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Second Sense - Beyond Vision Loss

Vision Exchange 2016: Professional Development for Low Vision Support Group Leaders

Friday, June 3 - 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Skokie Public Library
5215 Oakton St.
Skokie, IL 60077

Join us for an energizing day of sharing, networking and knowledge building that will enrich your support group! THANK YOU to Susan Carlton, Dawn Wlezein, and the Skokie Public Library for hosting this year’s meeting!

Share ideas, challenges and solutions.

Meet other local vision loss support group leaders.

Cost: $10 refreshments and lunch included.

To register contact Polly Abbott or call 312-582-2985.

CEUs available! Prairie State College is an approved provider of Continuing Education Units (CEU) for social workers, licensed professional counselors, licensed clinical professional counselors, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and advanced practical nurses by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). Participation in the entire Vision Exchange offers 4.0 CEU from IDFPR.

To register for CEUs please complete the Prairie State College CEU registration form and submit with payment by May 27, 2016. CEU processing fee: $20

Our 2016 Agenda

9:00 – 9:15am   Meet and Mingle
9:15 – 9:30am   Welcome
Elevator Speech Introductions for Everyone (1 min. max)
9:30 – 11:00am   Moving Forward: Understanding Adjustment to Life without Sight
Christian A. Zapata, LCSW, Friedman Place

This presentation focuses on identifying the stages of grief and the support you can provide to help someone move forward in the adjustment process.

11:00 – 11:15am   Short break
11:15am – 12:45pm   Guide Dogs: What Effective Group Leaders Need to Know
Lauren Ross, Guide Dogs for the Blind field service manager for Midwestern US & Central Canada

This presentation helps you answer your group member’s questions about working with a guide dog, how to recognize a problem with a guide dog team and what to do if you suspect a group member may need extra support.

12:45 – 1:45pm   Networking Lunch
1:45 – 3:00pm   Lighting: Everything We Thought We Knew has CHANGED!
Polly Abbott, CVRT (Presenting material by Elaine Kitchel with permission from the American Printing House for the Blind)

This presentation explains the new findings about the damaging effects of blue light, ways lighting can enhance vision and the best types of lighting devices.

Meet Our Presenters

Christian A. Zapata is a licensed clinical social worker and he received his MSW (Master of Social Work) from the Jane Addams College of Social Work. Christian has completed post-graduate training programs from both the Chicago Center for Family Health in Marriage and Family Systems Therapy and the Erikson Institute in Child-Parent Psychotherapy. Mr. Zapata has over fourteen years of experience providing multi-cultural and bilingual therapy services to children, adolescents and adults. Mr. Zapata currently serves as the social work supervisor for Friedman Place where he manages programs and provides therapeutic services to adults who are blind or visually impaired. Christian works to integrate his knowledge and experiences to enhance the insight and coping skills of children, adults and their families as they learn to adjust to their vision loss.

Lauren Ross is entering the third decade of her career with Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB). A Chicago native, Lauren headed west after receiving a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts in 1993. She settled in San Francisco to look for work, and discovered Guide Dogs for the Blind through friends affiliated with the organization. Passionate about the human-animal bond from her own experience working with horses and dogs during high school and college, and wanting to emulate her father’s accomplishments in the non-profit world, Lauren knew she had found her calling. She started in the kennels as an instructor assistant, socializing and caring for dogs in training and was soon promoted into GDB’s three year instructor apprenticeship program. Lauren earned her California state guide dog mobility instructor license in 1997, and continued to work as an instructor on the San Rafael campus. In 2000, Lauren was promoted into the field service manager role and returned to the Windy City to work with graduate teams, applicants and allied agencies in five Midwestern states. Lauren’s coverage area has since expanded to include all GDB constituents in the Midwestern United States and Central Canada. Lauren has published and lectured on visual impairment sensitivity training in the workplace and on public transportation, advocacy in public accommodations, emergency considerations and safety for working guide dog teams and considerations for guide dog teams working in winter weather conditions. Lauren’s “Winter Weather Survival Manual” is available for download on the GDB website.

Polly Abbott is the director of rehabilitation services at Second Sense. She oversees all service programs, as well as managing and instructing in the Independent Living Services department. Originally intending to teach French in her native Canada, she has a B.A. in French Literature from the University of Guelph, ON and achieved her B.Ed. at Nipissing University in her hometown of North Bay, ON. A short time teaching in the classrooms of France and England were enough to convince Polly that her teaching talents might be better directed at adult learners. A love of braille and an interest in teaching skills that were truly needed led her to obtain a certificate as instructor for the blind & visually impaired from Mohawk College in Brantford, ON. Polly has worked for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind and is currently in her 10th year with Second Sense. She has been a certified vision rehabilitation therapist for over 15 years and also has her qualification as an orientation and mobility specialist (Mohawk College 2004). She received the Excellence in Rehabilitation Award in 2010 from the Illinois chapter of the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (IAER).