Social Skill Development: Physical and Mental Well-Being for Life. What’s Not to Like about Being Engaged with Others?

In this recorded session, Dr. Wolffe describes the importance and need for structured social skills learning for children and youth who are blind or partially sighted.


  • Thursday, 2 April, 2020 - Saturday, 31 July, 2021
    9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Course Code:   CPE20SSD

Course Information


In this session, Dr. Wolffe will describe the importance and need for structured social skills learning for children and youth who are blind or partially sighted. Socialization is a key element in an individual’s physical and mental health. The impact that good, strong communication skills can have when applied to make individuals more resilient to stress factors will be discussed in detail.

Strategies for working with parents and other caregivers of infants and toddlers to enhance bonding and early relationships will be described first and then Dr. Wolffe will share ideas for preparing youngsters socially and emotionally for school and community settings. Techniques for teaching school-aged children and youth positive communication skills to use with family, friends, and members of the community will be emphasised.

Access to social support is critical to life success. How to facilitate networking and positive relationships will be described in this session. Finally, Dr. Wolffe will describe recent research that supports the notion that social motivation and contact with others can actually help to improve memory formation and recall, which protect the brain from neurodegenerative disease in later life. Having close friends and an active social support network can enhance both physical and mental health!

Attendees will be encouraged to interact and share resources that they have found useful. Dr. Wolffe will, likewise, share resources with the group.







Completing Social Skill Development: Physical and Mental Well-Being for Life What’s Not to Like about Being Engaged with Others? will contribute 12 hours of NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Registered PD addressing 1.1.2, 1.2.2, and 1.5.2 from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation in NSW.



This workshop will contribute 12 hours towards COMS recertification with ACRVEP as it addresses the Core Domains of the OMAA O&M Framework.


  • Dr Karen Wolffe
    Karen Wolffe manages a private practice as a career counselor and consultant in Austin, Texas. Dr. Wolffe worked with the American Foundation for the Blind as Director of Professional Development and CareerConnect from 2000 to 2010. Prior to that, she was a faculty member in the Department of Special Education at the University of Texas (UT) where she also directed the Job Readiness Clinic, an applied learning lab for people with disabilities looking for work and university students studying to become rehabilitation counselors or special education teachers. During her career, Dr. Wolffe also taught correspondence courses for the Hadley School for the Blind related to transition and employment issues and taught a distance education course for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock that focused on job placement for people with visual impairments. She is the author of Career Counseling for People with Disabilities: A Practical Guide to Finding Employment, co-author of the Transition Tote System, editor of Skills for Success: A Career Education Handbook for Children and Youth with Visual Impairments, and co-editor of Teaching Social Skills to Students with Visual Impairments: From Theory to Practice. She also co-authored Transition Issues for Students with Visual Disabilitie and AFB's Focused on...Social Skills series. She has published numerous articles in the Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness (JVIB) and other significant journals based on her work with blind and low vision individuals both in rehabilitation and education settings. Her research and writing interests include the importance of career education, social skills development, transition issues, employment opportunities for people with disabilities, and literacy in the workplace. Dr. Wolffe received a B.A. from the University of North Carolina in English, a M.Ed. from the University of Texas in special education with an emphasis on students with multiple disabilities, and a Ph.D. in rehabilitation counseling from the University of Texas, Austin, TX.



361-365 North Rocks Road, North Rocks, New South Wales, 2151, Australia


North Rocks, Sydney, Australia

Sydney is located on Australia’s south-east coast. With an approximate population of 4.5 million in the Sydney metropolitan area the city is the largest municipality in Australia. Sydney is easily accessible by air, rail and road networks from other Australian cities.

Located approximately 26 km north-west of the city centre, Renwick Centre is accessible via private and public transport to metropolitan areas such as Epping, Parramatta, Hornsby and the city.

North Rocks is a suburban area of Sydney and is the home of the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children since 1961.

Public Transport

There are several public transport options for getting to and from the Renwick Centre within the Sydney metropolitan area.


Cityrail train stations are located in Epping (6 km away) and Parramatta (7km away) and have connecting bus services (refer to Buses section below) to the Centre.

Epping train station is on the Northern, Newcastle and Central Coast lines with a journey time of approximately 30 minutes to the city (Central, Town Hall and Wynyard stations) and 20 minutes to Strathfield or Hornsby stations.

Parramatta train station offers frequent services to the city (about 40 minutes of travel time) and is located on the Western, Cumberland and Blue Mountains lines.

Both stations are wheelchair accessible.


There is a bus stop directly outside the RIDBC campus – services to Epping and Macquarie Centre – and another across the road outside the Westfield Shopping Centre for services to Parramatta and Blacktown. For latest info on these routes, please visit the Sydney Buses website.

Route Destination Wheelchair Accessible
549 Epping Most
546 Epping via Carlingford Most
546/549 Parramatta Most
630 Macquarie Centre No
630 Blacktown No
610/619* City Few
610/619* Rouse Hill Few

* Access to these bus services is from the M2 motorway at Barclay Road bus stop, a 20 minute walk (1.4 km) from the Centre.

Sydney Airport

Sydney Airport has domestic and international terminals and is approximately 35 km south-east of the Renwick Centre.

Cityrail train stations are located within the domestic and international terminals. To get to the centre, you will need to change trains at Central to an Epping or Parramatta service and then either take a taxi or bus the remaining distance to the centre. Journey time by public transport is approximately 90-120 minutes.


Companies providing a taxi service in the Sydney area include Premier Cabs (Phone: 13 10 17), Silver Service (Phone: 133 100), Taxis Combined (Phone: 8332 8888) and RSL Cabs (Phone: 132 211).


Details Price Qty
RIDBC Alumnishow details + $75.00 (AUD)  
Digital Accessshow details + $200.00 (AUD)  

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