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Making Sense: September 2020

Making Sense is made possible in part from donations by our readers. Second Sense thanks Horizons for the Blind for the braille transcriptions of Making Sense.

These articles are not an endorsement by Second Sense. Editor: Kathy Austin

CONTENTS

Still Treading Carefully
Meet Our New Interns
Resilience in the Time of the Coronavirus
Don’t Miss September’s Apple Exchange
RP Meet Up
New Second Sense Conference Call In Phone Number
Watch for the Census Enumerators
Talk Description to Me
New Ways to Get Help with Laundry
Casting Your Ballot this November

Please note: Screen reader users can use the quick key letter “H” to navigate article by article. You can also use your screen readers’ headings list keystroke for a list of article topics.

Still Treading Carefully

We continue to closely monitor the COVID19 statistics. We are offering support remotely by phone and beginning to roll out remote group workshops. our instructors are available by appointment only for one-on-one assistance. How services are provided – in-person, remote or in-home–will be determined on an individual basis between our instructors and clients. We have protocols in place – temperature checks, mask wearing at all times and social distancing for one-on-one appointments. To make an appointment with an instructor, please call our office. We hope these accommodations provide you with the support you need until we can get back to a full complement of services. Be safe!

Meet Our New Interns

We are excited to welcome two new interns from Northern Illinois University this fall! Siobhan (pronounced Shuh –VON) Midgley is working with Cody providing independent living skills training. Siobhan has a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience with a minor in French and will complete her master’s degree in special education specializing in vision rehabilitation therapy. Brad Blair is also receiving his master’s degree in special education with a specialization in orientation and mobility. Brad is the first totally blind person to complete NIU’s orientation and mobility program. He uses adaptive teaching methods to teach in ways that meet the client’s goals. Welcome Siobhan and Brad to Second Sense!

Resilience in the Time of the Coronavirus

Living during the time of the coronavirus has brought about feelings of isolation, grief and loss for many with vision loss. The things we used to look forward to are no longer happening. Getting through the day when the simple things in life are more difficult to accomplish are frustrating, to say the least. To help us sort through the many feelings our community is facing, we welcome Melissa Tausig, licensed counselor who works with individuals with vision loss. Melissa will guide us in an online discussion about resilience and how we can cope using strategies we have leaned on in the past. To join us for this discussion on Thursday, Sept. 17 from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm, call our new conference line, 312-809-1004, no pin required. To register, call 312-236-8569 or email Kathy Austin.

Don’t Miss September’s Apple Exchange

There’s always time for a good book! Using the Braille and Audio Reading Download site from the National Library Service on your iPhone is an easy way to select your books and read them with ease. Cody Froeter is leading this month’s Apple Exchange to talk about the latest update to the BARD app and can answer your questions on how to navigate through the app. Join us remotely on Thursday, Sept. 3 from 1:00 to 2:30 pm on our new conference call line, 312-809-1004, no pin required. Please register by calling 312-236-8569 or email Cody Froeter.

RP Meet Up

Join us on Tuesday evening, Sept. 8 at 7:00 pm to catch up with everyone during our RP Meet Up! Since many of us are not getting out as much as we used to, perhaps you’ve been reading more than usual. What was the best book you have read in the past several months? How about the worst? Bring your best book recommendations and those to avoid to our discussion. Call in on our new conference call number, 312-809-1004, no pin is required. To register, please call our office at 312-236-8569 or email Kathy Austin.

New Second Sense Conference Call In Phone Number

Since many of our group programs will be conducted remotely for the foreseeable future, we wanted to ensure that everyone can participate. Our old conference call in phone line could only accommodate a dozen or so individuals, so we have found a new line that can handle more callers. The new number is 312-809-1004. No pin or conference bridge is needed. You will be entered into the conference call as soon as our group leader is on the line. Please note, if you are calling from outside our calling area, long distance charges may apply. We hope this change enables everyone to connect without being dropped off the call or for intermittent audio.

Watch for the Census Enumerators

If your household hasn’t responded to the 2020 Census, you can expect a house call from a Census enumerator! In early August, Census enumerators began knocking on doors to make sure you are counted in the 2020 Census. If a Census enumerator knocks on your door, please welcome them – they live in your neighborhood and they are doing their best, in very trying circumstances, to make sure we have a 100% count of Illinoisans. At present, we are in grave danger of losing representation in Congress and financial support from the Federal government for the services you take advantage of or may need in the future. You can still respond to the Census online, by phone or by mail. The deadline for all counting to be complete is September 30, so time is running out for a complete count.

Talk Description to Me

When the world experiences a tragedy or some epic event, the images on television are lost when you have vision loss. Talk Description To Me, a new podcast, presents the visuals of current and cultural events in a richly described format. Weaving storytelling and audio description together, an experience audio describer and a curious member of the visually impaired community, discuss important events, topical issues and culture in a vivid and in depth conversation. Some recent subjects include Jazz Hands 101, the Beirut explosion and the Portland protests. You can listen to episodes by downloading from the Talk Description to Me website, subscribing on Apple, Google or Spotify podcast apps, or asking Alexa to play it on your Amazon smart speaker.

New Ways to Get Help with Laundry

There are lots of stumbling blocks when it comes to doing laundry. Finding a stain on the shirt that needs stain remover, locating the care instructions and operating the washing machine are just a few things that get in the way. Now, two options are available to help. BeMyEyes has collaborated with Proctor and Gamble’s products like Tide, Gain and Downey in their specialized help section of the app. No matter the laundry problem, a representative from these companies are on hand to walk you through the problem. Just tap on specialized help in the BeMyEyes app, then on home and cleaning to access the service. Another app, Laundry Lens gives you the care instructions for your garment. By pointing your camera at the care label, you’ll find a list of the correct instructions for your clothing. Laundry Lens app is now accessible with VoiceOver.

Casting Your Ballot this November

For many people with vision loss, voting in the general election this November will present many issues. Accessible ballots, changing polling places and COVID19 risk factors will play a role in how, when and even if you can cast a ballot. If you choose to vote by mail, an accessible ballot may not be available, so having a trusted person mark your paper ballot may be your only course of action. Make sure to request your ballot early. Illinois has mailed ballot request applications to all registered voters. The application must be completed and sent back to the board of elections in order to receive your actual ballot. Make sure to allow enough time for the mail to deliver your ballot and for it to be returned to the board of elections. You have the option of returning your ballot by mail, dropping it off in a ballot box receptacle or delivering it to your polling place on Election Day. If you choose early voting, check with your board of elections to find the correct polling place as this location may not be the same as your normal polling place. On Election Day, expect long lines and wait times. Wearing a mask and practicing social distancing will help to avoid spreading of the virus. And, don’t forget your hand sanitizer. As all states run their own elections, rules will differ by state. Good places to check for accurate information include the following:

Find Your State Board of Elections

Comprehensive guide for all election information including voting rights, registration, deadlines and factual information on candidates from the League of Women Voters

Registration information, polling places and essential voting information

Watch our Second Opinions blog on the Second Sense website for more information as it becomes available.