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Second Sense - Beyond Vision Loss

Second Sense Workshop Recordings

All of our workshops are interactive — either in-person or remote. These recordings are not meant to be professional recordings, but rather are provided for our clients for their information.

Daily Living

Home Meal Delivery Kits: Are They for You?

The home meal delivery kit landscape has grown substantially in the past few years. You can create a healthy and fresh meal that will probably taste better than take-out, but is it doable for a person with vision loss? Siobhan Midgley, CVRT, COMS and Kathy Austin share their experiences with two home meal delivery kit companies: Home Chef and Hello Fresh. You’ll learn about the accessibility issues related to this industry including choosing meals, identifying ingredients and preparing meals. Cost and quality are also discussed.

Recorded on May 18, 2021

The Well Equipped Home Office

Whether you are working in an office or writing a grocery list from your kitchen table, having the right tools makes the job easier. At our new workshop, the Well Equipped Home Office, Tomasina Perry from LS&S Products showcases a wide variety of products for low vision and blindness. You’ll learn about the latest video magnifiers, digital recorders, talking products and basic essentials.

Recorded on May 20, 2021

NFB Newsline

The National Federation of the Blind’s Newsline service is a terrific way to access the news and information important to you by using a tool we all know, our telephone! You not only can access state, national and international newspapers, but breaking news sources like CNN and the BBC  as well as magazines like Time, the Smithsonian and Consumer Reports. And, there’s more that you’ll learn about at our virtual NFB Newsline presentation.

We’re welcoming Dave Meyer from the Chicago chapter of NFB to explain how the service works and all the features NFB Newsline offers. If you’re interested, he can sign you up to access the service, too!

Recorded on September 14, 2021

Fire Safety

Did you know that over the five-year period from 2014 to 2018, cooking was the leading cause of home fires and home fire related injuries, according to the National Fire Prevention Association? Cooking is something we all do, and do often, so it is especially important for those with vision loss to make sure we practice fire safety.

Firefighter, Nicholas Campbell, from Northern Illinois University’s Environmental and Health Safety Department, joins our Second Sense staff member, Siobhan Midgley, CVRT, COMS, who will share critical steps you can take to protect yourself in the event of a fire emergency. Nicholas Campbell is a firefighter and paramedic with over 20 years of experience in fire safety. Nicholas and Siobhan will discuss a wide variety of safety precautions.

Recorded on October 21, 2021

Health and Leisures

Fall Fun with the Chicago Park District

Cool, crisp autumn air and crunchy leaves underfoot–fall is a perfect time to get out and discover a new hobby or make some new connections with new people! The Chicago Park District has lots of programs geared to anyone with vision loss. You can learn about their offerings at our next virtual presentation at Second Sense!

We welcome Sheena Hager, special recreation coordinator, who shares all the details on upcoming fall activities at the Chicago Park District. Sheena will talk about how you can participate in National Blind Sports Week and other recreational activities.

Recorded on September 9, 2021

Quieting the Mind

Recorded on October 15, 2021

Lincoln Park Zoo: The New Lion House

The Lincoln Park Zoo has some new residents – African lions! The Zoo is opening their newly renovated lion house that will be the home for not only a pride of lions, but Canadian lynx, snow leopards and red pandas. You can learn all about how this historical lion house was reconfigured to create an expansive new habitat to house these carnivores.

Bill Green, accessibility and inclusion manager at the zoo, tells us all about the features of the lion’s new home, now renamed the Pepper Family Wildlife Center. You’ll also learn about the conservation efforts Lincoln Park Zoo is doing with wild lions in Tanzania.

Recorded on October 13, 2021

Creative Non-Fiction Writing Class Session 1

Do the words “creative” and “nonfiction” seem like an oxymoron? According to, creative nonfiction writing is “simply true stories, well told.” It is a way of telling a true story in a vivid and impactful way that engages and holds your audience’s attention. Creative nonfiction writing can come in many forms – a magazine article, poem, memoir or even a podcast.

