[tabi] Lighthouse of the Big Bend Newsletter: As We See It, Spring 2011

  • From: Lighthouse of the Big Bend <lighthousebigbend@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: tabi <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 7 Mar 2011 12:17:32 -0500

Lighthouse of the Big Bend Newsletter
As We See It, Spring 2011

In this issue:
1. Doors Opening at Area High Schools
2. Strategies for Vision Loss Class
3. Mobility Tips 101: Moving Safely at Home
4. My DBS Work Experience by Jada Michaels
5. Three Ways YOU Can Help!
6. Top Ten Websites with Info on Blindness
7. Lighthouse Job Opening
8. Lighthouse Spring 2011 Classes & Events
9. Frequently Called Numbers
10. About the Lighthouse

1. Doors Opening at Area High Schools
"It was a new & wonderful experience to listen to your knowledge about
the eye and perform the activities you had for the class."

"It's important that everyone should learn a little bit about visually
impaired people and realize that they’re not much different than other
people." ~ Leon High School students

These messages from students following a presentation by the
Lighthouse are just the beginning!  After visits to all nineteen high
schools within the eleven counties of the Big Bend, high school doors
have begun to open. Faculty have been drawn to the Lighthouse’s class
activities that add real-life experiences to the words in their
students’ textbooks. Last year the Public Awareness Specialist taught
the psychology classes at Leon High and the English classes at Liberty
County High School. More presentations are scheduled this Spring at
three other area high schools.

Presentations include What Is It Like to Have A Visual Impairment,
Playing Sports Without Vision, Cooking Without Looking, and How Do You
Surf the Internet. Students wear blindfolds or goggles that simulate
visual impairments as they do activities. They have the unique
opportunity to play goalball with blind athletes who have traveled the
world and won Olympic medals.

Some administrators are realizing there may be unidentified visually
impaired teens within their student body unable to meet their maximum
potential. However, this continues to be a difficult door to open.
Lighthouse staff believe, in time, more and more administrators will
see this need and recognize how much Lighthouse Transition Services
can improve student academics, increase summer employment
opportunities, expand college options and  enhance post graduate

Interested in a High School Class Presentation?
If you know a high school in the Big Bend that would like a
presentation, please contact Lynda Jones, Public Awareness Specialist
at (850)942-3658 x 209 or email ljones@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

2. Strategies for Vision Loss Class
The Lighthouse of the Big Bend is starting up a monthly class for new
and current clients who are visually impaired or blind. It will be
held on the first Wednesday of each month, from 1pm until 3pm at the
Lighthouse of the Big Bend.

Talking with others who are also dealing with vision loss can be very
beneficial. Exchanging ideas and strategies for coping with various
issues and tasks will be the focus of each class. The group will
provide an opportunity for everyone to share about their experiences,
as well as learning a variety of techniques from Lighthouse

If you are interested in attending, please contact Jeanine Kane, CVRT
at: (850) 942-3658, extension 215.

3. Mobility Tips 101: Moving Safely at Home
Previous articles in the Mobility Tips section have presented
information on advanced O&M topics such as using the city bus,
accessing the Lighthouse’s new location, negotiating airports, and
orientation concepts used for navigating in the community. Most people
with severely limited sight do these activities with the aid of a
mobility tool such as a long cane or a dog guide. Have you ever
wondered how someone with limited sight navigates around the home
safely without these tools? The two methods below can be helpful.

1. Trailing: The trailing technique is used to keep in contact with
the environment, to aid in orientation, and to establish a line of
travel. The traveler touches an object (such as a wall or a piece of
furniture) with the hand, stands one step to the side of the object,
and extends the arm ahead of the body into a position where the hand
is half way between the hip and the shoulder. Maintaining this
position, the traveler moves along, keeping in contact with the
object. Regardless of how the hand is held, it is helpful to relax and
curve the fingers slightly so that they act as “bumpers” when
encountering uneven surfaces or new objects. Keeping the arm extended
ahead of the body gives the traveler time to react to the things
encountered. Interpreting textures, shapes, turns, and the presence of
open spaces while trailing assists the traveler with establishing and
maintaining orientation.

