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Second Sense - Beyond Vision Loss

Making Sense Newsletter

Making Sense — April 2024

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

CONTENTS

April at Second Sense
Advanced Orientation and Mobility: Strategies to Keep You Safe
Administering Eye Drops Safely and Effectively
Introduction to Guide Dogs, Part 3: Guide Dog Schools
Advanced Orientation and Mobility: Navigating Public Transit, Part 2: Metra
Expand Your Horizons with Adaptive Adventures
Apple Exchange: The Rotor
RP Meet Up
It’s Scholarship Time
New Feature in BeMyEyes
New “Understanding and Living with Glaucoma” Audio Book
Appliance Access Kit
Calendar of Events

April at Second Sense

April at Second Sense means Passionate Focus! We are celebrating amazingly talented artists with vision loss, our clients and donors at this annual art exhibit and benefit. Almost 100 pieces of art were submitted this year from across the country, Canada and France. The jury of arts professionals selected 42 pieces for the exhibit. This benefit helps Second Sense continue to provide free programs, services and training to all of our clients. We hope you will take a moment to check out the art and read about the inspirations behind the work of these talented artists. Our benefit takes place on Thursday, April 25 at 6:00 pm at the Fairmount Hotel in Chicago.

April is another busy month filled with workshops and training you can participate in. While this newsletter is sent out just prior to the upcoming month, we know it can get lost in your email in-box.  You can get reminders about programs by signing up for our Tech Exchange, Vision Exchange or RP email listservs. We also post notes about our upcoming workshops on our Facebook page, so make sure to follow us for these important updates! Remember, too, that we record many of our workshops, so don’t hesitate to email or call if you would like to receive a recording of a program you missed.  If you have any questions regarding any workshop, please call our office at 312-236-8569 or email Kathy Austin. We are checking our general voice mail box frequently, so feel free to leave a message there as well.

A note about wait times – we have received many calls from new clients as of late. This has increased the wait time for you to receive a home visit or services at the office. Our program staff of four individuals, independent contractors and volunteer tutors are doing their best to see as many clients as possible without sacrificing the quality of the training. Please bear with us as we work hard to provide the training you need.

If you do have an appointment to meet with one of our staff members or volunteers, we ask for your cooperation in keeping that time. We do realize life happens and cancellations cannot always be avoided. Keeping appointments keeps us on track to see as many individuals as possible, and in the end, shortens wait times for all. We ask for a minimum 24 hour notice if a cancellation is necessary.

Thanks for your patience and cooperation!

Advanced Orientation and Mobility: Strategies to Keep You Safe

Effective Communication and Physical Disentanglement. This April, Torriente Toliver, from Mind Body Defense, is back with us at Second Sense for parts two and three of our strategies for safe travel workshops.  On Tuesday, April 16, Torriente addresses effective communication skills. Knowing what to say, and how to say it, can be the difference between a good encounter and a bad one. You’ll learn three scripts you can use in almost any situation. On Tuesday, April 30, Torriente shows us three physical skills to prevent unwanted assistance and aggressive threats. You’ll practice resisting pushes and pulls and escaping holds. Please note, this third session is in-person only and will include some physical activity and movement. Both workshops begin at 1:00 pm. The session on communication can be attended via our conference line by calling 312-809-1004.

Administering Eye Drops Safely and Effectively

If your eye doctor has prescribed eye drops for glaucoma or another eye condition, you’ll want to be sure you strictly follow his instructions to prevent further vision loss. Eye drops can be challenging to administer, but there are tips and devices that can help. On Tuesday, April 9 at 1:00 pm, Cody Froeter, CVRT, will share information on the different types of drops and containers, tactile methods of accurate dosage and tools that can be used to make it easier to administer the drops. To get the most from this workshop, attend in person, however, you are welcome to join via conference call at 312-809-1004.

Introduction to Guide Dogs, Part 3: Guide Dog Schools

If you have attended our first two sessions of our guide dog workshops, you are now familiar with the responsibilities, eligibility and application process of becoming a guide dog handler. In our next sessions, we are welcoming representatives from 5 of the 13 accredited guide dog schools. Each school representative discusses their individual program requirements, class structure and any other benefits or unique qualities such as the breed of dogs offered. On Friday, April 12 at 1:00 pm, Pam Berman, outreach coordinator from Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) in San Rafael, California, shares information on GDB’s O&M Immersion program and the veterinary reimbursement benefit. This is a hybrid presentation so you are welcome to join us in person or via our conference call line at 312-809-1004.

Advanced Orientation and Mobility: Navigating Public Transit, Part 2: Metra

We are fortunate in Chicago that public transit options can get you to almost any destination throughout the city. But you can also travel to many of Chicago’s suburbs on the Metra train system. As a part of our Advanced Orientation and Mobility series, our next outing shows you how to use the Metra train system. On Saturday, April 20, we’ll take a Metra Electric train to a stop in Hyde Park. Metra has made several changes to their operating systems which will be discussed at this workshop. This outing includes a group discussion and information session, walk to and from Millennium Station, train ride to and from Hyde Park on Metra Electric and lunch at Pizza Capri, 1501 E. 53rd Street. Individuals who have completed a basic O&M training program including skills for street crossings and problem solving are eligible to participate. Second Sense covers the cost of Metra tickets and lunch. Our outing begins at Second Sense at 10:30 am and ends by 3:00 pm. Space is limited and registration is required. For questions and to register, call 312-236-8569 or email Kathy Austin.

