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Second Sense - Beyond Vision Loss

Patrick’s Story

Patrick and his husband Garrett enjoying a warm summer evening at one of Chicago’s many restaurants with outdoor dining options.

Offering the Training Our Clients Want

Patrick still has 65% of his vision. So he found ways to do things with low vision, but he knew he “really needed to learn how to do things the correct way, the right way. To learn best practices.”

“I just had a cold and was looking for a can of chicken noodle soup. In the past, I would have opened cans until I found the right one.”

But, after some training on using the Seeing AI app on his phone, Patrick can now quickly identify any package with a UPC code. The app guides him to the UPC code then reads out the product name. It may even offer the directions on preparing the item.

In addition to learning ways to use his phone as a tool of independence, Patrick learned mobility skills.

All our training is client-centered. The client let us know what they want to do and we tell them about the different skills they can learn to accomplish their goals.

Patrick wanted to feel safer and more confident walking around other people — traveling in crowds. He wanted to know how to cross a street safely, step down from a curb without tripping and navigate stairs without falling.
So Siobhan discussed different mobility skills. Since Patrick and Garrett travel together, Siobhan suggested they learn Human Guide technique. This technique helps Patrick and Garrett walk together as a team, with Garrett giving Patrick cues — both verbal and nonverbal — about the direction they are walking and the environment around them.

Patrick also learned to use a white cane. He learned to use the cane to safely climb stairs, to identify curbs and to find obstacles in his path. He also learned the techniques to safely cross a street. Patrick reports the training made him “feel more confident and trust myself.”

When we focus on the client, we believe in focusing on the whole client. That includes discussing leisure activities. It is important for cognitive health to remain mentally active — doing activities you enjoy.

Patrick enjoys podcasts and audiobooks. Siobhan introduced him to BARD. This service from the Library of Congress provides audiobooks at no cost to adults with vision loss. Patrick was a bit skeptical at first. He did not want to listen to computer-generated voices reading books to him.

“I was amazed to learn that the books available on BARD are the same books you find on Audible. Right now I am reading Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law by Mary Roach.”