2. Self-protective techniques: These techniques are a way to prevent
injury to the upper and mid section of the body while moving through
space. The upper body can be protected by extending the upper arm away
from the body to the front, bending the elbow and bringing the forearm
across the body at shoulder level, with the back of the hand
approximately one foot from the opposite shoulder. The forearm
position can be adjusted upward to protect the face and head. The
lower body can be protected by extending the arm diagonally across the
body (from shoulder to the opposite hip), with the hand facing
inwards, approximately one foot away from the hip. Again, the fingers
should be relaxed and curved slightly. The correct positioning of the
arms in either the upper or lower body protective position allows the
arms to act as “bumpers” to protect the body.

Here are some extra safety tips relating to these techniques:
* The upper and lower body protective techniques can be combined to
provide protection to the traveler from head to hip.
* Use protective techniques when crossing an open area.
* Either of the protective techniques can also be used while trailing.
* When the trailing surface ends (such as when encountering an open
doorway) employ one of the protective techniques until the trailing
surface is re-established.
* When bending down to locate an object on the floor or when checking
a seat before sitting, use the upper body protective technique to
protect the face from injury.
* As extra protection, train family members and friends to keep doors
and cabinets all the way open or closed.
For more information, contact a Lighthouse Orientation & Mobility
Specialist at 942-3658 or email info@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

4. My DBS Work Experience by Jada Michaels
One Tuesday morning this past Fall, I made a telephone call to the
Lighthouse. It was then that I learned about the Work Experience
Program sponsored by the Division of Blind Services.
DBS works with businesses to establish training positions for a
variety of different jobs. When a client is interviewed and accepted
for a work experience, they literally go to work and simultaneously
receive on-the-job training. Clients also receive a small stipend for
the hours they work. A work experience can be for a few weeks to a
maximum of 6 months.

I immediately contacted my DBS counselor who requested that I be
considered for the open receptionist work experience position at the
Lighthouse of the Big Bend. Later that same day, an interview was
scheduled for Thursday; Friday, I was hired.

My working motto is, “When in doubt, seek Wayne out.” As my
supervisor, Wayne has been helpful in teaching me the job skills
involved in being a receptionist. My main responsibility is to answer
the telephone, announce the caller, and transfer the call to the
appropriate staff. When telephone requests are simple, like the need
for information regarding the Talking Book Library, I assist the
caller myself.

I also greet and announce clients and guests, receive mail and
packages, retrieve and forward after hours voice mail messages, record
and submit referrals, collate and bind embossed Braille material, and
perform any other projects as requested. In addition, I assure that
public service projects and special requests for Brailed information
are properly disseminated.

Daily, I witness the magnitude of the thought and care the Lighthouse
staff puts into setting clients’ goals. I have come to realize they
operate as a team. Use of the staff’s different perspectives
establishes the best outcome for each client. My experience here has
both encouraged and inspired me to seek permanent employment when my
work experience ends. Many thanks to DBS and the Lighthouse for this
wonderful work experience!

5. Three Ways YOU Can Help!
1. “A State of Vision” Specialty License Plate
Get a specialty license plate and $25 of the fees will go to the
Lighthouse in your area. To purchase a tag or get a gift certificate
for someone you love, just visit your tag agency and ask for “A State
of Vision” plate.  It’s a great cause and generates important

2. Driver’s License Renewal “$1 Check Off”
We now have a $1 check off box on the back of driver’s license renewal
forms for “Blind Babies & Blind Youth.” Circle it and add $1 which
will help our Early Intervention Program.

3. Vehicle Registration “$1 Check Off”
There is also a new $1 check off box on the back of your vehicle
registration form for “Seniors with Vision Loss.” Circle it and $1
will help our Independent Living Program.

Thank you for supporting the Lighthouse!

