WLNS 6 News

Non-profit makes it easier for people with disabilities to get around in public places

For people with special needs, exploring a new environment may not be the easiest thing to do.

But one local woman has made it her mission to change that.

“There’s a lot of things to look at so for a child with autism of course that would be helpful,” says Meegan Winters.

Winters started the non-profit Able Eyes hoping to improve the way individuals with special needs visit new locations.

“It’s at the users pace so they can look around and spend as much time looking at one area as they’d like to,” explains Winters.

Able Eyes allows you to virtually tour a space before physically stepping inside.. all at the power of your fingertips.

“When they’re walking through the department is there anything that could be a tripping hazard.. they can see what our fish tanks actually look like so if it’s maybe too anxious to get out into the store they can first view it a few times before actually coming in,” says General Manager at Preuss Pets, Kirbay Preuss.

Preuss Pets is one of several mid-Michigan businesses to use the service.

Preuss says partnering with Able Eyes has opened hers to a new perspective.

“We have such a different diverse range of exotic animals and so to have a little bit of certainty with what you’re going to see I think is important,” says Preuss.

And that certainty, is exactly what Cathy Blatnik says her family needs.

“This was like the perfect thing. To be able to show him ahead of time to be able to put it on his schedule for the day,” says Blatnik.

As the mother of a child with autism, Blatnik says it’s not easy to take her son new places.

“If he doesn’t know what’s coming up or he doesn’t have a schedule, he unfortunately has a seizure,” says Blatnik.

But she says Able Eyes gives her the chance to familiarize him with an environment before even setting a foot through the door.

“Able Eyes opens up so much to so many people,” says Blatnik.

Giving families a chance to grow and share new experiences together one virtual tour at a time.

Able Eyes is not just for individuals with autism, Winters says it can also be used as a resource for someone who needs wheelchair access or a person with a hearing impairment.

Able Eyes does much more than just give virtual tours, if you would like to check out their website click here.