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VISIONS Newsletter
Sports and leisure through the eyes of individuals who are blind or visually impaired.


SportsVision Spring Challenge Shows off Athletic Talents

            SportsVision held it spring clinic on Saturday, April 2nd.  There were 33 students who attended the 6 hour clinic. They ranged in age from 4 to 19 years old and they competed in 5 different activities. There was beep baseball and swimming in the morning, and goalball, rock climbing, and indoor games in the afternoon.  Each student had the opportunity to compete against other athletes their age and vision level and awards were given out at the end of the day.  Awards were given for the beep baseball sprint, freestyle and backstroke in swimming, goalball team competition, and rock climbing competition. The athletes put forth a terrific effort and had a great time in the process.

            WQED from Pittsburgh visited us for the day. They taped all of the activities and interviewed athletes, SRU students and coaches.  The clinic will be shown in conjunction with Teens on Q, a WQED program.  We appreciate their interest in our program and look forward to seeing the final product next November.

Thanks to everyone who made the clinic a success.
Adapted Physical Activity Council @SRU
SRU students who organized, coached and supervised athletes
All of our coaches and volunteers
Mobility and Vision Teachers from the surrounding counties who encouraged students to come and help transport students to the clinic
Giant Eagle, Dominos and AVI Campus Catering

** Recreation Roster **

18th Annual Davidow-Northeast Games
The Pennsylvania Association for Blind Athletes will host the 18thth Annual Northeast Regional Games for the Blind June 3-5, 2005. The weekend will include competition in swimming, soccer, track & field, and goalball. Instructional clinics will be given in swimming, soccer, track & field, goalball, judo, tandem cycling, wrestling, beep baseball & powerlifting. Participants of all ages are invited and need not have any prior sports experience. Registration fee is $80 per athlete and $65 per volunteer or family member. The entry fee includes: 2 nights lodging at Cabrini College, 5 meals, t-shirt, transportation between dormitory and event venues, & awards. For application form and additional info contact or call (302) 836-5784.

NABB National Tournament
The National Association of Blind Bowlers (NABB) will host its first annual national tournament during the weekend of June 24-26, 2005. Events will include singles, doubles, teams of four, and a super six special. Bowling will take place at Noble Manor Lanes in Crafton with lodging available at the Holiday Inn Greentree for $75 per night. For additional information about the tournament, contact Dan Driscoll, NABB President at (412) 751-0897.

2005 U.S. Blind Chess Championship
During the weekend of June 24-25 the annual blind chess tournament will take place at the Hampton Inn located in Buckhannon, West Virginia. To learn more about the tournament, contact Richard Varchetto via email using or call (304) 636-4034.

2005 IBSA World Youth Championships
The 2005 International Blind Sports Association’s (IBSA’s)  World Youth Championships will be hosted by the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) in Colorado Springs, August 4-10. The championships will include competition in five sports for blind and visually impaired youth, ages 13-19. The sports include: track and field, swimming, judo, powerlifting and goalball. Competitors from five continents have already committed to attending the championships. For more information about becoming a U.S. youth participant, contact USABA at (719) 630-0422  or email

** Highlight Reel **

Twin Cities Blind Audio Dart Tournament
Pittsburgh audio darters Joe Wassermann and Gene Barton braved the frosty elements and traveled to St. Paul, Minnesota during the weekend of January 21-23, 2005. They joined more than 30 others who participated in the Twin Cities Blind Audio Dart Tournament. They competed in five events on the talking cabinet model boards which, just as in their bar days, required a quarter to activate. This was the first time Pittsburgh darters attended this tournament. While Joe fell victim to the dreaded single #1 all weekend, Gene battled through the flu and won some prize money. They both agreed it was a well-run tournament and may attract even more Pittsburgh audio darters next year.

Keystone Tournament Another Success
Over the weekend of February 18-20, more than 100 bowlers competed in the Keystone invitational Blind Bowlers Tournament at Noble Manor Lanes in Crafton. Fully sighted, visually impaired, and totally blind bowlers competed in four events for cold hard cash. Bowlers traveled from Michigan, Ohio, Delaware, West Virginia, Maryland, Florida, and of course Pennsylvania to compete. Making the weekend possible were dozens of Lions from District 14-B who organized the games, provided orientation assistance, and spotted pins. It seems as though everyone had a great time.