6. Top Ten Websites with Info on Blindness
10. www.afb.org/   American Foundation for the Blind—Wealth of
resources including Career Connect and Senior Site
9. www.nfb.org/nfb/Resources.asp   National Federation of the
Blind—Resources for living, working, learning & recreation
8. www.visionaware.org/   Self-help Resource Center for Vision Loss
7. www.familyconnect.org/parentsitehome.asp   Family Connect—For
parents of children with visual impairments
6. www.lighthouse.org/about-low-vision-blindness/   Lighthouse
International—About Low Vision & Blindness
5. www.blindbargains.com/   Blind Bargains—Deals & News for the Blind
& Visually Impaired (technology related)
4. www.aph.org   American Printing House for the Blind—accessible
educational and daily living products for the blind
3. http://webopac.klas.com/talkingbooks/florida   Florida Braille and
Talking Book Library
2. www.hadley.edu/   Hadley School for the Blind— distance education
programs for individuals who are blind or visually impaired, their
families and blindness service providers
1. www.lighthousebigbend.org   Lighthouse of the Big Bend—Check out
our Links page for many more resources!

7. Lighthouse Job Opening
The Lighthouse of the Big Bend is looking to hire a part-time
Assistive Technology Instructor teaching adaptive computer knowledge
and skills including typing, screen magnifiers, screen readers, and
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. The position would work
approximately 20 hours per week, earning $14-$18 per hour. For more
info please see the job description at
http://www.lighthousebigbend.org. To apply, please submit a cover
letter (required!) & resume by email to info@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx by
April 1st.

8. Lighthouse Spring 2011 Classes & Events
Assistive Technology Seminar: Every 4th Thursday, 3-7pm
Basic O&M Skills: Every Thursday, 1-3pm
Braille Class: Every Thursday, 9:30-12:30pm
Independent Living Class: Every Wednesday, 10am-3:30pm
O&M with Dog Guides: 3rd Thursday, 5:30-7pm
Strategies for Vision Loss Class: First Wednesday, 1-3pm
Transition Group for Teens: Every Thurs afternoon (varies)
Transition Group for Teens (Gadsden): Every Monday, 3-5pm
Transition Group for Teens (Leon): Every Tuesday, 4-6pm
Transition Group (Leon): Every Tues. 3-4:30pm & Wed. 2:15-4pm
Transition Group for Teens (Suwannee): Every Monday, 3-5pm
Transition Group for Teens (Wakulla): Every Wednesday, 3-4:30pm
JUNE 13 to AUG 4: Transition Summer Program! Mon-Th, 9am-4pm

9. 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

10. 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.

NEW Address: 3071 Highland Oaks Terrace
Phone: 850-942-3658
Toll-free: 1-888-827-6063
Fax: 850-942-4518
Email: info@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Website: http://www.lighthousebigbend.org

Lighthouse Board of Directors
President: Norine Labitzke
Vice President: Evelyn Sewell
Treasurer: Lynda Breen
Secretary: Jamie Ito
Tinnetta Cooper
Norris Coster
Caroline Mathews
Sila Miller
Fred Sanguiliano
Christopher Thomas
Susan Whaley, OD

Lighthouse Staff
Assistant Director: Evelyn Worley, ext 203
Assistive Technology: Liz Bowden, ext 214
Data Entry Specialist: Joyce Warner, ext 213
Driver: Mike Worley, ext 204
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
Eva McElvy, ext 205
Toni King, ext 211
Public Awareness: Lynda Jones, ext 212
Receptionist: Jada Michaels ext 213
Transition Specialists: Amanda Kan, ext 208
Leslie Jorgenson, ext 206
Transition / O&M Specialist: Amanda Bernath ext 216
Vocational Services: Wayne Warner, ext 210

Lighthouse of the Big Bend
Guiding People Through Vision Loss
3071 Highland Oaks Terrace
Tallahassee, FL 32301
(850) 942-3658
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