AS WE SEE IT Lighthouse of the Big Bend Spring 2012 Newsletter Early Intervention Edition In this issue: 1. Lighthouse Awarded Extreme Makeover! 2. Learning to Work with Blind Babies: FSU's Program in Visual Disabilities 3. Mobility 101: How Do Blind Babies Learn to Walk? 4. Eleven Ways to Detect Vision Loss in Infants and Toddlers 5. New Way to Help: Toner & Phone Recycling Program = Training Supplies! 6. Free SportsAblity Fun: Thursday to Saturday, April 12-14 7. Dog Guide Group Outing: Saturday, April 21 8. Lighthouse 2nd Annual Techno Demo: Friday, April 29, 1-6pm and Saturday, April 28, 9am-3pm 9. 2012 Lighthouse Classes & Events 10. Frequently Called Numbers 11. Helpful Websites 12. About the Lighthouse 1. Lighthouse Awarded Extreme Makeover! We are delighted to share that the Lighthouse was one of four agencies that the United Way of the Big Bend's Young Philanthropist's Circle awarded with an "Extreme Makeover" grant. On Saturday, February 18, a group of Access Tallahassee United Way volunteers descended upon the Lighthouse to makeover our Early Intervention classroom for blind and visually impaired toddlers! Access Tallahassee not only supplied the free labor-the United Way bought and delivered all the materials that were needed, as well. What a luxury! The makeover began with the entire room being painted with bright blue semi-gloss to be able to wipe off smudges from little fingers-the existing flat paint was in sad shape despite our best efforts. Special magnetic paint was added to the bottom half of one wall for children to play with large alphabet magnets, to learn the shape of letters. On a different wall chalkboard paint was added to the bottom half for kids to draw with chalk, learn and play. To complete the surface re-finishing, a colorful area rug was rolled out to cover the indoor-outdoor carpeting that had been harsh for little knees to crawl on. As you can imagine, learning to move around and explore the world when you are little and can't see is a challenge. In a world with only adult-size furniture, it is just about impossible. Therefore, for the first time the Extreme Makeover grant allowed the room to be outfitted with child-sized tables and chairs, the type you see in preschools. Thank you, United Way of the Big Bend, Access Tallahassee, and two other donors who gave cash to add a few extra special additions-our early intervention families are already benefitting! 2. Learning to Work with Blind Babies: FSU's Program in Visual Disabilities The faculty in the Visual Disabilities program at Florida State University joins the Lighthouse in celebrating the makeover of their Early Intervention classroom! The Lighthouse's long-standing commitment to early intervention is an investment in the future of the children and families who are served by this important program. When children with visual impairments and their families receive early intervention services, those children are more likely to start school with a foundation in the motor, language, social, and conceptual skills that are key to school-and life-success. FSU is proud that many Lighthouse staff members in Tallahassee and across the state are graduates of our program. Started in 1963, the Visual Disabilities program works to ensure that Floridians of all ages with low vision and blindness will have teachers, orientation and mobility specialists, and rehabilitation therapists who have the knowledge and skills to rehabilitate individuals with visual impairments. The Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVI) program teaches students to focus on the "whole" child and to meet students' needs across the spectrum of developmental areas, often referred to as the Expanded Core Curriculum. TVI students learn how to facilitate student success in school, and also to teach life skills such as basic orientation and mobility, social, career, independent living, recreation and leisure, sensory efficiency, assistive technology, and self-determination. FSU also prepares O&M (orientation and mobility) Specialists to teach those who are blind how to travel independently. This program requires that students spend time under a blindfold to learn how to travel without sight. Both the Florida Department of Education and the Division of Blind Services have provided financial support to the FSU Visual Disabilities Program over the years. The cost of tuition and other college-related expenses are often reduced through grants from these agencies, as well as from the U.S. Department of Education, making