Are you, or is someone you know an individual living with a disability who is passionate about working with young people? If so, please apply! DC Design is currently recruiting Project Partners for the 2019 Design the Future program at University of Kansas (Lawrence, KS): July 29-August 3, and August 5-10!  A program overview can be watched here and more information and applications can be found at: youdesignthefuture.com

apply to be a design partner with design the future today at youdesignthefuture.com when & where: university of kansas july 29 - aug 3 and aug 5-10th, 2019

 

February is Low Vision Awareness month so I’d like to share some knowledge on this topic.

1.) Low vision is a vision loss that makes it difficult to accomplish visual tasks even with the best possible correction, but with the potential for use of available vision, with or without optical or non-optical compensatory visual strategies, devices and environmental modifications.
In other words, even with glasses, contacts, surgery, etc. the person does not have enough vision to do daily tasks. But with use of some tools/skills the person may be able to complete these tasks.

2.) People with low vision may label themselves as blind, legally blind, visually impaired, partially sighted or many other terms.
In order to be deemed legally blind by a doctor, the person’s vision when best corrected (wearing glasses, contacts, after surgery, using medication, etc.) is 20/200 or less or has a visual field of 20 degrees or less. 20/200 means that a person with 20/20 vision can see at 200 feet, that person can see at 20 feet. A visual field of 20 degrees or less can be demonstrated by putting your hand out in front of your face in a fist and only the area blocked by the fist would be visible.
People who are blind can be spilt into two groups – light perception and no light perception. Our society stereotypes that people who are blind only see darkness. This is not true; many can see light, different shades of color, shadows and or shapes.

3.) Low vision devices include everything from computer software, handheld magnifiers, video magnifiers, scanners, binoculars, monocular and many other items.
Most the time, when people think of devices that help people complete daily tasks, they think of high priced electronic equipment. That is not always the case. A rubber band can aid a person in detecting which can of food they are needing out of the cabinet. A raised bump can identify which medication the person needs to take in the morning. A piece of cardboard cut correctly can help a person with low vision fill out a check to pay their bills.
Some tasks people do by using mostly their vision, people with low vision have to unlearn using their vision and rely on other senses in order to complete these tasks. One example would be to use your hearing for the beeps while on the elevator instead of watching the number move above the elevator door.

4.) The term low vision is very broad and encompasses many people with many different types of vision loss. The most common causes for low vision in the United States included age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy. Most of these diseases do not affect people until they are 45 years or older but that is not always true. There are forms of macular degeneration that affects children, infants can be born with cataracts, and if a person has been diagnosed with diabetes in their early years they can end up with Diabetic Retinopathy at an early age as well.

Please have your eyes checked annually especially if you are 45 years or older and make sure your eye doctor is checking your eyes for common diseases.

RCIL will be hosting two low vision fairs in March.  The fairs will be on March 6th in Baxter Springs and March 7th in Garnett.  Both fairs will be located at the town’s library and will be from 1:00-3:00pm.

During that time Mandy Smith, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, will present on iKan-RCIL’s program and services and will introduce representatives from other agencies that serve the low vision/blind population.  In Baxter Springs, the agencies will include: Assistive Technology for Kansans (ATK), Audio Reader, and Kansas Talking Books.  Garnett’s line up will be NanoPac, Audio Reader, and Kansas Talking Books.  Along with presenting on available resources, agencies will also have demonstrations of equipment for hands-on opportunities.

If you have questions feel free to call Mandy Smith (785) 528-3105 or email her at Amanda.smith@rcilinc.org

Fliers are located below with the address of both locations.

Baxter Springs LV Fair 2018Baxter Springs LV Fair 2018

marked seasoningsSo many things we do on a day to day basis we do using our sight.  So what do you do when your sight no longer helps with those daily activities?

Recently, I was working with a 90 year old woman who has been married to a farmer for 70 years.  She loved cooking and that was how she remembered spending most of those 70 years; cooking for her husband and hired hands after their long days on the farm.  As she has gotten older her eye sight has faded due to Age-Related Macular Degeneration (just like 1 out of every 3 people who are 65 years and older).  Cooking is more difficult for her but not impossible.

A person with vision loss will need added time to get tasks such as cooking done, more lighting (most likely), possibly aids such as magnifiers or talking device, and patients to accomplish daily living activities.  I tell the people I work with (55 years and older who are blind or have low vision) there is only one thing you can’t do because of your vision loss, and that is driving! {Which they are working on!}  Everything else you can do but it might take more time and it more than likely will take a new way of doing it.  That’s where my job comes in, to teach those new ways.

The photo I’ve added to this blog is one of many examples of how a small adaption can help in a big way to accomplish daily living tasks.  The lady I spoke of earlier wants to still cook her favorite dishes for her husband and by marking her seasonings with puff paint and marker she can still flavor dishes as before.  Adaptions can be low tech and cheap such as puff paint or can be high tech and more costly like a digital recording system.  Adaptions can be bump dots on appliance buttons, rubber bands around shampoo bottles, and much more.  If you have questions regarding how to make an item in your house easier to find/use please contact me at (785) 528-3105 or Amanda.smith@rcilinc.org .