Second Sense is excited to welcome Cory Fosco, former professor of creative nonfiction writing at Harper College in Palatine, IL. Cory guides you through the process of telling your story by sharing selected readings as examples of the genre. Best of all, you have the opportunity to submit a piece of your own work for review and revision.

If you have been looking for a way to express your personal experiences, life events or other true stories, this is the course for you!

Recorded on January 19, 2022


Orientation and Mobility Workshops

Choosing the Right White Cane: Factors to Consider

There’s more than meets the eye when choosing a white cane. The material the cane is made from, its construction, length and tip all play a role in your safety and comfort when traveling. How fast you walk, the terrain you usually travel and your height are also factors a trained, certified orientation and mobility specialist can assess to help you choose the cane that’s right for you. Eleni Gaves, COMS, will share what to look for when choosing a white cane and answer your questions about mobility training.

Recorded on June 22, 2021

Echolocation: Seeing with Sound

Bats, whales and other animals create sounds that bounce off objects to learn information about their environments. The strategy, called echolocation, helps them find prey and navigate under dark ocean depths and dark nighttime skies. Echolocation is now currently being researched as a tool for people with vision loss to also learn about the details of their surroundings.

In this interesting discussion, Siobhan Midgley, CVRT, COMS, provides an overview of human echolocation, its benefits and practical uses for individuals with vision loss.

Recorded on July 22, 2021

Getting Around Chicagoland with the RTA

Since we haven’t gone out very much over the last year, you may feel a little rusty about your public transit options. Planning a trip may feel a little different if routes and schedules have changed. Pandemic fare changes may, or may not, still be in effect. And what about that new bus stop or renovated CTA station? These are all questions our RTA representative, Linda Chamberlain can answer for you at our Getting Around with the RTA presentation.

Ms. Chamberlain shares a wealth of information about traveling around Chicagoland on RTA trains, buses and paratransit.

Recorded on August 12, 2021

Technology Workshops

Apple Exchange: Reminders App

We all forget, but there’s always the Reminder app to help out! Siobhan Midgley, CVRT, COMS, shows you all the ways you can work with this easy-to-use app. You’ll learn about the layout of the app and its functionality. Creating and sharing lists, using Siri and setting different types of reminders — like a location-based reminder that are triggered when you arrive or leave a specific location — will be discussed.

Recorded on June 3, 2021

Windows Narrator: Is It a Viable Screen Reader?

Are you wondering if Windows Narrator is a viable option for a screen reader? When Microsoft first released Narrator in 2000, it was a bit crude compared to JAWS and NVDA, but it has come a long way since then. For those who may be making the transition from screen magnification to screen reading technology, or for those who want to use both magnification and text to speech, Windows Narrator may be a great low cost option for you.

Cody Froeter, CVRT, shares many of the pros and cons of using this Microsoft product built into the Windows operating system. You’ll learn about many Narrator features and its usability.

Recorded on June 24, 2021

Computers for the Blind

Today’s technology has created a world where people with disabilities can participate on a more level playing field. Having the appropriate equipment allows someone to handle personal affairs independently and provides a viable means of employment. However, it can be a monumental task to afford this specialized equipment. The ability to purchase a computer, have assistive technology installed and the training to use it, can be a tall order for someone with vision loss.

Computers for the Blind, a nonprofit organization based in Texas, has been refurbishing computers, installing needed assistive software and providing training since 1995. To help us learn more about this valuable organization, we welcome Jennifer Keen, director of operations at Computers for the Blind. Ms. Keen shares the things you need to know so you, too, can obtain the technology you need for your life and future.

Recorded on July 22, 2021

Apple Exchange: Spectrum Access

Recorded on December 2, 2021

Apple Exchange: Organizing Your Home Screen

Learn how to organize the apps on your home screen you use most often so you can find them quickly and easily.

Recorded on January 6, 2022