Thriving Blind Academy

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From surviving... to thriving! Welcome to the Thriving Blind Academy.

This community was created for YOU. Join us today!

Blindness is not a problem. Perceptions and access are. The Thriving Blind Academy changes perceptions and gives members access to succeed without sight.

- Kristin Smedley, Founder TBA

Do any of the following describe you?

  • I am a parent or caregiver that just heard the words, “Your child is blind” and I am feeling overwhelmed/scared/unsure of what to do next.

  • I am a parent or caregiver of a blind/visually impaired child that is in need of real strategies to guide my child in the areas of school, social life, activities, independence and technology.

  • I am training to work with blind and visually impaired students or have been in the field for a few years and need a better understanding of how to guide my students and their families to more success.

  • I just found out I am going blind and I have no idea how to succeed without sight.

If you are a parent, caregiver, educator or are going blind yourself, you've landed in the right place! Join our community to grow, thrive, and succeed!

"Kristin takes something that is scary for some--perhaps many, and creates a safe space where people can come and talk and learn and share,

and where the energy stays positive and practical."

-Ron Brooks, TBA Mentor, Succeed Without Sight Summit Speaker

Thriving Blind Academy Members Get Access to:

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Connect with role models that are succeeding without sight. TBA Members attend monthly Zoom meetings to hear from Mentors and interact with them to ask questions, advice etc!

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TBA Members get access - some free and all others discounted - to the Mastermind program, Masterclasses, special events and a FREE VIP TICKET to the annual Succeed Without Sight Summit!

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TBA Members are invited to a monthly Zoom meeiting with Kristin Smedley as well as membership int he private TBA Facebook group to connect with other members and the TBA mentors.

"What you and your boys have given me is HOPE. I now feel empowered to start educating this school system and the community that blindness is not a death sentence, a game ender or a sad, depressing existence. What you are doing is SO important."

– Kelly S. Thriving Blind Academy Mastermind Member

The TBA Membership is accessed through two options:

Option 1: Monthly fee of just $20, which requires a one time set up (your credit card will be billed automatically each month.)

Option 2: Annual fee of $200 - SAVE $40 - get 12 months for the price of 10!

What are the TBA Membership Perks?


Unprecedented Access to Knowledge, Tools, & Expertise

TBA gives members access to resources in areas of social, education, independence, assistive technology, leisure, and employment.


PRIVATE Facebook Community!

Connect with others on a journey similar to yours, ask questions for mentors to give advice, stay up to date on new technology, information, etc.


Monthly Zoom Meetings with Kristin Smedley!

Join Kristin in the Zoom room to ask questions, discuss challenges, celebrate a win, etc! This is special time for YOU to get specific guidance you need!


Backstage Access to the Spotlight Speakers!

When the interview ends for the public, YOU get to stay on and ask your questions and hear additional tools and resources from the speakers!


FREE VIP TICKET to the Annual Succeed Without Sight Summit!

Get all the perks and privileges of the VIP ticket! Session recordings, give-a-ways, private meetings, etc!


DISCOUNTS on all TBA Programs!

Enjoy major discounts on the Mastermind Program, Masterclasses, Webinars, etc!

Meet the Founder of Thriving Blind Academy!

Kristin Smedley knows a thing or two about succeeding without sight, but she didn't start out there...


Kristin Smedley’s mantra is “Life is funny… sort of.” Her fun-loving spirit and energetic personality guided her life in the direction of a career in teaching. Kristin fantasized that she would one day be an inspiring third grade teacher. In the year 2000 Kristin was well on her way to accomplishing all of her goals.

But, fate had other plans, and Kristin found herself shockingly dealt a double dose of darkness. Her firstborn son, Michael, was diagnosed as legally blind when he was just four-months old. Once known for her smile, Kristin found herself devastated and angry. Yet fate wasn’t finished. Three years later, Kristin received another sucker punch to her heart when her second son, Mitchell, was also diagnosed as legally blind at four months of age.

With no idea how to navigate their needs, Kristin saw little hope for their future. Unfortunately, the world had no hope for their future either. Knowing that Michael and Mitchell needed their mother to fight for them, Kristin began advocating for the tools her blind children needed.

With the right foundation and a multitude of resources, her children have become popular, accomplished athletes, Dean’s List and National Honor Society members, recording artist, international Braille competition finalists, top blind athlete in the United States, sought after speakers, as well as typical big brothers to their sighted sister, Karissa.

Kristin has dedicated her life to making sure no other person has to sit isolated in devastation over a rare eye disease diagnosis, and she is on an extraordinary mission to change what it means to be blind.

In 2011, Kristin launched the only patient organization in the world for her sons’ blindness to fund research and resources for children living with the rare eye disease her sons have, CRB1 LCA/RP. In just nine years, the has raised over 1.4 million dollars and achieved a National Rare Eye Disease Awareness Day. That legislation, H.R. #625, was the first in US history to be submitted in Braille and it advocates for better resources for blind and visually impaired Americans.

Kristin partnered with Spark Therapeutics to help achieve the first ever FDA approved gene therapy to treat an inherited retinal disease in the United States. She has done a TEDx Talk in New York City to change perceptions of blindness and she partnered with Comcast media to spread awareness of the inclusive X1 product.

In 2019, Kristin published her first book called Thriving Blind: Stories of Real People Succeeding Without Sight. It achieved #1 New Release on Amazon for paperback and kindle. Kristin partnered with TMobile and the National Braille Press to make the book available in Braille. The book has evolved into the Thriving Blind Academy with a Mastermind, Membership and Mentoring program and is an international resource for families and educators of blind children.

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