Expand Your Horizons with Adaptive Adventures

Take a step out of your comfort zone with Adaptive Adventures!  Adaptive sports have so many benefits – an opportunity to meet new people, improve your fitness and increase your confidence. To help you expand your horizons, we welcome Jason Stubbeman, program director, to share the recreational sport activities offered by Adaptive Adventures. With 180 partners in 40 states, there are many options to choose from including cycling, kayaking, dragon boat racing, both snow and water skiing and lots more!  Join us on Monday, April 22 at 1:00 pm to meet Jason and learn about these fun and exciting adaptive sport activities. Meet us on the conference line by calling 312-809-1004.

Apple Exchange: The Rotor

What’s the rotor? If you do know, you probably have trouble using it.  However, the rotor can be a super tool for navigating and locating words, characters and links, among other things on your iPhone. Yes, using the Rotor gesture is a bit tricky, but you’ll learn some tips for getting it to work for you at our April Apple Exchange. Join Richard Stauder on Thursday, April 4 at 1:00 pm when he’ll address your questions. Meet on the conference line by calling 312-809-1004.

RP Meet Up

At our Tuesday, April 9 RP Meet Up, we welcome Steve Sroka from the Foundation Fighting Blindness, to share important information about the Visions Conference being held June 21 and 22 in Chicago. This national conference features information on the latest scientific research, technology and resources as well as providing connections to the blind and visually impaired community. Individuals and families affected by RP, Usher Syndrome, Stargardt disease, Leber Congenital Amaurosis, age-related macular degeneration and other eye diseases causing progressive vision loss are welcome to attend. Steve will join us at 7:00 pm to share information about conference logistics and answer any of your questions. To participate call our conference line, 312-809-1004.

It’s Scholarship Time

The National Federation of the Blind of Illinois is offering scholarships for high school and college students. Scholarships are awarded to legally blind, full-time students enrolled in an accredited two- or four-year, or graduate college program. Students must demonstrate academic excellence and service to the community. Application deadline is April 30. To learn more and to apply, visit the NFB of Illinois scholarship page.

The Chicago Lighthouse’ Lader Family Scholarship awards college scholarships to Illinois students with visual impairments. Funds can be used for defraying the cost of tuition, on-campus living expenses, textbooks and assistive technology. Scholarships are awarded based on need, area of study and strength of application. Deadline for applications is April 29. To learn more, visit the Lighthouse’s scholarship page.

New Feature in BeMyEyes

Many of you may be familiar with the Specialized Help section in the BeMyEyes app. This feature has been enhanced, making it super easy to call companies to get the support you may need! The enhanced feature, now called Service Directory, can connect you to over 600 companies in a wide range of categories including assistive technology, blindness organizations, online shopping, banking and many more. No more looking online to, hopefully, find the correct number to call to get the help you need! Need help with your JAWS software? Select Freedom Scientific from the Assistive Technology section and double tap the “Call Freedom Scientific” button. You’ll be connected with someone who can assist you. More companies are being added, so if you have a company you would like to see included in the directory, let BeMyEyes know and they’ll do their best to include them. To learn more, visit the BeMyEyes official announcement.

New “Understanding and Living with Glaucoma” Audio Book

The Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF) has partnered with the Braille Institute of America to produce GRF’s 48 page educational booklet, Understanding and Living with Glaucoma, in an audio format. This important guide is edited by glaucoma specialists and recommended by eye doctors as an easy-to-understand introduction to glaucoma. The audio book will help those with low vision educate themselves about symptoms, types, diagnostic exams and questions to ask your eye doctor. This audio book is free to download, listen to online or share. The book is narrated by Orange County actress Bianca Beach, who also lives with glaucoma. To access the guide, visit the Glaucoma Guide for Patients and Families.

Appliance Access Kit

Appliances with dials and buttons are getting more difficult to find. In their place are flat screens that don’t talk to you. Even if there are buttons and dials, it’s difficult to select the operation you want to perform. General Electric (GE) recognized this accessibility challenge for people with vision loss and created an Appliance Access Kit. The kit contains over 400 tactile and braille stickers so you can correctly identify your most common settings. The best news about GE’s Access Kit is that you don’t have to have a GE appliance to use them.  The transparent stickers can be used on any standard appliance such as washers, dryers, ovens, dishwashers, microwaves and toasters. The kit contains different types of labels including braille, high contrast, buttons and more. The kit is available from GE for only $20. Read this review about GE’s Appliance Access Kit and to purchase, visit the GE Appliance Parts Store.

Calendar of Events

Thursday, April 4
1:00 pm
Apple Exchange: The Rotor

Tuesday, April 9
1:00 pm
Administering Eye Drops Safely and Effectively

Tuesday, April 9
7:00 pm
RP Meet Up

Friday, April 12
1:00 pm
Introduction to Guide Dogs, Part 3: Guide Dogs for the Blind

Tuesday, April 16
1:00 pm
Verbal De-escalation with Mind Body Defense

Saturday, April 20
10:30 am
Advanced Orientation and Mobility: Riding Metra

Monday, April 22
1:00 pm
Adaptive Adventures

Thursday, April 25
6:00 pm
Passionate Focus Art Exhibit and Reception

Monday, April 29
Application deadline for Chicago Lighthouse Scholarship

Tuesday, April 30
1:00 pm
Physical Disentanglement with Mind Body Defense

Tuesday, April 30
Application deadline for NFB of Illinois scholarship