this an affordable major, one for which there are many job opportunities after graduation. The Visual Disabilities Program is housed in the School of Teacher Education at FSU. Two tenured faculty members, Amy Guerette and Sandy Lewis, provide instruction and coordinate the activities of the program with the support of a full-time grant-supported (thanks to the Florida Department of Education!) instructor, Mickey Damelio. Our efforts are supported by many Lighthouse employees who teach courses for us and provide our students with practicum and internship experiences. In addition, our students often benefit from being able to work directly in the homes of families from the community. We are grateful for this help in preparing the next generation of educational specialists in this field. For more information about the FSU's Visual Disability Program, please contact Sandy Lewis at 850-644-8409 or at slewis@xxxxxxx . 3. Mobility 101: How Do Blind Babies Learn to Walk? When thinking about getting babies who are blind or visually impaired to move on their own, first you have to consider how to create the desire to move in the child. For babies who are blind, crawling and walking are not instinctual and are not motivating in and of themselves. Children with normal vision see their family members moving around their environment. Baby sister wants to keep up with her big brother who is running around the yard. Hence, this sight can create the intrinsic motivation to pull up on furniture and try to walk after her brother to keep up - thus developing independent mobility. A baby who is blind or visually impaired literally does not see her caregivers or siblings moving about. Therefore, the family needs to be introduced to strategies to encourage their baby's early movement. Babies need to feel safe and secure with their caregivers and within their environment before they will be willing to move. Motivating babies with visual impairments can be accomplished through use of toys that have audible, tactile, or (for babies with a little vision) light emitting features. Once a baby is aware of the fun and interesting toys around them, they are more likely to reach out and grab them. Using a toy with an audible feature will help the baby figure out where the toy is and move towards it. Using light-up toys for babies with some vision can encourage them to hold their head up and look. Using specific toys that a baby has shown interest in will make the task of encouraging movement a bit easier. The baby's relationship with her caregivers is also motivating. For example, Mom can be sitting a few feet away from her baby and encourage the baby to come to her with her voice. The baby will scoot or crawl to get to Mom. The same is true for baby's first steps. Once the baby is standing, Mom can move a couple of steps away and encourage her to walk to her. If Mom has her arms stretched out, it is an even shorter trip. When the baby reaches Mom by crawling or walking, she can get a hug or a tickle or another physical reward to reinforce the skill. As the baby grows and develops the foundation skills of movement, safe movement within their environment needs to be addressed. When the child begins to take a few steps at a time and independently maintain their balance, beginner mobility devices can be introduced. Things as simple as a play grocery cart or lawn mower that is pushed with the child walking behind can be used to introduce beginning travel and cane skills. The child can learn to use the toy as a warning of environmental obstacles like drop-offs and changes in terrain. As the child learns to react to the information from the push toy and walks with more stability, a more traditional pre-cane can be introduced. Pre-canes are usually made from PVC pipe and look similar to a large rectangle. The child holds onto the pre-cane with two hands and pushes it ahead of them. The pre-cane is a little bit wider than the child's body. After the child masters the use of the pre-cane, she can begin her instruction in using a straight white cane, just as adults use. The straight cane is the traditional mobility cane which is white with a red tip. The mobility cane is the tool that will follow the little one throughout their lifetime. Orientation and mobility for infants and toddlers is essential. Building a child's self-confidence and independence through these skills will help them grow to be successful adults. 4. Eleven Ways to Detect Vision Loss in Infants and Toddlers 11. No eye contact by about 3 months. 