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 employment. 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 instructors. 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 awareness. 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! A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION (#CH1481) & FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE WITHIN THE STATE 1-800-435-7352. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE. 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 Members: 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 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.