These articles are not an endorsement by Second Sense. Editor, Kathy Austin.
July at Second Sense
Reaching our Staff
Updated COVID Policy
Fourth of July Office Schedule
Advanced Orientation and Mobility Workshop: Understanding the Concept of Scale
What’s New at the Zoo?
RP Meet Up
Outdoor Cycling with Dare2Tri
All Terrain Cane
Keep Up with Retinal Research
RTA and Public Transportation Accessibility at Harold Washington Library
Vision Loss and Mental Health
Audio-Described Theatre in Chicago
Calendar of Events
July is a month to celebrate independence and here’s how we can help you achieve your independence goals!
If you are new to vision loss, have experienced a decrease in your vision or think you need a refresher on any skills to help you be more independent, please give us a call. Our staff of certified specialists are here to help you learn the skills to tackle those frustrating problems that often arise when coping with vision loss.
Cody Froeter, CVRT and Second Sense’s director of programs, can work with you to trouble shoot and solve many types of problems that interfere with your daily routine.
Mandi Hetzel, CVRT, COMS can help you learn to use a white cane and be an independent traveler by helping you master orientation and mobility skills.
Our volunteer support staff provides tutoring on iPhones, Victor Reader Streams and braille. We also offer an opportunity to improve your keyboarding skills at our Tuesday morning and all day Wednesday keyboarding class.
Our services are provided on an individual basis by appointment. This allows us to concentrate on the specific training you require to improve your quality of life. To request any training or tutoring, please call our office at 312-236-8569 or email Kathy Austin for more information.
Our staff members are often out in the community working with our clients in their homes and neighborhoods and are not always in the office. Our staff use “Google Voice phone numbers” for Second Sense business and sometimes their phone number may come up as potential spam. To make sure you don’t miss a call from your staff member, please put their Google number, which they can provide, into your contacts app on your phone. This way, our staff member’s name will show up instead of potential spam. We have also received reports that calls from our office are coming up as spam as well. We use a VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) broad band Internet connection at our office and have been doing so for several years. If you see a number that begins with area code 312, prefix 582, and first two digits of 29, this could be a call coming from one of the direct phone lines at our office. Please note we will always leave a voicemail to let you know a Second Sense staff person is calling. We can also send you a text message from the Google numbers if you prefer to communicate this way.
We have consulted with our contact at the Chicago Department of Public Health regarding our vaccination and mask policy. Our new policy is as follows:
We request that our clients be fully vaccinated, however, if for medical or religious reasons this is not possible, the client must wear an N95 or KN95 mask for in-person services. These masks can be provided by our staff for home visits and are available at our office.
For those who are vaccinated, wearing masks for in-person services is optional.
If you are not feeling well for an in-person visit with our staff, we ask you to please provide as much notice as possible, preferably 24 hours at minimum, to cancel your appointment.
Thanks so much for helping to keep our clients, staff and volunteers healthy!
Second Sense will be closed on Monday, July 3 and Tuesday, July 4 for the Independence Day holiday. Please celebrate safely!
When you are not able to see your environment, having someone describe it to you is helpful, but sometimes important parts may not be mentioned to you. The concept of scale is how we understand, measure, describe and experience an environment. Understanding the concept of scale helps you better appreciate and experience your environment. In our third advanced orientation and mobility workshop, you’ll work with certified orientation and mobility specialists, Mandi Hetzel and Siobhan Midgley, to build your understanding of scale with a tour of Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. This tour of the ball park gives you hands-on information about many aspects of the park including the seating bowl and bleachers, press box, visitor’s clubhouse and dugout and an opportunity to touch the iconic ivy covered outfield wall. We meet at Wrigleyville Dogs, 3737 N. Clark Street at 1:00 pm on Saturday, July 29 for lunch. From there, we’ll walk to Wrigley Field for our 2:00 pm tour lasting 75-90 minutes. Lunch and tour costs are provided by Second Sense. Space is limited and registration is required. To register and for more details, email Kathy Austin or call 312-236-8569.
Summer is a great time to visit the zoo! Not only is it an opportunity for interesting learning experiences, but you can get in that much needed exercise, too! Who knows best what’s happening at Lincoln Park zoo? Accessibility and inclusion manager, Bill Green. Bill joins us for the first time since the pandemic to tell us about new exhibits and features at Lincoln Park Zoo. Learn about special events and daily activities at the zoo, along with the accessibility information you need for a fun and enjoyable visit. Join us on the conference line, 312-809-1004 on Thursday, July 20 at 10:30 am. For questions, email Kathy Austin.
Asking for help is hard. You don’t want to burden anyone. You may feel ashamed, embarrassed or have any number of other uncomfortable feelings. However, your feelings may be misguided. At our July RP Meet Up, we’ll be discussing scientific research on why asking for help may be more beneficial for the giver than the receiver. Our RP Meet Up is for individuals, family and friends affected by retinitis pigmentosa and related inherited retinal diseases. We meet on the conference line, 312-809-1004, on Tuesday, July 11 at 7:00 pm CT. For questions, email Kathy Austin.
