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Making Sense: July 2021

Making Sense is made possible in part by donations from our readers.

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

CONTENTS

Second Sense Reopening Plans
Are You in Need of a Computer?
What is Echolocation?
Let’s Go for a Run
Traveling on the RTA
A New Diagnosis of Macular Degeneration?
Preparing Youth for Employment
OrCam Day in Wilmette
Latest Technology News
Our Blogs
Calendar of Events

Second Sense Reopening Plans

Good news!  We have plans for a phased reopening effective August 3.  To ensure the health and safety of all of our clients, volunteers and staff, we are taking the following precautions to reduce the spread of COVID19:

  • Our staff can provide in-person instruction and training at our office, by appointment, to those individuals who have been fully vaccinated.
  • Proof of vaccination is required. If you do not have a vaccination card, please check with a staff member for further guidance.
  • The number of staff and clients will be limited to ensure social distancing.
  • Masks can be worn at your comfort level, but are not required.
  • If you have not been vaccinated, we can provide services remotely as we have been doing throughout the pandemic.
  • Products can be purchased and picked up at our office, by appointment only. Please contact Brian via phone or email to order your items and to arrange an appointment time.

As you can understand, we have some longer wait times for some, but not all, services.  Expect longer wait times for orientation and mobility instruction.  For daily living skills and technology training, wait times are shorter with little or no wait time. Please be patient with us as we work to provide the training for those who have been waiting the longest.

Are You in Need of a Computer?

Having access to a computer can open many doors for someone with vision loss.  You can use a computer to manage your personal affairs independently, communicate with others and increase your employment options.  Purchasing a new computer, with the added expense of the assistive software you need to use it, can be out of reach for many.  Computers for the Blind, based in Texas, has been refurbishing laptop and desktop computers since 1995.  These low-cost computers come with screen-reading and magnification software programs.  On Wednesday, July 14 at 10:30 am, we welcome Jennifer Keen, director of operations for Computers for the Blind, to discuss Affordable Computers with the Assistive Software You Need.  Jennifer will share a little history about the organization and provide an overview of the types of equipment, cost and software that comes in their packages.  To join this important presentation, call our conference line at 312-809-1004.  For questions, email Kathy Austin.

What is Echolocation?

Echolocation is a technique used by bats, whales and other animals to paint a picture of their surroundings.  The strategy helps these animals hunt for prey and navigate through their difficult environments like deep ocean waters and dark nighttime skies.  What you may not know is that humans can use echolocation, too.  Join us on Thursday, July 22 at 10:30 am as Siobhan Midgley, CVRT, COMS, provides an overview of the benefits of human echolocation.  She’ll tell us about current research as it relates to orientation and mobility for people with vision loss and its practical uses in this field.  To join this interesting discussion, call our conference line at 312-809-1004.  For questions, email Siobhan Midgley.

Let’s Go for a Run

Running is a great way to get in shape. And, you’ll find the running community welcoming and encouraging. So don’t miss this opportunity to learn about Achilles International, a organization that provides guides for runners with a chapter here in Chicago. On Friday, July 9 at noon, Ashley, Chicago chapter director, shares the story of this organization and how you can participate in their events.  If you cannot make the presentation, you can meet up with Achilles Chicago on July 10, August 14 and September 18 from 9:00 to 11:00 am  Meet at the Montrose Lakefront Track, which is ½ block from the CTA Red Line Wilson stop. You can have your choice of a track workout with hill conditioning or a run on the Lakefront Trail. Afterwards, get in a guided stretch, mingle with other athletes, take some photos and listen to music. Snacks are included!  For more information, contact Ashley via email.

Traveling on the RTA

The Regional Transportation Authority of Chicago (RTA) makes it easy to ride public transit in and around Chicago.  Metra trains, CTA buses and trains and paratransit options are all accessible and provide an inexpensive way to get you where you need to go.  On Tuesday, July 20 at 10:30 am, we welcome Candace Jones from the RTA to tell us about the wide variety of RTA’s programs.  You’ll learn about their free travel training program, reduced and ride free programs, trip planning and much more!  To join us for this informative workshop, call our conference line at 312-809-1004.  For questions, email Kathy Austin.

A New Diagnosis of Macular Degeneration?

Getting the news you have an eye condition possibly causing permanent vision loss is frightening.  Unsure of what to ask your doctor about the prognosis and what to do to save your vision are top of mind.  The National Eye Institute has created an online, downloadable booklet “Talk with Your Doctor about AMD.”  The guide can help you better understand your condition and provides a number of questions to ask your eye doctor at your visit.  A series of questions you can ask yourself between eye exams will also help you keep track of any vision changes so you can discuss them with your eye doctor.  And, of course, if you need help with adapting to vision loss, Second Sense’s vision rehabilitation team is here to assist you. Download the booklet from the national Eye Institute to learn more.

Preparing Youth for Employment

Did you know that youth with vision loss are more likely to attend post-secondary education compared with youth in the general population, but are less likely to be employed as young adults?  Many factors may be at play, including employer bias, but one important factor is the youth’s preparation for employment.  The National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision (NRTC), based at Mississippi State University, has developed the 4 to 24 app for parents and youth to help improve employment outcomes for this population.  This service is also available by creating an account on their website. The customizable app sends age appropriate push notifications on a variety of topics such as travel, social and independent living skills.  The app will suggest activities that go along with the topic such as managing money as an independent living skill, and provides links to additional resources.  4 to 24 was created by the NRTC with input from users through focus groups, usability and field testing and designed to complement other services the youth receives.  The app is free and is appropriate for parents with children and youth ages four to 24.  To learn more and to register, visit www.4to24.org.

OrCam Day in Wilmette

OrCam MyEye is an advanced AI wearable technology for people with vision loss.  The product helps you read printed text, identify colors, and even can recognize the faces of friends and family.  On Wednesday, July 21 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, OrCam Day takes place at the Michigan Shores Club, 911 Michigan Ave., Wilmette, IL.  You can receive a personal demonstration of OrCam MyEye with Woodlake Technologies.  Drop by or call Woodlake to schedule an appointment time.  If you purchase an OrCam MyEye and mention you heard about it from Second Sense, we’ll receive a donation that supports our programs.  For more information, contact Ralph Samek at 312-733-9800 or visit www.woodlaketechnologies.com.

Latest Technology News

Here’s a great resource for learning about technology for people with vision loss!  Subscribe to the Top Tech Tidbits weekly newsletter.  From using Alexa for seniors to screen reading technology to the hottest braille notetakers, you’ll always discover the latest news and current trends in assistive technology.  Whether you are new to assistive technology or a veteran, you’ll always find at least one worthwhile tidbit!  To subscribe or to read online, visit www.toptechtidbits.com.

Our Blogs

Did you know we host two blogs on our Second Sense websiteSecond Opinions, authored by our Second Sense team and occasional guest bloggers, has practical advice for living with vision loss and great resources.  We write about technology that makes life easier, tips for improving your orientation and mobility skills, recreational activities you can enjoy and controversial topics that affect our quality of life.  Recent topics include how to choose the right white cane, gardening with vision loss, route planning and the latest updates to Apple’s iOS.  If you’re in the mood for some funny or some thought -provoking quick bits about living with vision loss, check out Jalapenos in the Oatmeal, penned by Jeff Flodin.  Jeff has been navigating through his loss of vision and shares his struggles and achievements.  Some posts will make you cry and some will have you laughing out loud.  We’d love to hear what you think of our work, so please share your thoughts in the comments section.

Calendar of Events: