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Improving Access for a Better Quality of Life: New Online Module from OCALI

African American and caucasian young girls signing to each other while sitting at a classroom desk
Every day—multiple times a day—we receive information. Whether it’s through conversations, alerts, technology, or entertainment, information is everywhere we look. And, information shapes our experiences and our experiences shape us.

“People may not realize it, but eye contact, body language, and other environmental cues all contain information,” explains Christine Croyle, Program Director for the Outreach Center for Deafness and Blindness at OCALI. “When a person’s vision or hearing is affected, part of the information is missing.”

Guided by the belief that increasing access to information promotes independence, the Outreach Center for Deafness and Blindness has created a new online module, Promoting Access for People Who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Blind, or Visually Impaired. To gain deeper insight into the factors that impact how a person receives information using sight, sound, and touch, the Center worked in collaboration with school districts and agencies across the state. This free, self-paced online module offers a collection of evidence based strategies and scenarios at home, school, and in the community that can be used today.

Because the number of people who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, or visually impaired is a small percentage of society, a person’s only experience may be through what they’ve seen on TV, in the movies, or on social media—showing one person, in one place, at one time, which limits perspective. The reality is that being deaf, hard of hearing, blind, or visually impaired can look different in many ways.

Featuring practical, real-world examples in a variety of settings was an important goal for the development of this module. This online module can be used for individual or group-based professional learning. If you’re in a school, community organization, business, or just interested in learning more on your own, this module is flexible and includes reflective questions to spark your thinking or to share ideas. Users can also earn a certificate of completion for 2.5 hours that can go toward professional development.

“Life is about connection and we do not want anyone to miss the opportunity to connect,” shares Shawn Henry, OCALI’s Executive Director. “This module is designed to help people gain confidence when connecting and communicating with people who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, or visually impaired anytime and anywhere.” To learn more and explore the free online module, visit

The Outreach Center for Deafness and Blindness increases access, communication, and equity for learners who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, or visually impaired. The Center does this by connecting resources and providing training for professionals and fostering relationships to equip communities to support families and learners where they are, with what they need, when they need it to learn, grow, and live their best lives.