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Making Sense: April 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

COVID19 Vaccination News
Is There Something We Can Help You With?
Seeing Blind: Charles Bonnet Syndrome
Your Rights and Responsibilities as a Guide Dog Handler
Taking Care of Your Health
Getting Started with Gardening
Apple Exchange: What’s a Home Pod?
RP Meet Up
Mindful Eating Group
Remote Program Recordings
Vaccination Survey
Disclosing Your Disability in the Workplace
BARD and Your iOS Device
calendar

COVID19 Vaccination News

Many of you have probably experienced frustration in finding and scheduling appointments for getting your COVID19 vaccination.  Website accessibility is inconsistent throughout the country and appointment slots fill up faster than you can input your information.  Help is available through these options:

For Chicago homebound seniors and people with disabilities:
A pilot program through the City of Chicago provides in-home vaccinations administered by Chicago Fire Department paramedics to those who are unable to travel to a vaccination site.  To be eligible, you must:

  • Be a senior OR a person with a disability who requires in-home assistance.
  • OR Use adaptive equipment (like a ventilator, crutches, a walker, a wheelchair, etc.) and/or accessible transportation to leave home.
  • AND Leaving home is not an option for you because doing so requires considerable and taxing effort.

To sign up, complete this on-line survey.  If you need help completing the survey, you are asked to ask a family member or friend for assistance.  You can also email coronavirus@chicago.gov or call Chicago’s Coronavirus help line at 312-746-4835.

For those who can travel to a vaccination site:
In Illinois you can call 833-621-1284 to locate a vaccination site and schedule an appointment.  Over 500 call center operators are available to take your call.

Aira can also help with vaccination associated tasks.  Aira is offering 30 minutes free to help you with the following:

  • researching eligibility and locations of vaccination sites
  • assisting with registering and scheduling appointments with TeamViewer on your computer or smart phone
  • navigating through the vaccination site

Is There Something We Can Help You With?

Even though our office is closed for in-person visits, our staff is still providing training and assistance. We offer outdoor training and remote training until gathering indoors is safe again.  Whether you need help with a computer issue, learning to use VoiceOver or Zoom on your iPhone or just need to troubleshoot some frustrating problem, our staff has the means to provide support.  With the use of programs like TeamViewer and JAWS Tandem, we can log on to your computer or phone with you to walk you through the issue.  If you have questions about issues not related to technology, we can help with that too!  Our certified vision rehabilitation therapists, Cody and Siobhan, can use Facetime to see what the problem is and share ways to solve it.  And our mobility instructors, Eleni and Siobhan, are offering training outdoors. Don’t forget about our remote programs offered throughout the month with easy access by dialing our conference call line at 312-809-1004.  Our staff is anxious to get back to providing more in-person individual training and support, but in the meantime, don’t hesitate to call if there is anything we can help with.  Call our regular office number, 312-236-8569 and Brian will get you to the staff member best suited to your request.

Seeing Blind: Charles Bonnet Syndrome

Many individuals with vision loss can experience vivid and scary hallucinations.  Often these people are reluctant to mention the experience for fear others may think they have a mental health or dementia issue.  This phenomenon, called Charles Bonnet Syndrome, has been more common during the pandemic.  Join Siobhan Midgley, CVRT, COMS, TVI on Friday, April 9 at 10:30 am as she shares important information about Charles Bonnet and the resources you may need if this has happened to you.  To participate, call our conference line at 312-809-1004.  For questions, email Siobhan Midgley.

Your Rights and Responsibilities as a Guide Dog Handler

Many people make the choice to use a guide dog as their mobility tool.  As a guide dog team, you may encounter issues regarding access to places you want to go and transportation you need to use.  A guide dog handler also has responsibilities that must be maintained to give you the access you need.  At our Guide Dog Access workshop, Brad Blair, Second Sense’s orientation and mobility intern and a guide dog handler, shares important information about several key issues, These include the laws that protect your access and ways to find resolutions when access is denied.  For a current guide dog team, our workshop will refresh your knowledge and give you advocacy tools to address access issues.  For the person considering a guide dog, you’ll learn about the realities when it comes to access with a guide dog.  To join the workshop on April 13 at 4:00 pm, call the conference line at 312-809-1004.  For questions, email Eleni Gaves.

Taking Care of Your Health

There are so many health products on the market today, but are you able to use them with vision loss?  Combing through all the products on Amazon, or even at your local drug store, is futile if you find they are not accessible.  Join Brian Hollandsworth from our Second Sense Product Center as we welcome Tomasina Perry, vice president of sales at LS&S Products on Thursday, April 15 at 2:00 pm for the Taking Care of Your Health workshop.  Tomasina will highlight a wide range of easy-to-use, low and high tech products that are accessible for you.  Cody Froeter and Siobhan Midgley are also on hand to answer questions and find work arounds for specific problems.  Participants who attend can be entered into a drawing to win a free talking forehead thermometer courtesy of LS&S Products!  To join the workshop, call the conference line at 312-809-1004.  For questions, email Brian Hollandsworth.

Getting Started with Gardening

A great way to shake off the winter blues is to get outside and soak up some of that spring sunshine!  No matter your abilities or where you live, spring is a great time to plant a little something green.  At our Do You Have the Gardening Itch? workshop, Kathy Austin shares ways you can get involved with gardening.  Whether it is a container of herbs on the window sill or turning lawn over for a new perennial or vegetable bed, she’ll answer your questions and provide accessible tips and resources to help you all through the growing season.  Join us on Thursday, April 22 at 1:00 pm via our conference line at 312-809-1004.  For questions, email Kathy Austin.

Apple Exchange: What’s a Home Pod?

Siri isn’t just on your iPhone, iPad or Watch!  The HomePod is Apple’s smart speaker.  At our April Apple Exchange, Cody Froeter, who recently purchased his own HomePod, shares his experience setting up the HomePod, playing music and using the personal assistant.  He’ll discuss Apple music and sound quality, and how the HomePod stacks up against Alexa.  To join Cody, at 1:00 pm on Thursday, April 1, call our conference line at 312-809-1004.  For questions, email Cody Froeter.

RP Meet Up

When you are diagnosed with RP, you usually have some time to adjust to the reality of eventual vision loss.  This month our discussion centers on thoughts about things you’d like to do, did, or wished you would have done before vision fades.  Our next RP Meet up is Tuesday, April 13 at 7:00 pm.  To join the conversation, call the conference line at 312-809-1004.  For questions, email Kathy Austin.

Mindful Eating Group

The pandemic has given us all pause to think about the important things in life. Our Mindful Eating group provides support and encouragement so we can emerge from our quarantine healthier and happier. The discussion centers not only on healthier food choices and cooking methods, but on how the food we eat impacts our health in general.  Discussion also revolves around health issues, exercise and recreational activities.  The Mindful Eating group meets every Friday morning from 9:00 to 9:45 am.  To join the conversation, call the conference line at 312-809-1004.  For questions, email Kathy Austin.

Remote Program Recordings

Did you miss one of our remote workshops?  If so, you can email us to request a link of the recording.  The link easily plays on your computer or on your iPhone with a simple tap.  To request a link to a workshop recording, email Kathy Austin.

Vaccination Survey

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) is interested in learning about your experience accessing testing and vaccines.  NFB wants to ensure that anyone with vision loss is able to independently access these critical services.  You can share your story by completing this 10 to 15 minute survey.

Disclosing Your Disability in the Workplace

We often get questions about when to disclose vision loss to a perspective employer.  The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) has an informative multimedia training program you can access online to help you navigate this uncertain situation.  You’ll learn about ways to explain gaps in employment, illegal medical questions and ADA rules that apply in the employment process.  Visit JAN’s Multimedia Training Microsite for this module and others relating to the workplace for people with disabilities.

BARD and Your iOS Device

The Library of Congress has notified users of the Braille and Audio Reading Download service, that they can no longer support Apple devices such as iPhones, iPads and  iPod Touches running iOS 11 or earlier. BARD realizes this may be a hardship for some and recommends these possible solutions:

  • BARD can run on the Android platform with Fire tablets or Kindle Fire.
  • books can be downloaded on your computer with BARD Express and transferred to a flash drive or cartridge that can be played on NLS’s Talking Book player
  • Your regional library can mail cartridges to you via the post office.

Find your regional library or in Illinois, call 800-426-0709.

Calendar

Thursday, April 1 at 1:00 pm
Apple Exchange – Apple’s HomePod

Every Friday  at 9:00 – 9:45 am
Mindful Eating

Friday, April 9 at 10:30 – 11:30
Seeing Blind: Charles Bonnet Syndrome

Tuesday, April 13 at 4:00 – 5:00 pm
Guide Dog Access

Tuesday, April 13 at 7:00 – 8:30 pm
RP Meet Up

Thursday, April 15 at 2:00 – 3:00 pm
Taking Care of Your Health

Thursday, April 22 at 1:00 – 2:00 pm
Do You Have the Gardening Itch?