Services provided by the State Outreach Center for Visually Impaired, Schleswig (Germany)
The State Outreach Center for Visually Impaired, Schleswig, Germany, offers support and training to families and professionals serving blind and low vision children and young adults, including those with additional disabilities throughout the state of Schleswig-Holstein. The center serves over 900 students from birth to adult life in different schools in the state. Every student receives instruction and guidance from professionals who have been specially trained to work with children and young people with visual impairments. The students visit their home schools to be able to live and learn in their home environment.
The 80 staff members of the center network and cooperate with other institutions and members of the students’ social background who are involved in their educational process. The center’s main fields of activities are:
Support and consulting which is provided by five professional teams depending on the student's needs. The foremost intention is to support the direct learning process in inclusive settings. The contents focus on diagnostic, consultation with parents, teachers and other people involved, inservice trainings regarding visual impairment and adaptations for lessons as well as training and use of specific visual aids for visually impaired students.
Courses and family weekends are offered to children and young adults with visual impairments as well as to their families. The goal of the courses is to introduce and teach techniques, skills and special knowledge and to strengthen existing competencies. One main focus lies on developing and strengthening self-confidence and social competencies as well as teaching skills of how to deal with the individual visual impairment. The opportunity of exchanging ideas and meeting other students with visual impairments is a valuable asset of the courses.
Seminars and inservice trainings are offered for personnel of organizations and institutions involved in the educational process of children and young adults with visual impairments. The seminars focus on the sensitization regarding students with visual impairments and their needs. Furthermore, they provide knowledge of how to adapt material to optimize the learning process of the students in their learning environment. The following specific areas are covered by staff members with specific qualifications, depending on the needs of the students:
- Functional Vision Assessment
- Orientation and Mobility
- Daily Living Skills / Rehabilitation
- Computer Consulting
- Braille Transcription
A media center provides special learning materials to the students on a loan basis throughout the state.