“We are excited to have Dr. Xiong join us as our newest research fellow,” said Ronald Schuchard, Ph.D. FARVO, executive director of the ERI. “Her investigation of localization stands to improve how people with vision and hearing loss manage a wide range of everyday tasks, such as safely confronting approaching vehicles as well as improvements in social environments, identifying people in the public environment and locating the speaker in a group conversation. Difficulties with these tasks can hinder independence, hold people back from activities and induce isolation and mental health problems. We look forward to the new attention her findings will bring to the vastly overlooked challenges facing people with DSL.”
Dr. Xiong completed her postdoctoral work at the Minnesota Laboratory for Low-Vision Research at the University of Minnesota, which is under the direction of Gordon E. Legge, Ph.D, and is one of the premier low vision research programs in the United States. She has authored articles about tactile acuity in pianists and reading acuity as a predictor of low vision reading performance. Dr. Xiong’s project “Fonts Designed for Macular Degeneration: Impact on Reading” earned her the 2018 Envision-Atwell Award for research in low vision and low vision rehabilitation.
At the ERI, Dr. Xiong will focus on: Developing outcome measures that can be used by clinicians and therapists to predict real-life object localization performance; conducting real-life object localization tests to evaluate the combination of audiovisual factors in people with DSL; and investigating sound-light combinations to localize objects in public space to increase the accessibility of the environment. Dr. Legge, Dr. Peggy Nelson, executive director of the Center for Applied and Translational Sensory Science and former chair of the Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences at the University of Minnesota, and Dr. Donald Fletcher, medical director at the Envision Vision Rehabilitation Center, will serve as her mentors.
Established in 2013, the ERI attracts postdoctoral researchers from around the world and has established Envision as a hub of vision rehabilitation research. It was created to raise the standard for vision rehabilitation patient care and remove barriers by investigating the functional implications of vision loss, access to interventions, optimizing rehabilitation therapies and developing accessibility technology. Postdoctoral fellowships at the ERI provide an educational and research environment where appointees identify solutions to improve the quality of life for people who are blind or visually impaired.
Dr. Xiong joins Jing Xu, Ph.D., sponsored by Bosma Industries, as part of the fifth class of fellows to conduct studies at the ERI. Dr. Xu is studying ways to help adults with vision loss due to age-related macular degeneration continue to drive safely. Other classes of fellows include:
- Susanne Klauke, Ph.D., fourth class of fellows, in her second year. Sponsored by Pitt Plastics in Pittsburg, Kan., she is investigating “Developing Rehabilitation for Interactions between Visual Impairment, Voice Recognition, Social Impairment and Depression.”
- Marco Tarantino, J.D., fourth class of fellows, in his second year. Sponsored by National Industries for the Blind in Alexandria, Va., he is studying “Experiences of Blind and Low Vision Individuals at Different Stages of the Employment Cycle as These Relate to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Regulations Implemented in 2014.”
- Güler Arsal, Ph.D., third class of fellows, in her second year. Sponsored by ibMilwaukee in West Allis, Wisc., she is exploring “Navigation and Wayfinding Expertise of People Who are Blind or Visually Impaired.”
Additional details about the ERI and its postdoctoral fellowship program can be found online at research.envisionus.com.
About Envision: Envision (www.envisionus.com) promotes advocacy and independence for those who are blind or low vision. Founded in 1933, Envision is one of the largest employers of individuals with vision loss in the nation. Headquartered in Wichita, Kan., Envision’s mission is to improve the quality of life and provide inspiration and opportunity for people who are blind or visually impaired through employment, outreach, rehabilitation, education and research. For more information, visit www.envisionus.com.