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CCIU hosts Dining in the Dark event

Downingtown, PA – The Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU) is turning off the lights on November 14 in order to shine a light on CCIU students that experience a variety of visual impairments and blindness. The CCIU has partnered with Applebee’s Grill in Thorndale to host the second annual Dining in the Dark dinner experience for Chester County students and their families who receive vision support services through the CCIU.


Dining in the Dark originated with Jorge Spielmann, a blind clergyman from Zurich, Switzerland. When guests ate dinner at Spielmann’s house, some would wear blindfolds during their meal to show solidarity with their host and to better understand his world. This unique dining concept began in Switzerland and has expanded to restaurants in major cities around the world such as Paris, Moscow, Berlin, New York City, and for the second year in a row, is being featured in Chester County.


“Dining in the Dark is a fun way for families to develop an awareness of a variety of visual impairments,” said Dr. Jacalyn Auris, CCIU director of student services. “It also provides a chance to meet other families who have children with a visual impairment and have them receive support they otherwise may struggle to find.”


The CCIU’s Itinerant Blind/Visually Impaired Support program provides specialized services and instruction for students ages five through 21 whose skills allow them to function within a regular education setting. The level of intervention is determined by student need.

Students participating in the event will be given a tour of the kitchen and will help serve the meal while their families experience the night while wearing blindfolds or vision simulators.


“I always look forward to opportunities that put me in the shoes of the kids we support at the CCIU,” Auris said. “We advocate tirelessly for all of the children in our schools, but it’s different and exciting to be given the chance to experience some of the day-to-day realities for these students.”


For more information about this event or vision services offered by the CCIU, families can contact Carolyn Muller at 484-237-5107.


About the CCIU: The Chester County Intermediate Unit is an educational service agency that exists to provide quality, cost-effective services to the community and its residents. The Chester County Intermediate Unit administers instructional, enrichment and administrative programs and services to Chester County’s 12 public school districts and to over 45 private and parochial schools in the county. These programs include instructional, remedial and enrichment services for regular and special education students. Other IU services support teachers, school administrators and school directors. The diversity of CCIU programs enables IU staff to interact with school district personnel at all levels and to maintain a cohesive educational network throughout Chester County.