MAKING SENSE: August 2017

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

New Diagnosis of Vision Loss?
NVDA, The Other Screen Reader
Back-to-School Gear
1Touch™ Saturdays
Mobile Device Training in St. Charles
TV and Video at Apple Exchange
RP Meet Up
September Technology Preview
BSA Guide Dog Meeting
Internet Essentials
Online Book Club
ACB and CPD Picnic
New Microsoft App Does It All
Low Vision and Mental Health

New Diagnosis of Vision Loss?

As with any health diagnosis, the road to getting back on track may not be clear.  There are new terms to learn and services to uncover.  Knowing where to turn and what is available can provide comfort and peace of mind.  Second Sense has designed a special workshop series to address this critical need.  Learning to Live with Vision Loss, coming this September, provides a safe place to talk about the uncertainties that lay ahead.  Our certified vision rehabilitation professionals share their knowledge about what you need to know to live successfully with vision loss.  If your vision is in transition or you know someone who is newly diagnosed, we welcome you, your family and friends to attend this informative four-part series.  We meet on Wednesdays, Sept. 6, 13, 20 and 27 from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm.  To register, call our front desk or email Polly Abbott.

NVDA, The Other Screen Reader

NVDA, or NonVisual Desktop Access, is a screen reader growing in popularity and usage.  NVDA is open source, meaning software developers collaborate to add features.  NVDA is free, offering a cost-effective alternative to other screen readers.  To help you learn to use NVDA, Second Sense is offering a class on Thursday, Aug. 10 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm.  This course is packed with everything you need to know about using NVDA either as your primary screen reader or as a second option.  You’ll learn how to create a portable copy of the software, how to navigate Windows and other applications, and how to change settings for your preferences.  To register for this class, call our front desk or email David Flament.

Back-to-School Gear

Does your child need a padlock for a locker at school?  Just arrived in our Product Center is the Master Lock Directional padlock.  This heavy duty padlock is the first combination padlock using up, down, right and left directional movements to open.  The combination can be reset for any number of movements in any sequence.  To order your padlock, call Brian Hollandsworth at 312-236-8569 or email Brian Hollandsworth.

1Touch™ Saturdays

Interested in taking our 1Touch Self-Defense course but can’t make it on a week day?  Or maybe you are a past participant of our 1Touch class and looking for more practice time?  Whether you are a beginner or past student, you are welcome to attend our 1Touch Saturday class from 1:00 to 3:00 pm.  The 1Touch Self-Defense course is designed for people with vision loss and can help you feel more confident when traveling.  The course also enhances your spatial orientation, mobility, dexterity and tactile sensitivity.  If you are a beginning student, please call Polly Abbott at 312-236-8569 or email Polly Abbott to pre-register.  Past students are welcome to pop in anytime.  Please note: this month’s class will be held on Aug. 19.

Mobile Device Training in St. Charles

If you live in St. Charles or the surrounding area and are looking for ways to effectively use your smart phone or tablet, this workshop is for you!  Our Mobile Devices and Vision Loss: How Can They Help workshop will be at the St. Charles Public Library, 1 S. Sixth Avenue on Wednesday, Aug. 9 from 1:00 to 2:00 pm.  Cody Froetter, our certified vision rehabilitation therapist, will explain the difference between Android and Apple devices, show you how to activate VoiceOver or Zoom, and share helpful apps specifically designed for people with vision loss.  To learn more, call our front desk or contact Dave Peterson at 630-918-0546.

TV and Video at Apple Exchange

On Thursday, Aug. 3 from 1:30 to 3:30 pm we’re talking about all the ways you can access TV and video on your Apple device.  This should be an informative gathering and perhaps you’ll even find a way to cut the cost of your cable bill.  We’ll also discuss other apps, so bring your questions and your good finds to share with the Apple Exchange group.  To register, call our front desk or email David Flament.

