[tabi] AS WE SEE IT: Early Intervention Edition of the Lighthouse Newsletter

  • From: Lighthouse of the Big Bend <lighthousebigbend@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: tabi <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 29 Feb 2012 17:12:20 -0500

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

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

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

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.


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

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,

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

Blind Bargains - http://www.blindbargains.com/

Family Connect - http://www.familyconnect.org/parentsitehome.asp

Florida Braille and Talking Book Library -

Hadley School for the Blind - http://www.hadley.edu/

Lighthouse of the Big Bend - 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

Lighthouse Board of Directors

President: Evelyn Sewell

Vice President: Fred Sanguiliano

Treasurer: Lynda Breen

Secretary: Jamie Ito


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

 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
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