MAKING SENSE: March 2018

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

Writing Your Story
Learning to Live with Vision Loss
Braille Fun with Card Games
Apple Getting There Safely
Stitch It Up and Cast On
An Apple For You
Conference Call for Group Leaders
Hello, Are You There?
Intensive Screen Reading Course
Gardening Classes at CPD
1Touch Peer Support Group
Help with Google Products
New Venture Competition
Information on Genetic Testing

Writing Your Story

Are you a budding author or interested in learning about the publishing process?  Whether you want to explore feelings through creative writing, share an important story with family and friends or are looking to go on to publish a memoire, you won’t want to miss our informative discussion with John Erickson.  John is a retired investment advisor and bond fund manager who is the author of What I Saw When I Went Blind.  His book tells the story of him losing most of his sight as a teen and his journey from middle school to college to career.  On Thursday, Mar. 22 from 1:30 to 3:00 pm, John shares his experiences in writing, editing, publishing and marketing.  To register, call our front desk or email Kathy Austin.

Learning to Live with Vision Loss

If you have been struggling with the adjustment to vision loss or know someone who is, our new workshop series, Learning to Live with Vision Loss can answer the questions that may be lurking in your mind.  The workshop provides a place to talk about the uncertainties ahead and gives you practical tools to help you through the adjustment process.  We are discussing the emotional impact of vision loss, adapting everyday tasks to make life easier, getting around safely and accessing and using technology.  If your vision has changed or if you know someone who is new to vision loss, we welcome you, family and friends to join us on Wednesdays, April 4, 11, 18 and 25 from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm.  To register, call our front desk or email Polly Abbott.

Braille Fun with Card Games

Here’s a really fun way to put those braille skills to work for you!  On March 9, as part of our Year of Braille, we are practicing our reading skills by reviewing the braille on Uno cards and writing numbers.  On March 23, we’re going to put our skills to the test when we battle it out in a serious Uno game where you’ll have to keep your own score in braille!  Both sessions are from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm.  This class is most appropriate for those who know the braille alphabet.  If you aren’t sure if this course is for you, call Polly Abbott to discuss all the ways you can master braille.  To register for our March classes, call our front desk or email Polly Abbott.

Apple Getting There Safely

GPS apps have made it easier for a person with vision loss to independently find a location or get directions.  With all of these great tools literally at your fingertips, have you considered how safe you are when using them while traveling?  David Flament, our manager of assistive technology, and Rachael Eschbach, our certified orientation and mobility specialist, help you determine the best apps for your lifestyle and how to use them safely while traveling.  To register for this workshop on Thursday, March 15 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm, call our front desk or email David Flament.

Stitch-it-Up and Cast On

Tuesdays beginning March 20 is our new day for our crafters at Second Sense! Our 12-week sewing class starts with the basics and takes you as far as you’d like to go.  Whether you just want to learn to sew on a button, repair a hem or learn to use a sewing machine, this class will help you accomplish your goal.  For those who are interested in learning to knit or crochet, our Cast On group, led by volunteer class leader Gina, can teach you the basic skills and can work with you on a project of your choice.  Cast On meets from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm and Stitch It Up from 1:30 to 3:30 pm.  To register and for a materials list for either class, contact Polly Abbott or call 312-236-8569.

An Apple For You

Are you wondering what type of a smart phone or tablet to purchase?  Or maybe you have bought your first iPhone or iPad and need to learn the basics to get started?  Our Apple for You workshop on Thursday, March 8 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm helps you understand the smart phone and tablet market and the accessibility features of Apple and Android devices.  This beginner workshop also shows you how to use basic gestures to operate an Apple product and shares helpful apps for people with vision loss.  If you have an iPhone or iPad, bring it along!  To register, call our front desk or email David Flament.

