ROCHESTER, N.Y. — As the total solar eclipse gets closer, there is a lot to look forward to and that includes an opportunity for people who are blind or visually impaired.

The April 8 eclipse is a once-in-a-lifetime event, so making it accessible to all is possible through community collaboration and sharing of resources from NASA to Rochester and across Western New York.

What You Need To Know

  • Accessibility advocates are working together to make sure that eclipse events are inclusive and accessible to the visual and hearing imparied community

  • Resources and specially designed materials and technology are available to ensure that everyone can experience the eclipse together

  • SEAC is hosting a viewing party from 1-6 p.m. April 8 with accessibility for the visually impaired

After Kiki Smith says she missed out on the 2017 eclipse, she says there is no way she is going to stay home and miss the total solar eclipse. She is not going to let blindness prevent her from experiencing it with the community.

"Anybody can play; they just have to make adaptations," said Kiki Smith, outreach coordinator at the South East Area Coalition in Rochester.

Smith helps connect people with resources. For the eclipse, she's been collaborating with nonprofits like Rochester Accessible Adventures and other inclusive stakeholders to make sure that blind, deaf, hard of hearing or people with disabilities can feel and share in the total eclipse together.

"Whether they choose to come or not is theirs, but they have a choice rather than being left on the outskirts," said Smith.

NASA provided some 100 tactile books so people can chart the eclipse.

"You can feel the entire path of totality. This is the beginning of the overlap at 2:07 and it continues until 3:20," said Smith.

She is getting as many resources to as many eclipse events around Western New York as possible. She has Lightsound boxes developed at Harvard to share.

"It will emit a musical sound that will give constant feedback on the changing of the light and the waxing and waning," said Smith.

It's resources like this that Rochester Accessible Adventures has been pushing out to the community.

"It is so intentional across every type of person that could come, and then we have these smattering of amenities that will be around the area. I just don't think we have heard of any other community that's doing that much," said Anita O'Brien, executive director at Rochester Accessible Adventures.

Kudos to all the eclipse event organizers and volunteers who are making sure eclipse events have ASL interpreters, disability-accessible porta-potties and wheelchair-accessible parking lots. O'Brien says this eclipse is going to happen to all of us so we have to make sure everyone can experience it. She believes in a world where no one should have to ask if it's accessible to those with disabilities, it absolutely already should be.  

For more information on accessible eclipse viewing events in the Greater Rochester area along with other inclusion activities, head to and

AIRA, a visual interpreting company, will also be providing a live audio interpretation of the eclipse. It will broadcast live on YouTube on April 8 and at the SEAC Total Eclipse of the Park viewing party with accessibility for the visually impaired from 1-6 p.m. at the Genesee Valley Field House Lodge located at 1316 Genesee St. in Rochester.

The festival will include all kinds of resources, immersive stations, beep baseball, food trucks, kids crafts and the Wilson High School Band. The Wilson Robotics team is a co-sponsor of the event.