Tony is a 76 year old man who lost all of his vision later in life. He has no family and lives alone in a small, two room apartment. When a friend he made through his local church contacted Helen Keller Services for the Blind seeking instruction to help Tony become self-sufficient and less reliant upon her, a rehabilitation instructor was promptly dispatched. In just two sessions of vision rehabilitation instruction, Tony was pouring beverages without spilling and safely heating meals on his stove. Through Helen Keller Services for the Blind, a microwave was also purchased, and he learned to use this to heat meals and beverages by feeling for tactual markers that were placed on the microwave control panel by his rehabilitation instructor.
Once Tony was able to safely prepare his meals, instruction focused upon using tactual markers on his thermostat to accurately set desired apartment temperatures, and markers on the washer and dryer machines in his apartment complex so that he could launder his clothes without assistance. Tony also learned skills in maintaining a clean apartment, adaptive telephone dialing techniques to avoid calling wrong numbers and to use a tape recorder purchased for him by Helen Keller Services as his personal telephone book.
As Tony became safe and independent within his home, instruction turned to using the long cane to journey safely and independently outdoors. Tony learned long cane skills to detect objects in his path, and to use landmarks within his apartment complex in order to maintain his orientation as he travelled to the dumpster to discard his trash, to the community laundry room on wash day, and to the management office to pay his rent.
By the completion of his instruction, Tony was functioning safely and independently, and his quality of life improved tremendously. The friend who contacted Helen Keller Services for the Blind on his behalf has since passed away, but Tony has made new friends through his church, and with the volunteers arranged through Helen Keller Services, who come weekly to visit with him and sort through his mail. Tony is grateful for all instruction, adaptive devices and friendships that Helen Keller Services for the Blind has provided for him. - HELEN KELLER SERVICES FOR THE BLIND
Anna is a 50 year old woman who is legally blind from a genetic eye disorder. Like her mother and grandmother, she lived with this condition for years but still managed to raise a family. Anna also works as the office manager of a furniture company. In 2010 her eye condition degenerated significantly resulting in greater vision loss. Anna found she was having difficulty doing everyday tasks at home as well as performing her duties at work. Fearing her job would be placed in jeopardy if she did not seek assistance soon; Anna contacted Helen Keller Services for the Blind.
Anna’s concerns for her job were alleviated when Helen Keller Services immediately opened her case and provided her with a CCTV, a magnifying machine she learned to use in order to read the paperwork required for her to perform her job effectively. With the provision of this machine and the other adaptive devices she was taught to use to do her job, such as a talking calculator, Anna’s position was secured.
At the same time Anna’s job concerns were being addressed, a Vision Rehabilitation Therapist also began coming to her home for rehabilitation instruction on the tasks Anna could no longer perform without family assistance. Anna was taught to use tactual markers placed on the controls of her microwave, stove and oven to accurately set desired cooking times and temperatures, and she learned techniques to prevent injury during meal preparation such as adaptive cutting skills, the safe removal of hot items from the oven. Tactual markers were also placed on her washer/dryer and her dishwasher, and after Anna learned to use these markers to set the controls on these appliances, she no longer needed her husband’s help. Anna also learned adaptive techniques to write checks and balance her checkbook. Time telling no longer required family intervention when Helen Keller Services for the Blind provided her with a talking clock and watch, and she learned to pour beverages without spilling all over her counter.
In addition to rehabilitation instruction within the home, Anna received mobility training to travel confidently outdoors with family members guiding when her vision was particularly bad, such as at night. She was also provided with a red and white long cane which she learned to use when traveling alone to detect objects in her path, locate curbs, and ascend/descend steps. Since the completion of vision rehabilitation from Helen Keller Services for the Blind, Anna is again functioning as an independent wife, mother, and full time office manager. She is grateful to Helen Keller Services for the instruction and adaptive devices she received, but most of all for securing her job and giving her back her independence. - HELEN KELLER SERVICES FOR THE BLIND