 

RCIL will host two independent living classes for people with vision loss in Pittsburg next month.  The first class with be November 1st and will cover self-care, transportation, cooking and shopping.  November 8th is the second class and reading, writing and over all assistive technology will be covered.  Both classes will run 1:00pm-3:00pm and will be held at the Via Christi Village (1502 E. Centennial Dr.).

For anyone who registers ahead of time and/or attends both days will be entered into a drawing for a prize.  To register or if you have questions contact Amanda Smith at (785) 528-3105 or amanda.smith@rcilinc.org.

Look for more information in the upcoming weeks for other locations that classes will be held.

Pittsburg November 2017

Resource Center for Independent Living, Inc. is hiring!

 Transitional Living Specialists – Seeking to hire TLS to work one-on-one with individuals who has experienced a Traumatic Brain Injury to teach independent living skills in the following communities:  Colony, Fort Scott, LaCygne, Eureka, Topeka, and Lawrence.  These are all part-time positions.      

 Payroll Clerk – As one of the largest Financial Management Service providers in the state, RCIL processes weekly payroll for over 1000 home care workers.  The payroll clerk assists with processing payroll information including data entry and communicating mainly by telephone with homecare workers and their employers.  Previous payroll experience preferred.  Excellent customer service skills required.  This is a full-time position with competitive pay and excellent benefits.    

 Assistive Technology Delivery & Pick Up Specialist – Support the Kansas Equipment Exchange Program by picking up and delivering assistive technology & medical equipment to people with disabilities in NE Kansas. Experience with data entry preferred.  Excellent customer service and telephone communication skills required.  Must have a valid Kansas Driver’s License and  be able to drive company vehicles without restrictions. Also, be able to lift and carry a minimum of 75 pounds and to team-lift/carry, push or pull up to 200 lbs. as well as frequent bending, kneeling and reaching is required.  This is a permanent, part-time (20 hours per week/up to 1000 per calendar year) position.   

Team players, with an excellent work ethic should fill out an RCIL application or submit their resume (including references) to hr@rcilinc.org.   People with disabilities are encouraged to apply!

 

kansas

Kansas Equipment Exchange (KEE) in cooperation with Kansas Medicaid and other agencies accept wheelchairs, hospital beds and other durable medical equipment (DME) that are no longer being used.  KEE refurbishes and makes these items available for other Kansans at NO CHARGE. KEE assists Kansans in obtaining affordable durable medical equipment. RCIL is one of the five KEE access sites and covers 13 counties.  We will be holding an equipment drive this Saturday, June 4th, in Topeka and we are looking for equipment to help fill the needs for people with disabilities in our 13 counties.  If you have equipment you are no longer using please bring it to 517 SW 37th Street in Topeka anytime between 8:00am-2:00pm.

KYEA

Kansas Youth Empowerment Academy (KYEA) will be hosting a garage sale and bake sale during this time too.  So plan on bringing some change to help change the lives of youths with disabilities. KYEA’s mission: The Kansas Youth Empowerment Academy educates, mentors, and supports youth with disabilities in Kansas to be contributing members of their community.

KYEA Garage Sale Flyer 2016

Technology, you have to love it!  Below is a link to a YouTube video from Microsoft about their new Seeing AI (artificial intelligence) app and glasses.  I am truly amazed at the information this is able to give those without sight.  The doors it could open are unlimited!

Seeing AI Video

If you are looking for something to do this month here is a list of events around our service area:

September 15th – Manhattan Senior Center from 1:00pm-3:00pm

  • Low Vision Information and Device demonstration – NanoPac, Assistive Technology for Kansans and RCIL will present on low vision devices and helpful information

September 16th – Topeka/Shawnee County Library from 9:00am-12:00pm

  • Senior fair – Many booths will be open to provide seniors information on services available.  Door prizes will be given.

September 19th – Flint Hills Mall (Emporia) from 8:00am-12:00pm

  • Lift Off for Health – Games, prices, bouncy house, samples, balloon release, free food, fitness demonstrations, activities, and grand prizes of His and Her Fitbits

I am starting a series of blogs that will feature low tech assistive technology devices/tools.   Each blog will have a picture of the device, how it works, and how it could be beneficial to individuals with disabilities.  RCIL does NOT sell items nor earn any profit off of any item.  These blogs are simply informational to allow individuals to know what tools are available.

First up is the “Safe Slice”.

Safe Slice1The Safe Slice is a tool you wear on your index finger and thumb to hold an item you are cutting.  The Safe Slice acts as a shield to protect your fingers as you get closer to them with the knife.

Safe Slice2

The Safe Slice could be beneficial to individuals with vision loss (or anyone for that matter) allowing a guard between the person’s fingers and the knife.