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.

 

Bradford and Bryan Manning, were diagnosed with Stargardt’s  (a form of macular degeneration) at a young age.  They have since started a clothing company, “Two Blind Brothers” that profits help with finding a cure for blindness.  Something I thought was awesome, is they have Braille incorporated in all of their clothing.

Here is a clip from Ellen talking about their clothing line and how they got started.

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

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