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Last year, despite challenges from the pandemic we still served over 700 children. We need your help to continue our critical work to make a difference in the lives of children with vision loss!

We need our VIPS supporters help more than ever during this uniquely challenging time with the gift of a new donation or pledge, or continuing your existing your support. If you are not a monthly donor--now would be a great time to initiate a monthly gift. The families we serve depend on our teachers and we depend on you to help us in our critical mission to provide early intervention to every child with blindness or low vision.

Learn more about how VIPS is moving forward with our services in spite of COVID-19.

Welcome to the Feeling This Life podcast!

Presented by Visually Impaired Preschool Services (VIPS) & Anchor Center for Blind Children, this podcast dives deep into the triumphs, challenges, and strategies that are part of the lives of those who care for young children with blindness and visual impairment, building an audio community of families, caregivers, and early interventionists.

Meet the co-hosts

Jenny

Jenny Castenir

Jenny Castenir is the Family Services Coordinator at VIPS.  Prior to becoming on staff at VIPS her youngest daughter received VIPS services for three years.  During this time Jenny developed a passion for helping families with children of a visual impairment thrive in their daily life by advocating for their children and obtaining services and resources. Jenny lives in Kentucky with her husband, three daughters and two dogs.

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Paige Maynard

Paige Maynard is in her eleventh year of working as a developmental interventionist and teacher of the visually impaired at VIPS. Paige’s professional passions include empowering families of young children in the areas of advocacy, daily living, and emergent literacy as well as teaching critical thinking skills to infants, toddlers, and their caregivers. She worked as a member of the development team for “Every Child Can: The Expanded Core Curriculum for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired”, the latest installment in the VIPS Can Do! Video Library.  She most recently designed online courses for the APH (The American Printing House for the Blind) Hive on best practices using the LEGO Braille Bricks. Paige has provided workshops and trainings on administering the CVI Range, using assistive technology in the home and classroom, promoting early literacy, and providing high-quality in-home early intervention visits.

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Dr. Cathy Smyth

Cathy Smyth, Ph.D., has provided support for families in early intervention in the area of visual impairment for over thirty-five years. Her passions include concept development and tactual assessments for young children with visual impairment, how vision loss affects the mealtime process, and early visual screening for infants. As a director of research, she is committed to engaging practitioners and families in participating in meaningful research to build new evidence-based practices. Cathy is excited about using a podcast as an accessible learning media for families and practitioners, as she had created many audio webinars and online classes and has an interest in quality audio description practices.  

Episode Library

Intro: Our Hopes and Dreams

Paige, Dr. Cathy, and Jenny introduce themselves and talk about how they came together.  They discuss their hopes and dreams for Feeling This Life.

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S1E1 What to expect when taking your child to the eye doctor

Welcome to the first episode of Feeling This Life! This season on the podcast, Paige, Dr. Cathy, and Jenny will be talking with various guests on “what to expect” when you have a child who is blind or visually impaired. In this episode, Dr. Cathy interviews pediatric ophthalmologist, Dr. Robert King to get an idea of what parents should expect when visiting the eye doctor for the first time. He discusses what tools the doctor uses, what tests he performs, and why he performs them. Paige, Dr. Cathy, and Jenny conclude by chatting about what parents can do to be prepared for their child’s visit to the eye doctor.

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S1E2 What to expect in your daily life with a child with a visual impairment

Dr. Cathy, Jenny, and Paige talk about how your child’s visual impairment may impact their access to daily activities and how to help your child participate meaningfully. Jenny shares her personal experience with helping her daughter participate in daily routines and talks about her feelings around how her daughter experiences the world.

S1E3 What to expect when you need to speak up for your child

Brooklyn Spirito, mom of two girls who have a visual impairment, shares her story of advocacy as she and her husband journeyed to find an accurate vision diagnosis. She dives into her grief and tells about learning to thrive. Dr. Cathy shares information about a vision screening for infants.

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