The innovation connects remote and onsite members of clients’ therapy teams
While the COVID-19 pandemic challenged the Foundation for Blind Children, it also created opportunity for remarkable innovation. FBC’s team of dedicated teachers, therapists and optometrist, Dr. Andrea Smith-Gray, serve adults and children with visual impairments every day. Previously, in-person appointments and therapy sessions were critical to the success of FBC’s clients.
Last year, at the start of the pandemic, FBC was able to quickly pivot to serve blind clients and students over video. The team not only communicated over video calls but successfully impacted the lives of the blind or visually impaired. Still, video calls lacked a personal touch and mobility as some staff members transitioned back to working on-site. Plus, only one adult guardian or caregiver was allowed to be present at the examination with a child or adult due to safety precautions.
So, FBC went to work creating SEE3PO, the newest member of the Foundation for Blind Children’s Low Vision Clinic staff. “With the technology SEE3PO provides, we are able to have the child’s teacher of the visually impaired or other parental figures present at the examination virtually. This allows for all caretakers to ask questions or bring up concerns. This technology is also available for older adults who would like to have a caretaker present”, says Dr. Smith-Gray.
SEE3PO is a computer monitor with a high-quality webcam mounted at eye-level on a rolling cart. The mobile video call set-up allows staff and caregivers to efficiently connect on-site as Dr. Smith-Gray utilizes equipment to conduct low vision exams. “This is so much better than before”, says Shannon Gonsalves, a parent of a visually impaired child. Shannon explains that having each member of her daughter’s therapy team in the same room makes all the difference, “This visit would not have been half as successful without her teacher here to hone in on what goes on at school, what she’s teaching her and the equipment that she’s using. She has a lot more information than I do.” Not to mention, the joy it brought Shannon’s daughter made clear by the grin across her face as she posed beside by the gray “robot” with glasses and a bow tie.
Innovations like SEE3PO and ultimately the success of FBC’s clients is made possible through support from readers like you. Your generosity creates joy and a better quality of life for families like Shannon and her daughter. Thank you.