I have been visually impaired all my life. I was born with congenital cataracts and I had to get them removed at 6 to 9 months old. Then at age 9 I was diagnosed with glaucoma in both of my eyes. I graduated with honors from the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind (FSDB) and have been interested in continuing my studies now as an adult.
Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired is an online school that offers many free courses on visual impairment and other topics. The courses are designed to educate individuals who are blind or visually impaired on becoming independent in living the lives they want. Courses are also available for families and professionals.
Hadley offers three different programs:
- Adult Continuing Education Program: Adult Continuing Education (ACE) Program offers a variety of courses for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Topics range from braille and academic studies to independent living, technology, business and employment skills and recreation. Courses are tuition free.
- Family Education Program: Family Education (FE) Program offers a variety of courses for family members of individuals who are blind or severely visually impaired. Topics range from child development, independent living, braille reading and writing and adjustment to blindness issues. Courses are tuition free.
- Professional Program: Hadley Institute for Professional Studies (HIPS) is offered to those who work in the blindness field and is a unique distance education program that provides a convenient and affordable alternative to traditional professional continuing education. HIPS is perfect for busy professionals and paraprofessionals who want to build or refresh their skills to work more effectively with clients and students. HIPS also allows you to earn Continuing Education Credit. There is a charge for some courses.
What I Like About Hadley
It’s awesome because you can take classes in braille, different eye conditions, and other topics in your home and you can go at your own pace! Hadley is also great for parents and teachers of blind and visually impaired children because they will be able to understand the child better and educate them. When I first started taking classes through Hadley, I was enthusiastic about starting my first course on glaucoma. I was excited because I would be learning more about my eye condition that I have. When I did get my certificate after finishing the class, I was so proud of myself!
Learning about the Human Eye and Eye Conditions
I’ve already taken Braille Literacy 1, Braille Literacy 2, and the Human Eye 1. Now, I’m taking The Human Eye 2. I want to learn braille because I am studying to be a teacher for the visually impaired (Early Intervention Specialist). I’d also like to learn braille in case glaucoma takes my sight in the future. In the Human Eye 1, I learned about what to expect at your eye doctor visit, kinds of eye doctors, and what tests they do. I’ve already experienced half of the eye tests mentioned in one of the lessons. It’s awesome that I can relate to this course with my own experiences as a glaucoma patient. In my Human Eye 2 course, I’m learning about different eye conditions. I can’t wait to get to the last lesson on glaucoma because I will get to talk about my experience with this condition. I decided to take Human Eye classes because I wanted to learn about the eyes and other eye conditions. I happily enjoyed all the Hadley classes i’ve taken and I am looking forward to taking more!”
How to Enroll in Hadley Classes
Enrolling in Hadley is quite an easy process! You just have to submit your eye report to them, and either call them or email them on what class you want to take. If you are thinking of taking braille classes, then you’ll be asked to take a braille entrance exam to see where you are.
You can either get your materials in print, braille, online, or audio. What’s really awesome is you get to keep the materials after you finish the classes. It’s kind of like keeping your textbooks you bought from college! The only things you don’t get to keep are the audio tape and the online version. After I finished taking three of my classes through Hadley, I was able to keep the materials from my braille and human eye classes, so I can have them for reference. It’s awesome because I’ll be able to look back at this material to help me in my career goal as a future early intervention specialist for the blind and visually impaired. One thing that is sad is that they don’t have the class on glaucoma anymore, however if they decide to bring the course back, I will definitely take it again and get a course workbook on glaucoma in braille!
What I’ve Learned Through Hadley
I’m currently in two braille groups right now that Hadley has, and I really enjoy it! Because of these groups, I am able to learn about the resources that I can go to. I recently just received a braille/large print calendar that I learned about through one of the groups. The calendar was from American Printing House for the Blind, and it was cool because it had art on it from blind and visually impaired artists for each month!
With all these courses, I hope to be a great future early intervention specialist for the blind and visually impaired children and braille reader myself! I believe that in my heart!