SportsVision Owns Up
SportsVision is now the proud owner of not one, but two sets of the regulation bases used for beep baseball. The bases will make an excellent addition to our summer camp and other outdoor activities. Also recently purchased was a tandem bicycle that will get a lot of use this summer. Both purchases were made possible through an equipment grant from the Lions of District 14-N.

Creating a Learning Environment

     Past issues of the “VISIONS” newsletter have included tips for adapting physical education for youth who are visually impaired. One article focused on teaching techniques such as modeling, word usage, and hands-on experiences while the other focused on making adaptations to the targets, boundaries, and rules to aid fair participation. In this article the goal is to provide ideas on adapting the entire environment of the physical education classroom to make it more conducive for the learning of visually impaired youth. It is likely that these modifications will also enhance the learning of all students.

     Perhaps the most important contributor to effective learning is having a manageable class size that can allow for extra instruction time of a visually impaired student. When possible, set up smaller groups that would rotate through stations to learn specific skills. The blind child could be assigned to the smallest group or to his or her own group. Even if there is only one physical education teacher, surely there are some students in the class with enough experience in a certain skill to take charge of other stations. This setup will not only ensure that the visually impaired student receives adequate instruction, but it will give students an opportunity to enhance their leadership skills and become more responsible.

     In situations where it is impossible to break the class into small groups, it may be necessary to find a one-on-one assistant for the blind child. This assistant could be a peer who is already physically skilled and can duplicate the physical education teacher’s instruction in greater detail. An assistant might also be an upper-classman or community member who wants to provide voluntary service. In some cases a representative from the local Intermediate Unit or even the child’s parent or sibling may be willing to attend classes to ensure proper instruction and inclusion.

     Another way to ensure inclusiveness within the physical education environment is to actually practice reverse inclusion. This means rather than adapting sighted games for the blind child to play, all students play games that have been specifically designed for blind participants. Two examples of such games would be beep baseball and soccer. While sighted players would be under blindfold at times, they would still be practicing the techniques of throwing, catching, hitting, dribbling, kicking, defending, and the like. Goalball is another sport that has been used previously for reverse inclusion. Many of these sports require the same skills as the mainstream ones and would therefore make an ideal adaptation to the physical education environment. 

     One additional adaptation that should be considered is shifting the overall focus of physical education. Frequently classes are focused on team sports that emphasize winning and losing. This atmosphere fuels the notion that the blind player will be a “weak link”. Students become more worried about being victorious than simply appreciating the experience of being physically active. It would be more conducive to include a blind child in an environment that promoted individual sports and leisure that does not emphasize a winner and loser. Such activities could include World Games, swimming, bowling, roller-blading, general fitness, track and field, gymnastics, and tandem biking.

     Visually impaired youth can be successfully included in mainstream physical education classes if the environment is properly adapted. This primarily means facilitating more personalized instruction in activities that encourage individualized development.

This is a great time to begin thinking about how to incorporate these suggestions for this fall’s physical education classes.  For even more suggestions, visit the newsletter archives of our web site at   

** S & L Spotlight Organization **

U.S. Braille Chess Association (USBCA)
     The United States Braille Chess Association (USBCA) actively encourages participation in and assist with the promotion of both correspondence and over-the-board (live in person) chess matches among people who are blind or visually impaired. It is a member-based organization that sponsors an annual “over-the-board” national tournament that is sanctioned by the U.S. Chess Federation. On a year-round basis the USBCA sponsors correspondence chess tournaments by e-mail, in Braille or on cassette against other players of about the same strength. Individuals pay $15 for a two-year membership in the USBCA. 

     The USBCA offers a large lending library of accessibly formatted chess resources for its members. Recently it launched a listserv to further foster the discussion of chess for the blind around the world. To subscribe to the new listserv, send a blank message to: USBCA members also receive “Challenger” the USBCA’s quarterly publication that includes general chess news, instructional articles, chess resources, competition results, and more.

     To learn more about the USBCA, contact Jay Leventhal at (718) 275-2209 or visit the web site at

Sports Vision and Slippery Rock University’s Adapted Physical Activity Council have united to bring you:

Camp Sports Vision

A four day camp for school-aged students who are visually impaired or blind. 

You are invited to attend the fourth annual Sports Vision Camp at Slippery Rock University!

June 22-25, 2005
Camp Cost: $50   Scholarships are available.

For more information contact Wendy Fagan
216B Slippery Rock University
Slippery Rock, PA 16057
Ph: (724) 738-2791

Slippery Rock University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.
A member of Pennsylvania’s Stat System of Higher Education.




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