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Vision Connections

Vision Connections: Across the Ages Join us for a FREE half-day event to learn about practical strategies for living with vision loss.

Friday, October 4, 2019
8:30 am – 12:30 pm
Italian Community Center

More than 60,000 people in Southeastern Wisconsin have vision loss that cannot be corrected. We want you and your loved ones to know that you are not alone. The key to living successfully with vision loss is learning to accomplish everyday tasks in new and different ways.

Vision Connections will:

  • connect you with other individuals and families experiencing similar challenges
  • provide you with life-changing resources, information and strategies
  • give you the opportunity to get hands-on time with products and technology

Need help finding your way during the event? Volunteer guides will be available to assist with navigating the venue throughout the day.



8:30 – 9:00 am: Registration, Light Refreshments

9:00 – 9:15 am: Welcome
Erica Weise, Social Worker, Vision Forward

9:20 – 10:10 am: BREAKOUT SESSION 1 (Choose one)

Responding to the Ongoing Adjustment of Vision Loss
Erica Weise, Social Worker, Vision Forward
Rich Weeden, Hospital Chaplain, Retired and Vision Forward Volunteer
When vision loss occurs, people can feel strong emotions of grief. This session will discuss how loss is experienced, the toll of unresolved grief, suggestions for productively managing grief and how concerned others can thoughtfully respond to someone who is mourning the loss of vision.

Engaging Children to Move
Colleen Kickbush, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Vision Forward
Jenna Schroeder, Physical Therapist, Vision Forward
Movement is critical for visually impaired children. Learn how exploring their environment and incorporating all of the senses can develop gross motor skills to help children reach their developmental milestones.

Age Related Macular Degeneration
Dr. Mackenzie Sward, Milwaukee Eye Care Associates
Learn how macular degeneration develops and the common vision problems individuals with macular degeneration experience. Current treatment options will be discussed and important tips to prevent macular degeneration will be highlighted.

Accessible Television Content
Cory Ballard, CATIS, Director of Assistive Technology, Vision Forward
You don’t have to give up that favorite TV show or movie because of vision loss. Devices like the Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV provide magnification and speaking menus to access content from providers like Netflix and Hulu. Learn how to enable audio description which provides description about the visual parts of the show or movie between dialogue.

10:10 – 10:35 am: Tools and Connections for Moving Forward with Vision Loss
Explore and examine a wide range of adaptive products for people with vision loss. Stop by the display tables to try everything from simple solutions to the latest cutting-edge technology, including wearable devices such as the IrisVision and Orcam. Gather additional information about Vision Forward resources such as setting up a free technology demonstration, learning how to travel safely, cooking instruction, participating in groups and more.

10:35 – 11:30 am: BREAKOUT SESSION 2: (Choose one)

Building Grit and Character
Dr. Michael Mazius, PhD, North Shore Center
Empowering children to advocate for themselves is an important component in development. Dr. Mazius, Clinical Psychologist and contributor to MetroParent magazine, will teach strategies parents can use to empower their children to advocate for themselves by sharing their experiences with “helpmates” such as parents, teachers and true friends. Current research on bullying and bullying prevention will also be shared.

Beyond the Eye Exam: Understanding Low Vision
Heather Hinson, OD, Optometrist, Vision Forward
Lauren Nelson, OTR, Certified Low Vision Therapist, Vision Forward
A diagnosis of vision loss does not mean there is nothing more that can be done. Learn how to maximize your remaining vision through magnification, task lighting, contrast enhancement and glare control. With the right tools and strategies, you can find new ways to do the things you enjoy!

Reading by Ear: Accessing Newspapers and Books
Cory Ballard, CATIS, Director of Assistive Technology, Vision Forward
This session is designed to provide non-visual techniques for listening to books and newspapers. Find out how you can use a tablet, smart phone, or an Amazon Echo to access hundreds of newspapers and thousands of books and have them read out loud to you.

Where’s My Stuff? Labeling and Organizing to Make Life Easier
Rose Visser, Occupational Therapist, Vision Forward
Does trying to locate or identify items make tasks like cooking, getting dressed or finding documents more challenging? Learn about a variety of tools and techniques that can make your life easier, both for youth and adults.

11:30 am – 12:30 pm: Panel Presentation: Envisioning Your Future
Facilitator: Erica Weise, Social Worker, Vision Forward
Learn from others who have experienced vision loss and discover how you can put new skills into practice, gain confidence and move forward. Panel facilitator Erica Weise brings years of experience leading small groups and working one-on-one with individuals and families.


There is no charge to attend.  Registration is required:

  • Register online
  • Call Erica Weise, 414-615-0163
  • Send in the print registration form

Please contact Erica Weise at 414-615-0163 or .

“Excellent speakers, great content, I learned a lot!” Conference attendee

“The conference was enlightening.” Conference attendee

2019 Vision Connections is underwritten by the generosity of the Irving L. Chortek Estate.