Group Activities

BALANCE Announces our Fall 2019 Group Courses and Workshops!


BALANCE Sharing Space Support Group is Starting Again in September–TWO Locations–West Toronto and East Toronto!

BALANCE is once again offering a Sharing Space Support Group led by Lisa Derencinovic, registered Social Worker. Lisa has facilitated this group for BALANCE clients for the past two years. Lisa runs her own counselling practice specializing in working with people with disabilities. Lisa knows first-hand the experience of living with visual impairment, having been diagnosed at age 4 with a genetic eye disease causing blindness.

West-End Sharing Space Support Group:

  • When: Wednesday afternoons from 1:00-3:00 PM starting September 20, 2019 and ending on December 6, 2019.
  • Where: West Toronto Support Services at 1709 Bloor St W 2nd Fl, Multi-Purpose Room

East-End Sharing Space Support Group:

  • When: Friday afternoons from 2:00-4:00 PM starting September 20, 2019 and ending on December 6, 2019.
  • Where: The Healing Collective at 2005 Danforth Avenue, on the south side of the street, less than a block from Woodbine Subway Station.

Discussions could include: understanding ableism, effects on self-esteem, dealing with negative emotions, and building strength and resilience.

Registration and more information: contact Radka at info@balancefba.org or (416) 236-1796 Ext. 0.


iPhone classes resume this September!

The goal of this course is to help participants to demonstrate knowledge of the basic functions of the iPhone and provide participants with the skills and confidence to become independent with their device. This course will run from Thursday, September 19, 2019 until October 24, 2019. Classes will run weekly from 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM at the BALANCE office. By the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the basic orientation of the phone (including how to turn it on and off and locate the sleep/wake functions).
  • Make and receive calls and send/receive text messages.
  • Add and edit contacts.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of how to access the App Store and ITunes Store.
  • Navigate the Calendar and Reminder Applications and,
  • State 5 benefits and uses of applications to enhance independent living.

This course takes place over six (6) weeks and is co-instructed by Chelsea Mohler and Douglas Poirier, to afford participants the opportunity for hands-on and one-on-one instruction.

Please note that all participants must have their own Apple device. This class will involve downloading applications and navigating the mail application. It is expected that participants will have a working Apple ID and an e-mail account set up. If you need assistance with either of these tasks, please contact Chelsea or Doug at c.mohler@balancefba.org or d.poirier@balancefba.org


Unlock the Power of Apple Maps with Microsoft Soundscape Sessions at BALANCE! Spaces are limited in our October sessions; September classes are full! 

BALANCE for Blind Adults presents unlocking the power of Apple Maps together with Microsoft Soundscape the new navigation system from Microsoft. 

Designed specifically for persons who are vision impaired Soundscape uses true 3d sound providing the means to easily realize the whereabouts of both residential and business locations. 

When used with a 3rd party turn-by-turn navigation app such as Apple maps, the end-user is provided with a complete GPS navigation system that is both accurate and easy to use. 

Those wishing to participate may be asked to take part in a short assessment to determine appropriate skill level and must: 

  • Be an efficient user of iPhone, iOS and the VoiceOver screen reader 
  • Have installed on their device the latest version of Microsoft Soundscape and Apple Maps available for download from the Apple App Store. 

The purpose for this class is to enhance the ability of independent travel for persons who are blind or have low vision and will take place at the BALANCE Office, 2340 Dundas St. W, Unit G-06. 

It consists of two sessions beginning October 18 from 1:30 – 4:00 and concludes October 25 from either 9:30 – 12:00 or 1:30 – 4:00. 

Session 1 is a comprehensive discussion and demonstration of how to use both Soundscape and Apple Maps.  All those participating are expected to take part in this session. 

Session 2 includes a one-on-one walk-about and orientation to outdoor GPS navigation with one of our certified Orientation and Mobility instructors and while available, participants have their choice whether to take part in the morning or afternoon class.  

After completing both sessions, participants will have gained the following skills and knowledge: 

  • Understand the strengths and weaknesses of both GPS technology and Soundscape itself 
  • Understand the difference between tracking and turn-by-turn navigation 
  • Understand how to use the items found on the Soundscape main screen 
  • Understand how to use the items located in the Soundscape menu system 
  • Know how to search for and make use of specific Marker and call-out information (points of interest) 
  • Know how to add and remove markers 
  • Be able to create a complete route that makes use of Apple Maps as a third party turn-by-turn navigation app 
  • Understand how to use Apple Maps for both step-by-step directions and live spoken directions 
  • Be able to use Soundscape together with bone conducting headphones to take advantage of true 3D sound for hands-free operation when navigating on the street 

In all, participants take part in five hours of total instruction. 

If you are interested in attending, please contact Anita Laurnitus a.laurnitus@balancefba.org, X228, or Doug Poirier d.poirier@balancefba.org X224.