A prevailing view of visually impaired people is that they are not interested in recreational activities and competitive sports.
But SportsVision pierces that misapprehension, exposing a hidden reality: visually impaired people often do not participate in sports activities because those activities are not available to them.
Visually impaired children and adults gain enhanced self-esteem by participating in and succeeding at competitive recreational activities.
Children especially begin to learn lessons for a lifetime—a habit of physical fitness, a greater sense of belonging, and the experience of accomplishment.
The visually impaired are not the only ones who benefit from SportsVision's initiatives. Through conducting sports activities, encouraging darts competitions, demonstrating adaptive equipment and games, and organizing advocacy efforts, SportsVision unites our community around the mission to develop opportunities for individuals who are visually impaired to participate in competitive sports and life-long leisure activities.
Through the work of its dedicated team, SportsVision promotes an uplifting message of opportunity through the IDEAA approach:
- Activities, and
Visions, SportsVision's quarterly newsletter, reaches people throughout Western Pennsylvania who are involved with visually impaired individuals.
This free publication provides updates on existing recreation efforts, profiles of highly active visually impaired individuals, announcements of upcoming sports and leisure opportunities, and descriptions of techniques to make activities accessible to those with visual impairments. Current and past issues are available on-line.
Demonstration and Education :
Our speakers frequently give presentations to blindness groups, vision professionals, physical educators, and community groups—describing sports for the blind, demonstrating adaptive leisure equipment, and discussing some basic adaptive techniques.
We also regularly participate in information fairs and public awareness programs.
Activities can include bowling, dance, darts, picnics, tandem biking, beep baseball, skating, goalball and more. SportsVision also founded the regions first-ever overnight sports camp for visually-impaired youth. These activities are vital to our work because they provide social interaction, build leadership skills and self-confidence, offer the opportunity for physical activity, and demonstrate the abilities of people who are visually impaired to the community.
Also, the Audio Darts Group of Pittsburgh organizes programs under the auspices of SportsVision. Two days each week, the ADGP offers informal competition and practice for its nearly 25 members.
Throughout the year, visually impaired darters compete locally and regionally in audio darts tournaments in which all participants wear blindfolds. The group includes many long-time champions who mentor new and budding darters.
SportsVision works with local, regional, and statewide organizations to publicize the need for more sports and leisure opportunities for the visually impaired. Including the Golden Triangle Council of the Blind, Beaver County Council of the Blind, and Lions’ Clubs.
Through all our partnerships, we also strengthen existing programs.
Additionally, our interaction with the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) keeps us up-to-date with current trends, techniques, and standards in the sports and leisure arena.
Susan Lichtenfels, a young woman who is both blind and paralyzed, incorporated SportsVision as a nonprofit organization in June 2001, the culmination of her two-year project to explore the landscape of recreation possibilities for visually impaired people.
Susan’s project served more than 40 visually impaired youngsters in Southwestern Pennsylvania through two sports clinics and four recreational afternoons. Seeing that impact, a committee of advisors suggested the creation of an independent organization to offer community and professional education, the creation of adaptive curricula, informational resources, model programs, activity planning, and other services.