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Announcing Webinar series on Best Practices

 Graphic Image for Vision-Aid Webinars

As many of us continue to maintain social isolation, Vision-Aid is pleased to present a unique learning opportunity! Our online "Best Practices" webinar series, focusing on several important areas in the field of Vision Impairment, Low Vision and Vision Rehabilitation  brings together experts from many locations arund the world to offer best practices in these different domains. Schedule: The series begins on April 28th and will run through June 30th, 2020. Here are some of the upcoming sessions. Please stay tuned for more! All sessions will be online and free but registration is required! Meeting links will be sent to those who register. So please register soon! When we started we had fewer than 25 registrations and now we are happy to have over 350 registered from 100 different organizations and 12 countries. May this viral spread of learning continueto flourish!


Date: Friday June 5th, 10 - 11 PM USEST, Saturday June 6th,  7:30 – 8:30 AM IST.  Please adjust for your own time zone!

Gullapalli Rao

Dr. G.N.Rao, Chair and Founder, LVPE


Dr.Beula Christy head of L.VPEI Vision Rehab.

 Topic: Best practices in Operating a Tertiary Low Vision Center: Synopsis

About the speakers

Dr. G.N.Rao is a renowned, award-winning luminary in the field of vision and eye care in India and globally. Dr. Rao was nominated by the Govt. of India to the apex body of WHO for vision – the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness where he served initially as a board member, and then the secretary general.  He was honored by the Government of India, with the Padma Shri award. He was elected in 2017 to the Ophthalmology Hall of Fame instituted by the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery.

Dr. Gullapalli N Rao established the L V Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad 31 years ago and is the Founder & Chair of that Institute.  

Academic and Research Achievements:

  • Honorary Doctorates from the University of Melbourne and University of New South Wales, Australia, Dr. NTR University of Health Sciences, India, University of Bradford, UK and GITAM University, India
  • President of “Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis (AOI)”, group of 80 of the most eminent academicians in ophthalmology in the world
  • Visiting professor to many Universities in the U.S, Europe, Australia, and Asia
  • Published about 300 papers in peer-reviewed international journals
  • Editorial Boards of several international journals of ophthalmology
  • “Fellow qua surgeon” of the “Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons”, Glasgow
  • Fellow of two of the Science Academies of India
  • Fellow of National Academy of Medical Sciences.

Other Contributions:

  • Former Secretary-General and later Chair of the Board and CEO of the International Agency for Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) in which role played a pivotal role in developing and fostering the global initiative to eliminate avoidable blindness along with WHO – VISION 2020: The Right to Sight in partnership with World Health Organisation (WHO)
  • Board of Trustees, International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO)
  • Leadership Position in many National and International eye care organizations
  • Founder & Chair of L V Prasad Eye Institute, India
  • Boards of many national and international organizations.

For more details, Click Here

Dr.  Beula Christy holds a post-graduation in vision science (MRSc) Holy Cross College in Tiruchirapalli, and a postgraduate diploma in guidance and counseling from Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu. She followed this with a PhD in vision science from the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney. She was trained by international agencies such as Bartimeus, the Netherlands, and Hilton Perkins on early intervention of multi-handicapped. She has rich experience in community outreach services; she was instrumental for CBR projects in the rural Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states.


About the talk

During the talk Dr. Rao and Dr. Beula, will discuss how a comprehensive approach to low vision rehabilitation at the ‘tertiary level’ was realized using the WHO’s standards on vision rehabilitation. The framework discussed will cover topics such as type of services to be provided as minimum standards, methods of service delivery, referral linkage to secondary and primary level, and guidelines on infrastructure and human resources. The importance of networking, advocacy, awareness-raising among families and communities, and the need for up taking research and training as an essential component of services will be explained. 


Date: Thursday May 28th, 10 - 11 PM USEST, Friday May 29th, 7:30 – 8:30 AM IST.  Please adjust for your own time zone!