Conference Call for Support Group Leaders

Many of our support group leaders who have joined Vision Exchange are located outside of the Chicago metropolitan area and are unable to attend our annual Vision Exchange conference held every June.  Some of our support group leaders have asked to have another time to exchange ideas or discuss problem issues.  So, everyone is invited to attend our first Vision Exchange conference call on Friday, March 2 from 12:00 to 12:30 pm CST.  Tell us about your best outing or group meeting, tell us why it stands out in your mind and why it went well.  To join our discussion, call our conference line 312-582-2994, bridge 301 and pin 1111.  For questions, please call Polly Abbott or email Polly Abbott.

Hello, Are You There?

Have you been on the phone when another call comes in and you aren’t sure just how to switch between calls using VoiceOver?  Do you know how to do three-way calling?  How many ways are there to make a call on your iPhone?  Marv Commerford, our technology tutor, has all the answers for you at our March 1 Apple Exchange!  Marv will walk you through the native iPhone app to show you all the ways to make a call, use voice mail and create favorites.  Apple Exchange meets from 1:30 to 3:30 pm.  To register, call our front desk or email David Flament.

Intensive Screen Reading Course

Our Intensive Screen Reader course is a great way to quickly update your computer skills in a fast paced one week class.  You learn the new Windows 10 environment along with Microsoft Office 2016, (Word and Excel), Internet browsing and web-based email.  This class is great for people who are working or those who cannot commit to our 16-week comprehensive course.  If you are transitioning from Windows 7 to 10 or if it has been sometime since you last had some computer training, you might want to consider this course.  Prerequisites include being able to type at a steady pace, having previous computers skills and familiarity with your screen reader.  Classes meet Monday through Friday From 9:00 am to 4:00 pm April 2 to 6.  To enroll, call David Flament at 312-236-8569 or email David Flament.

Gardening Classes at Chicago Park District

The Chicago Park District is offering two, five-week gardening and cooking classes for people with vision and hearing loss at Kilbourne Park, 3501 N. Kilbourne Ave., Chicago.  Class attendees receive hands-on experience with planting, caring and harvesting edibles.  Session one is from April 4 through May 2; session two is from May 9 through June 6.  Classes meet from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm.  To register, email Timothy Owens or Allen West.

1Touch Peer Support Group

The 1Touch Self-Defense program for people with vision loss is now offering an opportunity to talk with others about issues relating to vision loss and self-defense.  Every Monday evening at 8:00 pm CST and Thursday afternoons at 12:00 pm CST, you are welcome to join their conference call, even if you have not attended 1Touch classes.  If interested in participating, call 712-432-6301, access code 585801 or refer questions via email.

Help with Google Products

Google has recently established a dedicated disability support team to help you with Google products.  They can answer your questions via email on the accessibility, features and functionality of Google Calendar, Docs, Drive, Groups and more.  The Disability Support Team is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm PST.  Email your questions in English and you will receive an answer within 72 hours.

New Venture Competition

Do you know someone with vision loss who is interested in starting a business?  Maybe that person is you?  Hadley Institute’s New Venture Competition is helping peoples’ business ideas come to life.  Cash awards up to $30,000 will be awarded to selected candidates who present a viable business plan for a new start up or business in the early stages of growth development.  Applicants must have completed one course from the Forsythe Center for Employment and Entrepreneurship.  Deadline to submit is March 31, 2018.  For more details visit the website or email the Hadley Institute.

What You Should Know About Genetic Testing

Much has been in the news lately about the FDA approving a promising new gene therapy that can restore vision in some cases of retinal degenerative disease.  You may be wondering if you might qualify for this treatment and are considering being tested for the gene mutation.  The Foundation Fighting Blindness recommends seeking out the professional services of a genetic counselor to discuss the risks, benefits and limitations of genetic testing.  The foundation has published an informative booklet, Genetic Testing for Retinal Degenerative Diseases: Information and Resources for Affected Individuals, Family and Health Care Providers.  The booklet provides a thorough explanation of the genetic testing process, the important role of a genetic counselor and basic concepts and terminology.  Download a copy of the booklet or call 800-683-5555 to have a copy mailed to you.