>RP Meet Up

If you have retinitis pigmentosa and are looking for a place to network with others facing similar challenges, you’re invited to join our RP Meet Up.  Please note: this month’s meet up takes place on Saturday, Aug. 19 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm.  To register, call our front desk or email Polly Abbott.

September Technology Preview

Mark your calendars for Saturday, Sept. 9.  You won’t want to miss our September technology workshops where you’ll learn about two technologies that are fun and can make your life easier and more enjoyable!  From 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, we’re getting connected through Vorail, a social media app for people with vision loss.  Vorail is similar to Facebook but uses voice instead of photos and text.  In the afternoon from 1:00 to 3:00 pm, we’re getting to know Cortana, the new personal digital assistant built into the Windows 10 operating system. Register early by calling our front desk or emailing David Flament.

BSA Guide Dog Meeting

On Tuesday, Aug. 8 from 5:30 to 7:00 pm, the Blind Service Association (BSA) guide dog meeting welcomes Katie Mehrtens, a certified small animal massage therapist.  Katie, a guide dog handler, discusses the importance of balancing traditional care and alternative therapies to enhance the well-being of your guide dog.  All guide dog handlers, and those who are considering the guide dog lifestyle, are welcome to attend.  Meeting takes place at BSA, 17 N. State St., Suite 1050.  Please RSVP to BSA at 312-236-0808 by Aug. 4.  For more information contact Pam Berman at 773-671-6624.

Internet Essentials

Are you looking for a way to ramp up your Internet skills?  Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired has a course you can complete right from your home!  Internet Essentials is a four-lesson course providing you with the basic skills to use the Internet effectively on either a computer or mobile device.  You’ll learn key strategies for getting online, searching for information and shopping.  You’ll need access to a computer with a web browser, email program, Internet connection and appropriate adaptive technology.  To learn more, visit the Hadley website and enter Internet Essentials in the search box or call 800-323-4238.

Online Book Club

If getting to a local book club is not possible, you might want to check out Accessible World’s online book club. Accessible World offers a variety of subject areas including mystery, history, general and science fiction and fantasy.  You can download a previous discussion to try it out.  Web conferencing is provided by Talking Communities, an accessible way to join in on the conversation.

ACB and CPD Picnic

The American Council of the Blind Metropolitan Chicago and the Chicago Park District invite you to their annual picnic on Saturday, Aug. 19 from 12:00 to 4:00 pm.  Picnic takes place at Marquette Park, 6700 S. Kedzie Ave., Chicago.  Cost is $10 per person payable on day of picnic and includes food and drinks.  RSVP by Monday, Aug. 14 to Maureen Heneghan at 773-294-3160.

New Microsoft App Does It All

Microsoft has just come out with Seeing AI, a free app designed for people with vision loss.  The app uses artificial intelligence and the camera on your mobile device to read short text and long documents; recognize people, their age and facial expressions; identify products with a bar code scanner; and describe things in your environment.  We’re testing it out here at Second Sense and preliminary results look promising.  Stay tuned to Tech Exchange for more information.  Since this is the first version of this app, we think it will only get better in time.  One cautionary note – close the app when not using as it will run down your battery quickly.  Try it out in the App Store, it’s free!

Low Vision and Mental Health

A National Eye Institute recent study reports older patients diagnosed with low vision experience depression five times higher than the general population.  Another national study of individuals 20 years and older published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Ophthalmology reports individuals who find it difficult to complete routine daily living tasks due to vision loss had a higher prevalence of depression.  Based on these findings, a diagnosis of vision loss impacts more than just the ability to see; however, much of this can be avoided with the help of low vision professionals.  A first step is a visit to a low vision doctor who can prescribe the correct strength of a magnification device.  The International Academy of Low Vision Specialists can help you find a qualified doctor with this specialized training. Call 888-778-2030 for more information.  Remember, visiting a low vision doctor is just a first step.  Our certified professionals at Second Sense are here to help you maintain your independence and live life on your terms.  All it takes is a phone call to 312-236-8569!