 Ramakrishna (Ram) Raju, Founder, Vision-Aid

Topic:    Best Practices in Enabling, Educating and Empowering the Vision Impaired – The Vision-Aid Model

About the speaker

Ram Raju is the founder and volunteer executive director of Vision-Aid, a nonprofit serving the visually impaired. Ram holds a master’s degree in Computer Science from the Pennsylvania State University, and an ALM degree from   Harvard  . Ram was recognized for his public service by Harvard University with the Derek Bok Public Service prize in 2019 and the “Making a Difference Award” in 2019 from CHI among others.


About the talk

During this talk Mr. Raju will provide an overview of the Vision-Aid model – a model which has been developed over the past decade of running programs to enable, educate and empower the visually impaired across ten locations in India, and take a deeper dive into some of the exciting new initiatives underway at Vision-Aid.


 Date:  Tuesday May 26th, 7:30 - 8:30 AM Indian Standard Time / Monday May 25th , 10 - 11 PM US EST, Please adjust for your own time zone!

linda lawrence 

Dr. Linda Lawrence MD, Ophthalmologist

Topic: The importance of Vision: Visual development and Low Vision in infants and small children

During this webinar, Dr. Linda Lawrence will explore the importance of Visual development and Low Vision in infants and small children, and the special considerations and best practices for pediatric low vision services.

About the speaker

Dr. Linda Lawrence, an internationally renowned Opthalmologist, runs her private practice in Comprehensive ophthalmology with pediatric emphasis in Salina, Kansas.

A vocal advocate for earlier detection and interventions, she has not only documented the high rate of undiagnosed ocular pathology in infants and toddlers with developmental disabilities and coauthored a book chapter on Pediatric Low Vision, she has also trained trainers from South and Central America, India, Africa, China, Vietnam, and the Middle East, apart from the USA, in this area.
She has worked with the WHO to develop the International Low Vision Rehabilitation Standards and spoken at many international conferences and authored a book chapter on Pediatric Low Vision.

She volunteers with several organizations- ORBIS, Kansas State School for the Blind, Centro Ann Sullivan del Peru (CASP) for students with neuro-developmental disabilities, with CDC on the congenital Zika syndrome, and University of Kansas as a Volunteer Assistant Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology.

Dr. Lawrence was numerous awards to her name - International Humanitarian Services Award, Senior Achievement Award and Secretariat Award from the AAO (American Academy of Ophthalmology ), and an achievement award from AAPOS (American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus) to name a few!

Date:  Friday, May 22nd, 7:30 - 8:30 AM Indian Standard Time / Thursday May 21st, 10 - 11 PM US EST, Please adjust for your own time zone!

neha sharma
Neha Sharma,Speech-Language Pathologist

Topic:  Best Practices in Communicating with individuals with MDVI

 In this Webinar, Neha will outline best practices in communicating with individuals with Multiple Disabilities and Vision Impairments. The following topics will be discussed:

Communicating with those with MDVI
Assess the child, not the diagnosis
Basic communicative functions
Accommodations for optimal communicative access

About the Speaker

Neha Sharma is a Speech-Language Pathologist and has been practicing for 16 years. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Linguistics and Cognitive Science and a Master’s of Science degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She has worked with preschool, elementary, and middle school aged children in private and public-school settings. She has specialized in addressing the communicative needs of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and those with significant global challenges due to severe comorbid diagnoses. In addition to ameliorating the communication disorders of these children, Neha is passionate about providing students and families with behavioral and augmentative and alternative communication strategies to carryover in all settings.

She has developed many thematic activities linked to school curriculums, community activities, and vocational tasks that address social pragmatics, expressive and receptive language skills, fluency, and articulation. Neha also has a strong interest in working with multilingual families and students to best support their communicative needs. She is passionate about working with students with significant needs and currently practices in the Deafblind Program at the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, MA USA.

Date:  Monday, May 18 th, 5 – 6 PM Indian Standard Time / Monday May 18th , 7:30 – 8:30 AM US EST, Please adjust for your own time zone!

