I thought I would switch things up a bit and instead of posting about what other places were doing or events going on, I’d talk about myself.  This week I celebrated 10 years at RCIL.  Crazy to think how far I’ve come in those 10 years professionally and personally.  The older blind program that I run has also grown so much (in 9 years) from 15 counties to 32 counties. Recently, I have been working on becoming more efficient with Braille.  I passed the first course (Hadley) with flying colors and just starting the next course. (Any Braille users out there with tips let me know!) I also recently took a beginning JAWS class.  So, though I’ve had this job for many years I know I’ll never know it all or enough.  I’ll always be looking forward to learning that next thing to help my consumers.

Be on the lookout for updates coming soon about independent living classes for persons with vison loss and low vision fairs.  If you have any questions about Braille, JAWS, or the older blind program feel free to email me at amanda.smith@rcilinc.org

As I get ready to get in the car for today’s appointments, I thought I would take this rainy morning to remind everyone of iKan-RCIL.  iKan-RCIL is a program for those who are 55 years and older and have a vision loss caused by such conditions as Glaucoma, Age-Related Macular Degeneration, Diabetic Retinopathy, and many more.  This program is often referred to as the “older blind program”.   The person does not have to be totally or “legally” blind but the condition causing the vision loss must affect their daily living to qualify for services.  The iKan-RCIL program covers 32 counties which are listed below and if you are interested in a county not listed email Amanda Smith and I’ll get you the contact information. iKan-RCIL coverage includes: Allen, Anderson, Bourbon, Brown, Chase, Chautauqua, Cherokee, Clay, Coffey, Crawford, Dickinson, Doniphan, Elk, Geary, Greenwood, Jackson, Labette, Lyon, Marion, Marshall, Montgomery, Morris, Nemaha, Neosho, Osage, Pottawatomie, Riley, Shawnee, Wabaunsee, Washington, Wilson, and Woodson counties.

I visit individuals at their home and teach them skills or give them technology to live as independently as possible with their vision loss.  To qualify for this service you must live in one of the mentioned counties, be 55 years or older and have a vision loss. There is no cost to participate in this program and if you or someone you know is interested they can email Amanda Smith or call at (785) 528-3105.

The iKan-RCIL program started in August of 2010 and its purpose is to teach people who are blind/have low vision and are 55 years or older how to live as independently as possible. IKan-RCIL has been possible with contracts awarded from Kansas Rehabilitation Services (KRS) that allows funding for orientation and mobility training, assistive technology aids and devices, and independent living training. RCIL recently received its third contract which will last through 2020.

Since inception, iKan-RCIL has more than doubled in size from 15 counties in 2010, to 32 counties beginning in July 2017. The coverage area includes the following counties: Allen, Anderson, Bourbon, Brown, Chase, Chautauqua, Cherokee, Clay, Coffey, Crawford, Dickinson, Doniphan, Elk, Geary, Greenwood, Jackson, Labette, Lyon, Marion, Marshall, Montgomery, Morris, Nemaha, Neosho, Osage, Pottawatomie, Riley, Shawnee, Wabaunsee, Washington, Wilson, and Woodson. This is including the nine counties RCIL began covering in July (Chautauqua, Cherokee, Crawford, Elk, Labette, Montgomery, Neosho, Wilson, and Woodson.)

iKan-RCIL map 2017

To be eligible for this program you must live in one of the above mentioned counties, be 55 years or older and have a vision loss that affects your daily living. Mandy Smith, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, who is based out of the Osage City office provides the services for this program. She travels to individuals’ homes to teach the skills and/or give items that will allow individuals to be as independent as possible. This program is free to the individual and can be provided in any home setting. Mandy also does presentations to promote services and educate the public. Mandy will also be hosting independent living classes through the next three years throughout the 32 counties. Look for more information on these classes in the near future.

ikan-RCIL Flier