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Independent Living

The Gardening Bug: Simple Ways to Enjoy Gardening

April 25, 2016 | 4 Comments

by Kathy Austin, CVA

  We’ve had an early spring here in Chicago. I’ve been out in the garden a lot cleaning up last year’s plant remains and broken tree branches, transplanting lilies and hostas, and planning what I’ll be purchasing to infuse my beds with flowers this summer. I love to garden — it is my respite, my […] Read More »

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Tony and Shawn practicing reading braille in their study group

Why do You Need Braille? Let’s Count the Ways!

January 4, 2016 | 2 Comments

by Tony Colon, Second Sense braille tutor

As never before, advances in technology have made it possible for the visually impaired and blind to take advantage of such items as computers, iPhones and the like. You can accomplish so many tasks without the assistance of a sighted person. It is without a doubt, a great time to be alive. So, when I […] Read More »

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A polar bear floating underwater

Give an Experience Gift: 21 Ideas They’ll Remember!

December 21, 2015 | Leave a Comment

by Kathy Austin

Recently I read a blog on American Foundation of the Blind’s Family Connect site about giving experiences as a holiday gift to children instead of the “stuff” that clutters up our homes.  Studies have shown that the positive memories we hold about experiences make us happier than the things we accumulate.  Do you remember that […] Read More »

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Graph showing employment rates for people with vision loss rising from 27% in 1997 to 37% in 2007.

Employment with Vision Loss: What are the Chances?

October 8, 2015 | Leave a Comment

by Kathy Austin, CVA

Finding a job that pays a living wage (or more) when you have vision loss can be tough, but things are looking up. Rates of employment for people with vision loss have been steadily increasing from 27% in 1997 to 37% in 2007. What are some factors that can improve the outcome for someone to […] Read More »

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Cribbage hand with large print playing cards

Vision Rehabilitation Therapy: The Invisible Profession?

September 15, 2015 | Leave a Comment

by Polly Abbott, CVRT

I have just returned from my first Association of Vision Rehabilitation Therapists conference.  A re-occurring theme of the conference was how under-utilized vision rehabilitation therapists (VRT) are, especially by doctors, educators and vocational rehabilitation professionals working with clients with vision loss. Are VRTs Invisible? As a profession, we are practically invisible. No one is quite […] Read More »

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Talking Blood Pressure Monitor with large print screen

Staying Healthy with Talking Products

July 20, 2015 | Leave a Comment

by Jordan Giffney

We are told from day one, “eat your fruits and vegetables,” or “make sure you drink all of your milk for strong bones.” Moms around the world have tried to instill healthy habits in kids who have no interest in finishing their vegetables. But as all children do, we grew up and no longer have our […] Read More »

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LaTonya tries out a sewing machine

Everyone Should Know How to Sew!

June 9, 2015 | Leave a Comment

by Polly Abbott, CVRT

I write the title somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but the point I wish to make is the importance of having a hobby that stimulates you beyond listening to the latest podcast or talking book.  Voltaire, the French writer and philosopher, once wrote “il faut cultiver son jardin,” which literally means “one must cultivate one’s own garden.”  As […] Read More »

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Using half a cork as a base, Polly has the self-threading needle stick straight up and wraps the thread around each index finger to gently press it into the eye.

Celebrating Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist Week!

April 15, 2015 | Leave a Comment

April 14 is Anne Sullivan’s birthday. Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller’s teacher, brought her student out of isolation and into the world where she became a political activist and author. To celebrate Anne’s dedication and contributions to the profession of teaching people with vision loss, the week of April 13 is Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist Week […] Read More »

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Polly demonstrating one of the 1-Touch hand positions she learned

Battling Fear with Self-Defense

March 4, 2015 | Leave a Comment

by Polly Abbott, CVRT, COMS, Director of Rehabilitation Services

Many challenges come with vision loss, particularly for those new to visual impairment. Some people who are blind have a great fear of not being fully aware of the environment. Lacking details typically gained through visual information, gives a sense of loss of control when making choices that may affect personal safety. It’s the seemingly […] Read More »

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The Road Map: Ten Ways to Maintain Your Lifestyle with Vision Loss

February 13, 2015 | 1 Comment

by Kathy Austin, Community Engagement Specialist at Second Sense

When I was first told that my vision wasn’t something that could be corrected with a new eye glass prescription, but rather more devastating news that I was going to lose it all, I was in shock.  I drove home from the doctor’s office that day, crying with the song “For Your Eyes Only,” the […] Read More »