Our Apple Exchange discussion is taking a summer break, but we’ll be back on the first Thursday in August to discuss Siri Shortuts! Don’t forget – if you have a question about any assistive tech, our Tech Exchange list serve is a great place to ask questions and even share what you know with others. To sign up, send an email to Kathy Austin and we’ll subscribe you to the list.
It’s summer in Chicago and what a great way to experience the city and get some great outdoor exercise by cycling with Dare2Tri! Every Monday and Wednesday from 10:30 am to 1:00 pm, join Dare2Tri coaches and volunteers to tandem bike! No need for your own bike as Dare2Tri provides the bike. You’ll meet at Wilson Skate Park parking lot, 600 W. Wilson on the lakefront – look for the Dare2Tri trailer at the Lake Shore Drive exit. This is a free event and all levels are welcome! Sign up on the Dare2Tri event page.
If you love the outdoors, do lots of hiking or are just hard on your white cane, check out the All-Terrain Cane by Awarewolf Gear. This heavy-duty cane is constructed of titanium alloy. It’s lightweight, but strong enough to give you the support and stability of a reinforced mobility cane. The All-Terrain Cane is the traditional white with red and has reflective coating, a 16” golf and polar grip and high performance roller ball tip. To find all the specifications, visit the Awarewolf Gear website. Please note, this cane is on back order with expected shipment in late June.
Did you know the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB) has a podcast? You can learn about the latest research on inherited retinal conditions with leading scientists searching for cures. Ben Shaberman, vice president, science communications, covers a variety of topics including genetic testing, stem cell therapies and personal stories from those affected. Check out all the episodes on the Eye on the Cure website.
Harold Washington Library is hosting an in-person presentation by the RTA on accessible public transportation on Tuesday, July 11 at 1:00 pm. You’ll learn about trip planning, Reduced Fare and Free Ride programs, paratransit and Taxi Access Programs (TAP). If you would like to sign up for RTA services, you can do so by bringing in an I.D. and proof of disability (if applicable). For those wishing to sign up for the Free Ride program, please register first with the Illinois Department of Aging’s Benefits Access Program. You can apply for the Benefits Access program on line or by calling 800-252- 8966 with your Social Security Number ready. Help is available at the presentation for completing RTA applications. Register for this program at Harold Washington Library online, by phone (312-747-4001) or at any Chicago Public Library locations. The library is located at 401 S. State St, (presentation on lower level multi-purpose room).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in four individuals with vision loss will also experience depression or anxiety. The risk for adverse mental health issues is five times greater for young adults compared to those over age 65. In order to address the impact of vision loss on mental health, Prevent Blindness is devoting the second day of their 2023 Prevent Blindness Focus on Eye Health Summit on July 13 with presentations and forums on mental health. You’ll learn about the steps Prevent Blindness is taking to identify opportunities for improvements in public health policies and advocacy for vision rehabilitation, resources and training for providers. Register for this free virtual summit on the Prevent Blindness event webpage.
Guide Dog Day at Steppenwolf!
Enjoy an audio-described performance of Another Marriage at Steppenwolf! Meet, marry, have kids – that’s the way it goes. But what if that’s not the way it goes? This is an intimate story of an ever-evolving relationship that may never be finished and explores the liability of falling in and out of love.
For the first time, Steppenwolf is proud to support Guide Dogs for the Blind, a nonprofit organization providing highly qualified guide dogs to people with vision loss throughout the United States and Canada. Learn how to approach a guide dog team and meet these amazing dogs and their handlers!
Guide Dog Day and the audio-described performance of Another Marriage is Sunday, July 16
Please note, there is a content advisory for this production. You can find the details on the webpage for Another Marriage.
The Who’s Tommy at the Goodman
This new production of Peter Townshend’s 1969 rock concept album is a fresh reinvention of Tommy. After witnessing his father shoot his rival, young Tommy is lost endlessly staring into a mirror. His extraordinary talent for playing pinball takes him from quiet adolescent to pinball celebrity hero. You’ll hear those unforgettable songs – I’m Free, See Me, Feel Me and of course, Pinball Wizard! Audio-described performance and touch tour is Saturday, July 15, 12:30 pm tour, 2:00 pm curtain. Discounted tickets are $30 when using code “audio” when purchasing online or call the box office at 312-443-3800. Please note, this performance contains a content advisory and is recommended for those over 16 years of age.
Tuesday, July 11
RTA and Accessible Public Transportation at Harold Washington Library
Tuesday, July 11
RP Meet Up
Saturday, July 15
12:30 pm touch tour; 2:00 pm curtain
The Who’s Tommy at the Goodman
Sunday, July 16
12:30 pm touch tour; 2:00 pm curtain
Guide Dog Day and Another Marriage at Steppenwolf
Thursday, July 20
What’s New at the Zoo?
Saturday, July 29
Advanced Orientation and Mobility Workshop: Understanding the Concept of Scale and Tour of Wrigley Field