We are so excited to present our first-ever high school transition conference. With all the changes brought on by 2020, it can seem overwhelming to think about what is next.
This conference will answer all your questions. Now that you are out of school, what services are available? How do you transition to a college campus? How do you enter the work-force? What sort of future can you expect? How can you follow your passions?
Friends! Fun! Future!
You are more than your vision loss. At Spectrios, we believe that you can achieve all your dreams, and we are here to help you make that a reality.
Who: Specifically designed for low vision students ages 16-19 who have graduated high school or will graduate in the next year.
When: July 6-10, 2020 from 10:00 – 11:30 AM CT
Where: via Zoom
Cost: FREE to you, cost has been covered by a generous grant from the DuPage Foundation
Registration is limited to the first 15 people to sign up.
Opportunity to meet others in the low vision world
Get your questions answered by people in the know
What to Expect: Each day will start with a fun activity and a chance to talk with other attendees, followed by the daily topic and Q&A. This is one jam-packed 90 minutes!
Monday: Ask a College Student
Join Stephanie Arredia and Haley Grant to get a perspective on navigating a college campus – they will share the tips and tricks they have learned!
Tuesday: Coping with the Stress of Transition
Melissa Taussig, M.A. L.C.P.C will share her experience and expertise navigating the world as a person with low vision, in addition to offering advice on how to manage the stress associated with transitioning into adulthood.
Wednesday: Partner with DHS
Listen to Sue Dalton and Dr. Tony Johnson as they discuss ways you can partner with DHS and how to access resources now that you are done with high school.
Thursday: Follow Your Passions
Join our panel discussion lead by Anthony Chesrow, USA Blind Hockey team and Swatha Nandhakumar, a political activist as they share ways to follow your passions.
Friday: Wisdom of the Ages
Low Vision leaders Mike Mantzke, Karen Thomas, Peter Whinfrey and Leah Gerlach will discuss how they have been able to achieve success in adulthood despite the challenges of being a person with low vision.
There will be opportunities to win prizes!
Gift cards | Low vision technology evaluation | Drivers’ evaluation
Grand Prize: Desktop Magnifier (CCTV)
This is a can’t miss event. Sign up today!
Attendance is limited to the first 15 students. Do not miss out!
Featured Guest Speakers
Many of our speakers have low vision. They understand!
Hello, my name is Stephanie Arredia, 3 years ago I was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa. I started college with my white cane instead of my car. I felt like I had eyes on me and my cane all day long in class. Without the support, I got from my professors and my Access and Disabilities advocates I probably would have dropped out of school. Now, I am 21 years old, I have graduated with my associates from Harper College and was accepted to DePaul University for my bachelors in communications. I went to Boring, Oregon and was paired with my guide dog River. I now advocate for other students with disabilities.
Susan Dalton has been on the faculty of Northern Illinois University for over 20 years, where she has taught courses in transition and Vision Rehabilitation Therapy. She was the director of TransVision, a state-wide transition program for teens who are blind or visually impaired for 17 years, and is the parent of three adult children, two who are visually impaired.
Leah Gerlach, M.S., C.R.C. was one of the first employees at Spectrios. She was integral to the development of many programs we still use today. She ran the Spectrios Technology Camp for many years. Even in retirement, Leah continues to support people with low vision through our dial-in support groups that she runs twice a month. When not working, Leah can be found out taking pictures or hiking the trails in New Mexico with her guide dog Boulder.
Haley Grant recently graduated from Northern Illinois University with a Masters degree in Special Education: Visual Impairments, where she hopes to pursue a career teaching children with visual impairments. She attended the Spectrios Technology Camp from third- to eighth-grade, and worked as a camp counselor there as well. In her free time, she enjoys singing, reading, drawing, and riding her bike around the neighborhood.
Dr. Tony Johnson
Michael Mantzke was born totally blind with fully developed congenital cataracts in both eyes. He is now President & CEO of Global Data Sciences Inc. With a business career that spans 35 years, he has a passion for technology and innovation that has been with him since childhood. Today he is considered one of the thought leaders in the digital world.
Swatha is a recent graduate from Loyola University Chicago who majored in Political Science and minored in Spanish and Anthropology. She studied abroad in both Spain and Northern Ireland and spent both a semester and a summer interning in Washington DC in the Library of Congress and a Senate office. Swatha was both a camper and a counselor at Spectrios’ technology camp and enjoys reading and caffeinated beverages.
Graham lives in Chicago and works in advertising as a Creative Director and writer. After graduating from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana in 2006, he spent 13 years living and working in Boston, Massachusetts, where he earned his Masters in Creative Writing at Emerson College. As a longtime Spectrios patient, a retinoblastoma survivor, and a father to a 2-year-old daughter with RB, Graham is continually grateful for—and inspired by—the work being done to open up new worlds of possibility for people with vision loss.
Melissa Taussig specializes in providing adjustment counseling to those with lifelong and newly acquired vision loss. Having lived experience with vision loss herself, Melissa feels grateful to walk alongside others on this path. She is a licensed clinical professional counselor in the state of Illinois. She has two musical middle schoolers. Melissa is blessed to be guided by Ophelia, her beautiful yellow lab guide dog.
Karen has been a long-time patient of Spectrios. She has a BS in education and spent time working as a teacher. She has experience living and working with low vision, and she is a great source of inspiration for all who meet her. She is looking forward to providing you help and support on your journey.