10. Not able to focus vision or follow by about 3 months. 9. Eyes don't move together by about 4 months. 8. Can't accurately reach for objects by about 6 months. 7. Horizontal or vertical rapid eye movements. 6. No clear black pupil (hazy cornea or whitish pupil.) 5. Continual tears when the baby is not crying. 4. Reacts to bright light with great discomfort. 3. Constant redness of the white area of eyes. 2. Eyelid that sags and blocks the pupil. 1. Difference in the shape, size or structure of the eyes. Disclaimer: This should not be construed to be medical advice. If a baby has several of these problems, it's recommended that she or he see an eye-care physician and contact the Lighthouse at phone: (850) 942-3658, toll-free: (888) 827-6033, email: info@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx or web: www.lighthousebigbend.org <http://www.lighthousebigbend.org/> 5. New Way to Help: Toner & Phone Recycling Program = Training Supplies! As you probably know, nonprofit organizations across the country have been dealing with huge budget cuts. The Lighthouse is thrilled that we've found a way to supplement our (much appreciated) funding from the Division of Blind Services to get free supplies for our Blind Babies program! The Lighthouse of the Big Bend has just become involved in the Funding Factory Recycling Program. This fundraiser is FREE and simple because there's nothing to sell, no paperwork to fill out and no deadlines. The program runs year-round, accumulating constant income for our efforts. But we won't get very far without your support. How can you help? Instead of throwing away your empty printer cartridges, old cell phones, small electronics and laptops, donate them to the Lighthouse! See below for specifics. We have a collection box located in our office at 3071 Highland Oaks Terrace, Tallahassee, FL 32301. If your whole organization or business wants to help, we can sign you up for the Business Support Program which includes displays for your office and free shipping labels to mail items in on our behalf. We are also happy to come pick items up from you. Last year alone, more than 300 million cartridges were thrown away, while 30,000,000 cell phones were tossed or replaced. We're alleviating the volume of waste that goes into landfills while collecting points for products we need. Your help is vital to our fundraising success. If you have any questions about this great opportunity, please feel free to call Simone or Jennifer at 850 942-3658 or email us at scunningham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, or jcrowder@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Products and/or Brands You Can Donate to Recycle: Apple, Blackberry, Brother, Cannon, Casio, Dell, Digital cameras (all), GPS devices (all), HP, HTC, IBM, Laptops (all), Lexmark, LG, Motorola, MP3 players (all) Nextel, Nokia, Palm, Panasonic, Pantech, Samsung, Sanyo, Sony, Xerox and more. THANK YOU for the SUPPORT! 6. Free SportsAblity Fun: Thursday to Saturday, April 12-14 You are invited to the SportsAbility event put on by the Florida Disabled Outdoors Association (FDAO), which is for people of all abilities, their families and friends. * Thursday, April 12, 2012, 6 - 8PM: Baseball at Miracle Field * Friday, April 13, 2012, 10AM - 3PM: Indoor Recreation and Disability Resource EXPO at TCC Lifetime Sports Complex * Saturday, April 14, 2012, 10AM - 3PM: SportsAbility Outdoor Recreation, Music, Food and Fun at Ochlockonee River State Park. Free shuttle on Saturday from CK Steele Plaza: Pickup: 9:00 & 10:00 AM / Return: 3:00 & 4:00 PM For more information, sponsorship opportunities or to reserve a booth, contact the Florida Disabled Outdoors Association at info@xxxxxxxx or 850-201-2944 or go to www.fdoa.org <http://www.fdoa.org/> 7. Dog Guide Group Outing: Saturday, April 21 If you have a dog guide or are interested in learning more about them, please join our group as we journey to the Tallahassee Museum (aka the Junior Museum for those who have lived here awhile). Please call Evelyn for more details: (850) 942-3658 x 203 or eworley@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 8. Lighthouse 2nd Annual Techno Demo: Friday, April 29, 1-6pm and Saturday, April 28, 9am-3pm Numerous vendors will demonstrate all the newest technology both inside the building and outside under our tents. There will be adaptive computer programs, CCTV-type devices, and all kinds of nifty technology. We also plan to show several types of the new smart phones and the different accessibility features. There are many new phone apps that are free and accessible! A speaker from Social Security will be giving a talk on the work incentive program on Friday for those who have questions about SSI or SSDI and employment. The Techno Demo event is free and open to anyone interested in learning about adaptive technology and resources for persons who are visually impaired or blind. For more info call Jeanine or Elizabeth at (850) 942-3658 or info@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 9. 