 Karina Thompson

Karina Thompson, M.Ed., OT/R, COMS 

Topic: The Role of Orientation and Mobility in the World of the Visually Impaired

This seminar will focus on how individuals with visual impairment are better able to travel with greater independence using taught strategies and tools. The difference between direct teaching and incidental learning, guidance strategies, and the five points of travel will be discussed.

About the speaker

Karina Thompson is an Occupational Therapist with a M.Ed. in Orientation and Mobility who works at the Massachusetts Association for the Blind as a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS) and Occupational Therapist for individuals with visual impairment.


Date: Tuesday, May 12th, 17:00- 18:00 PM Indian Standard Time / Tuesday, May 12th, 07:30 AM- 08:30 AM US EST, Please adjust for your own time zone!

Dr. Alexis  

Dr. Alexis "Lexi" Malkin , OD, FAAO

Title: Overcoming Barriers to Low Vision Care

This presentation will discuss strategies for overcoming barriers to providing low vision care. Common challenges and their solutions will be presented as well as a brief discussion surrounding the integration of telemedicine into low vision care.

Dr. Malkin is a graduate of Emory University and completed her optometry training at New England College of Optometry (NECO), where she graduated salutatorian. She completed her residency at the Northport VA Hospital with a focus in primary care optometry, low vision rehabilitation and vision therapy. Dr. Malkin then completed the Lions Vision Rehabilitation Fellowship at Johns Hopkins in 2010.

Dr. Malkin is on faculty at New England College of Optometry as an Associate Professor of Clinical Optometry. She has a focus on vision rehabilitation didactically and clinically. Dr. Malkin has published numerous peer-reviewed manuscripts in low vision rehabilitation and clinical outcomes. In addition, Dr. Malkin has lectured throughout the US and internationally on a variety of topics including Patient Outcomes, Optics, and technology in Low Vision.

  Date:  Thursday, May 14 th, 5 - 6 PM India Time (Thursday, May 14th, 7:30 - 8:30 AM US EST). Please adjust for your own time zone!

Topic: Overview of CVI: Definition and considerations around assessment and habilitation

Kran Barry 2019

Dr. Barry Kran, OD, FAAO.

About the speaker

For the past nineteen years, Dr. Kran has been working with individuals with visual and other impairments. He is the Optometric Director of the New England College of Optometry (NECO) Center for Eye Care at the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown. This clinic is also the base for his research and collaboration with Drs. Mayer and Ross at NECO and with others in the Boston area performing cutting edge research on Cerebral Vision Impairments (CVIs). CVI is the leading cause of pediatric vision impairment in the developed world.

Dr. Kran’s current research interests involve developing appropriate diagnostic vision tests for individuals with disabilities with normative data surrounding these tests, understanding and developing a database of the vision-related outcomes of low incidence conditions, and breaking the barriers to eye care that individuals with disabilities encounter. Currently, he is exploring a novel contrast sensitivity test which aims to be useful for individuals with reduced cognitive function and/or expressive communication skills. Dr. Kran is also investigating the various aspects surrounding the diagnosis of individuals with cortical visual impairment, the leading cause of pediatric blindness.
Dr. Kran has lectured extensively in North America as well as in Europe, the Middle East, India and China. He has also worked and consulted with eye clinics and schools for the blind in many of these same areas who care for individuals with visual and other impairments. His work has been recognized statewide, regionally and nationally by service providers, state agencies and professional organizations.

 Date:  Wednesday, May 6th, 7:30 - 8:30 AM India Time (Tuesday, May 5th, 10 PM - 11 PM US EST). Please adjust for your own time zone!

Topic: Advances in low vision technology


Dr. Bhavani Iyer, OD, FAAO.

 About the talk

Low vision devices have come a long way. From simple handheld devices to the complex head mounted electronic options, low vision devices continue to change the lives of those that are fitted with it. This talk explores the gamut of options available to those that are visually impaired.. During this talk, Dr. Bhavani Iyer will explore a wide range of low vision devices and technology. 

