Helping Clients Connect with Crafts
Individuals who are blind or vision impaired can successfully do many different types of crafts. Learn about common adaptations that are used for adapting a variety of crafts. Our panelists represent the NFB Krafters Division, ACB Crafters, Mitzy Kits, and Hadley. Each of them shared information their programs and products.
Jill Rossiter works with the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services as a vision rehabilitation therapist. Jill began crafting as a hobby in 2012 when she joined the National Federation of the Blind “Krafters” Division. Since joining the division, Jill has learned to crochet, loom knit, quilt, hand, and machine sew, plastic canvas, macrame, beadwork, origami, wreath making, and other miscellaneous crafts. After learning so much, Jill wanted to give back. She has taught several classes for the division and hosts the Monday Night chats. Jill has served as the 1st Vice-president of the Krafters division since 2018. In her role as a VRT, Jill encourages her consumers to continue with their love of crafting with adaptive techniques and determination.
AFB Crafters - Kaila Allen is the mastermind behind Blind Beauty Crafts and a dedicated volunteer and advocates for the blind and visually impaired crafting community. As a student at the Arizona Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Kaila completed ceramics and weaving courses, among many others. As a volunteer with the Arizona Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Kaila organized general craft classes and taught a crochet class. The American Council of the Blind welcomed Kaila as a volunteer in June 2020. She has been responsible for executing more than ten events each month via Zoom, resulting in about 20 hours of content. Kaila manages all event communications and leads a group of volunteers. Kaila has spoken on panels discussing the accessibility of crafting.
Hadley - Leeanne Frydrychowicz is a Braille Learning Expert at Hadley. She has taught braille for many years and works with both tactile and sighted adult learners. While braille may be her career, crafting is her passion. Leeanne is one of the cohosts of Hadley’s Crafting Circle Discussion Group, which runs the second Wednesday of every month. She quilts, knits, scrapbooks, and most recently-- Cricuts! Leeanne has developed and taught many scrapbook and paper crafting classes in the past. She knows the therapeutic benefits of crafting and is eager to share her crafting knowledge with anyone interested.
Before initiating the Mitsy Kit Program, Tammy Roussell was an Information Technology manager with over 25 years experience analyzing and designing business systems for corporate organizations like LL Bean, Keane consulting, Southwest Airlines, and Liberty Mutual Insurance. Responding to her desire to serve those in need, Tammy left the corporate world to pursue a career that was more focused on helping people and entered into an Occupational Therapy program at Tufts University. After two semesters, Tammy realized that the OT program was not meant to be due to the time it took away from caring for her mom who had recently moved in with her family. So, she left the program to work on a project to further develop a tactile sewing method she invented to help her blind mother to sew by touch. Her goal was to create a kit that would enable the greater blind and visually impaired community to benefit from this tactile guided sewing and quilting method. The project provided a perfect blend of challenge, opportunity to serve, and time to work side by side with her mom. It was the “perfect storm” which led to the initiation of the Mitsy Kit program, named after Tammy’s mother.