2012 Lighthouse Classes & Events Braille Class: Every Thursday 10:30am-2pm Independent Living Class: 1st & 3rd Wednesday, 11am-3pm Quarterly O&M with Dog Guides: April 21, Tallahassee Museum Strategies for Coping with Vision Loss Group: 1st Wednesday, 1-3pm Technology Forum: 4th Thursday, 3-6pm Transition Program: Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs. & Saturday afternoons (please see calendar for specific times and counties) Transition Summer Program 2012: June 11th- August 3rd Way to Work, Strategies for Employment Group: 2nd & 4th Wednesdays, 10am-12pm 10. Frequently Called Numbers 211 Big Bend (24 hours) 211 Big Bend Transit 574-6064 DBS 245-0370; 1(800)672-7038 Dial-A-Ride 891-5199 Elder Care 921-5554 Insight Support Group 878-1923 Lighthouse of the Big Bend 942-3658 Magnifiers & More 671-3936 Medicaid 921-8474 Project Insight 24-hr Helpline 1-800-267-4448 Senior Center 891-4000 StarMetro 891-5200 Talking Book Library 1-800-226-6075 VA Low Vision Clinic 878-0191 ext. 2086 Yellow Cab 580-8080 11. Helpful Websites American Foundation for the Blind - http://www.afb.org/ American Printing House for the Blind - http://www.aph.org <http://www.aph.org/> Blind Bargains - http://www.blindbargains.com/ Family Connect - http://www.familyconnect.org/parentsitehome.asp Florida Braille and Talking Book Library - http://webopac.klas.com/talkingbooks/florida Hadley School for the Blind - http://www.hadley.edu/ Lighthouse of the Big Bend - http://www.lighthousebigbend.org <http://www.lighthousebigbend.org/> National Federation of the Blind - http://www.nfb.org/nfb/Resources.asp Self-help Resources for Vision Loss - http://www.visionaware.org/ 12. About the Lighthouse Lighthouse of the Big Bend provides free services to individuals who are visually impaired or blind in Franklin, Gadsden, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Suwannee, Taylor & Wakulla Counties. Address: 3071 Highland Oaks Terrace, Tallahassee, FL 32301 Phone: 850-942-3658 Toll-free: 1-888-827-6063 Fax: 850-942-4518 Email: info@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Website: http://www.lighthousebigbend.org <http://www.lighthousebigbend.org/> Lighthouse Board of Directors President: Evelyn Sewell Vice President: Fred Sanguiliano Treasurer: Lynda Breen Secretary: Jamie Ito Members: Norris Coster Fred Flink, OD Ted Judd Sila Miller Christopher Thomas Lighthouse Staff Assistant Director: Evelyn Worley, ext 203 Assistive Technology: Liz Bowden, ext 214 Data Entry Specialist: Simone Cunningham, ext 213 Early Intervention: Jennifer Crowder, ext 202 EI / O&M Specialist: Sharon Scherbarth, ext 220 Executive Director: Barbara Ross, ext 201 Independent Living: Jeanine Kane, ext 215 Toni King, ext 211 Alex Crawford, ext 228 Specialist Assistant: Mike Worley, ext 204 Transition Specialists: Amanda Kan, ext 208 Angel Scruggs, ext 206 Transition / O&M Specialist: Amanda Bernath, ext 216 Vocational Services: Wayne Warner, ext 210 Eva McElvy, ext 205 Lynda Jones, ext 212 FREE SERVICES: Do you know someone in your life who might benefit from services? We'd love to help. It's easy-just call 942-3658 or email info@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Thanks! Lighthouse of the Big Bend "Guiding People Through Vision Loss" 3071 Highland Oaks Terrace Tallahassee, FL 32301 (850) 942-3658 Fax: (850) 942-4518 www.lighthousebigbend.org Get our Specialty License Plate and $25 will help the Lighthouse! ~ Please consider the environment before printing this email ~ -- Lighthouse of the Big Bend Guiding People Through Vision Loss 3071 Highland Oaks Terrace Tallahassee, FL 32301 (850) 942-3658 www.lighthousebigbend.org Check out the TABI resource web page at http://acorange.home.comcast.net/TABI and please make suggestions for new material. if you'd like to unsubscribe you can do so through the freelists.org web interface, or by sending an email to the address tabi-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word "unsubscribe" in the subject.