‘Dining in Dark’ to shed light on blindness

For the second year in a row, the Chester County Intermediate Unit is about to turn off the lights to shed light on visual impairments.

On Nov. 14, the CCIU, partnering with Applebee’s Grill in Thorndale, will host the second annual Dining in the Dark dinner experience for Chester County students and their families who receive vision support services through the CCIU.

Dining in the Dark originated with Jorge Spielmann, a blind clergyman from Zurich, Switzerland. When guests ate dinner at Spielmann’s house, some would wear blindfolds during their meal to show solidarity with their host and to better understand his world. This unique dining concept then expanded to restaurants in major cities around the world such as Paris, Moscow, Berlin, and New York City, before spreading to suburban areas, said a CCIU press release.

“Dining in the Dark is a fun way for families to develop an awareness of a variety of visual impairments,” Jacalyn Auris, CCIU director of student services, said in the release. “It also provides a chance to meet other families who have children with a visual impairment and have them receive support they otherwise may struggle to find.”

The CCIU’s Itinerant Blind/Visually Impaired Support program provides specialized services and instruction for students ages 5 through 21 whose skills allow them to function within a regular education setting. The level of intervention is determined by student need.

Students participating in the event will be given a tour of the kitchen and will help serve the meal while their families experience the night while wearing blindfolds or vision simulators.

“I always look forward to opportunities that put me in the shoes of the kids we support at the CCIU,” Auris said in the release. “We advocate tirelessly for all of the children in our schools, but it’s different and exciting to be given the chance to experience some of the day-to-day realities for these students.”

For more information about this event or vision services offered by the CCIU, contact Carolyn Muller at 484-237-5107.

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