 About the Speaker

Dr. Bhavani Iyer OD, FAAO is an associate professor at the University of Texas, McGovern Medical School in Houston. She is the director of the Dan Arnold Center for Vision Rehabilitation, a comprehensive vision rehabilitation program complete with occupational therapy and orientation mobility training.

Date:  Thursday, April 30th,  5 - 6 PM India Time (Thursday April 30th, 7:30 AM  - 8:30 AM US EST) 

Topic: Identification and Intervention: The Key to Reaching and Teaching Children with MDVI

Kristen Layton photo

Kristen Layton (Director, Perkins India)

About the talk

The 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 3 and 4 call for nations “to ensure health and well-being for all, at every stage of life” and for “inclusive and quality education for all.”  An accurate count and assessment of children with visual impairments, including those with multiple disabilities, is the first step to reaching these goals.

Children with multiple disabilities and vision impairment (MDVI) are at the greatest risk of being left behind in education and in life which means these children are among the most vulnerable in the world.

Please join, Kristen Layton, Director of Perkins India in a discussion to address the following questions: 1) Who are the population of children with MDVI? 2) How can we improve screening, assessment and identification procedures? and 3) What integrated approaches to intervention work toward achieving educational access? 

About the Speaker

Kristen Layton is the Director of Perkins India, a program of Perkins School for the Blind. Prior to leading the team in India, she served as the Director of Strategy, Innovation and Learning and helped launch Perkins International’s programs in the Middle East and North Africa.
Before coming to Perkins in 2009, Kristen led the launch of the Inclusive Schools Network at the Education Development Center, Inc. She has held positions at Boston College, the University of Maryland, the National Deaf-Blind Project, Helen Keller National Center and as a special education teacher in New York. She holds degrees in Elementary and Special Education.

Other Upcoming Topics include:

  • Best Practices in Functional Vision Screening
  • Best Practices in imparting Computer Education for the visually impaired
  • Best practices in Low Vision Early Interventions

Date:  Tuesday, April 28th, 7:30 - 8:30 AM India Time (Monday April 27th, 10 PM - 11 PM US EST) 

 Topic: Best Practices in Vision Rehabilitation - An Occupational Therapy perspective

 Dr. Loubaina Buxamusa, PhD

About the talk

During this talk, Dr. Loubaina will explore the following best practices in Vision Rehabilitation from an Occupational Therapy perspective.

  • Using occupation as a means and an end
  • Creating meaningful patterns of engagement across contexts
  • Addressing performance issues holistically
  • Linking client factors to outcomes
  • Assessing the client first, then the disability
  • Making the process dynamic and interactive in nature

 About the Speaker

Dr. Loubaina Buxamusa is an occupational therapist who holds Bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy from the University of Mumbai, a Master’s degree in special education from the Framingham State University, and a Doctorate degree in occupational therapy from the American International College in USA. She has 38 years of experience working as a pediatric occupational therapist with a variety of populations.

Dr. Buxamusa is the department head of occupational therapy services in the Shrewsbury Public School district in the Boston area. She is also a college professor and teaches Masters level courses in neuroscience and in sensory integration for educators. She has presented numerous workshops, courses, and trainings on a variety of topics such as development of fine motor and perceptual motor skills, sensory integration, and assistive technology.

Dr. Buxamusa has earned several accolades for her work with children. Her personal passion in serving the visually impaired, her vast knowledge of sensory integration and neuroscience, and her deep belief in the inherent power of neuroplasticity, has led to her desire to contribute her expertise to improving the lives of those living with a vision-related disability.

Dr. Buxamusa feels that defining a purpose is vital to the success of a goal. She strives to help develop that purpose, create and reach attainable goals for those she serves. Her own purpose as an occupational therapist, an educator, and a human being is simply to infuse love, truth and compassion into every interaction and realize an opportunity for growth and gratitude in every breath.

 Stay tuned for details! All events are offered freely but registration is required. Meeting links will be sent to registered participants. 

  We invite all interested participants to register for the series. Please click here to register.

click-here-to-register - Beech Mountain Resort

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