense of touch to create art by drawing with raised paint to feel his way across the surface. Learn more about Ricky and other B/LV employees on our Meet Employees page.
Lessons for Living with Vision Loss Available in English and Spanish from The National Library Service, BARD
When individuals with good eyesight begin to lose vision, they often struggle to understand what is happening to them. They may wonder if they will be able to do the activities they used to do. Through Lessons for Living with Vision Loss (19 lessons), rehabilitation professionals share tips for how to safely and efficiently complete tasks. Topics range from understanding eye conditions to organizing your closet, completing tasks in the kitchen to using a computer, and effective use of low vision to participate in leisure pursuits. For more information and links to the BARD library, visit our Lessons for Living page.
The third infographic of our series on Beyond Employment Rates is now available. This infographic highlights data from our third Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness (JVIB) series publication on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and work. To learn more about this project and view the infographics, visit our project page for project outputs.
OIB-TAC Unveils Updated Website
The Older Individuals who are Blind Technical Assistance Center (OIB-TAC) has updated and redesigned its website, www.oib-tac.org. The website updates include sections for technical assistance, continuing education, resources, and more. Read our news item to learn more about the redesign process.
The NRTC is hiring
The NRTC is currently seeking enthusiastic candidates to join our team! The mission of the NRTC is to enhance employment and independent living outcomes for individuals who are B/LV through research, training, education, and dissemination. To learn more about each position and directions on applying, visit our Employment Opportunities page.
Publications, Presentations, and Miscellanies
Antonelli, K., Steverson, A., & Cmar, J. L. (2023). Usability of 4to24: A transition application for parents of students with visual impairments. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 117(1), 19-29.
Crudden, A., McDonnall, M., & Tatch, A. (2022). Unable to work? Characteristics of people with blindness and low vision who are out of the labor force. Disability and Health Journal. Advance online publication.
April 21 (2:00 CST) - Navigating Finances for Older Individuals with Vision Loss: Join us for a webinar with Penny Forward on how older blind individuals with vision loss can continue to manage their finances. To learn more and register, visit our event page.