Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (KABVI) will be hosting with the assistance of American Counsel of the Blind (ACB) an online convention Friday, November 20th and Saturday, November 21st.  This is the ACB’s annual meeting but it is also a celebration of KABVI’s 100 year anniversary.

Friday’s agenda is scheduled 10:00am-5:00pm and Saturday’s 9:00am to 4:00pm.  Agenda items include: myself, Mandy Smith with iKan-RCIL information; KSDS Assistance Dogs, Inc.; Kansas Talking Books; Assistive Technology for Kansans and Telecommunications Access Program; Nanopac; Audio Reader; Kansas State School for the Blind; and much more.  Both days will be hosted on Zoom along with streaming live on Facebook and internet radio.

KABVI is asking for $10 registration fee that includes two days worth of knowledge along with entered into drawings for door prizes.  For information on how to register please contact Ann Byington, KABVI President, abyinton@cox.net (785) 235-8990 or (800) 799-1499.

 

October 15th is White Cane Safety Day also known as Blind Americans Equality Day.  Which is a day to celebrate and raise awareness about the white cane, that people who are blind or have low vision use to help with mobility.  A white cane’s purpose is to identify objects on a traveler’s route and to identify the traveler as a person with vision loss.  Kansas has the white cane law (KSA 8-1542) that states “The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to any blind pedestrian carrying a clearly visible white cane or accompanied by a guide dog.”

A white cane is made up of three parts: a grip to make it easier to hold; the shaft that is reflective and white; and a tip that can be a heavy duty plastic or metal material.

White Cane Safety Day started in 1964 and the Lions were a big part of getting it started.  A Lions member is also who came up with the cane being white.  Many celebrate White Cane Safety Day by telling their story of why they like/love their cane or going to the Capitol to have the Governor sign a proclamation.  Due to COVID-19 most people celebrated via Zoom but Governor Kelly and President Trump signed proclamations today as usual.

RCIL’s Mandy Smith will be hosting the following events:

  • Low vision fair April 7th at the Parsons Public Library from 1:00-3:00pm
  • Low vision independent living classes April 23rd and 30th at the Riley County Senior Center in Manhattan from 1:00pm-3:00pm
  • Low vision fair May 13th at the Marion Senior Center from 12:15pm-2:15pm

Please look for more information in the future or call Mandy at (785)528-3105 if you have questions.

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.