Helping the visually impaired during COVID-19

West Virginia

HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – Several non-profit organizations have had to make changes to how they operate due to the pandemic. The people they serve are starting to take notice.

Those who may not be able to see the negative impact can still feel it. The Cabell-Wayne Association of the Blind is dedicated to servicing the visually impaired community by offering resources such as classes like braille literacy to assist in everyday living.

Cabell-Wayne Association of the Blind executive director Toni Walls says they have many classes designed to assist the visually impaired.

We bring them in and we identify what their purpose is for learning braille.

Toni Walls, Cabell-Wayne Association of the Blind executive director

Most commonly used by those visually impaired, braille can be difficult at first. Helpful resources are available even during a worldwide pandemic, but that’s not to say there haven’t been challenges along the way.

Many are celebrating National Braille Literacy Month, but getting access to learning this alternative reading system has been difficult during these tough times. Walls says they have already lost students from fear of contracting the virus.

I had an 80-some-year-old woman that was coming in on a weekly basis and we were doing some braille literacy. She decided that she needed to withdraw from the classes.

Toni Walls, Cabell-Wayne Association of the Blind executive director

Those who are visually impaired use these skills on a daily basis. However, a virtual learning option for some wouldn’t be a good alternative.

When learning braille, it requires quite a bit of hands-on work to fully understand. With restrictions preventing students from touching and feeling the words in-person, it poses a real challenge for both students and teachers.

Walls says no matter what happens in the future, they will still continue their work and make people aware that they are “available to help.”

For more information on the Cabell-Wayne Association of the Blind, click here.

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