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      If you have a family member or friend that is blind or low vision, you are aware of the impact vision loss can have on a person's life.

      You Have Choices and We Can Help

      An Orientation Center graduate on the job at a downtown Des Moines insurance company.Individuals have choices in dealing with vision loss – choices that can result in meaningful, productive, normal living for blind people and their family members and friends.

      The Iowa Department for the Blind helps people make the right choices for their unique circumstances. Services provided are based strictly on each individual's needs and may include:

      • Vocational Skills Development
        Assisting people in preparing for, obtaining and retaining employment in a broad variety of occupations. Iowa consistently ranks in the top 10 nationally in successful job placement of clients following rehabilitation services.
      • Independent Living Skills Development
        Includes training in adaptive techniques, guidance and counseling to help individuals adjust to vision loss. Services are tailored to each individual and are provided one-on-one or in small groups in homes and communities throughout Iowa. A more intensive residential program is available at the Department’s internationally known Orientation Center in Des Moines. Learning alternative techniques for cooking, cleaning, shopping, Braille, keyboarding, travel and leisure activities help blind and visually impaired people gain confidence and independence. A monthly e-mail is available for learning more non-visual techniques to complete everyday tasks. Sign up for the "Independent Living Tips" e-mail.
      • Library Services
        Providing books, magazines and other materials in Braille, digital audio and large print formats. Our library is one of the world’s largest collections. All library loans are available by mail, free of charge.

      What Can You Do?

      Here are two things to consider:

      1. Encourage independence

      There’s a tendency for families and friends to want to “do for” the person who is losing or has lost vision. But vision loss does not have to equate dependence on others. The Department offers programs and services to help people regain independence in their work, school, and personal lives. It’s important to communicaten openly and recognize that independence benefits everyone.

      2. Make a referral

      Contact the Department to make a referral for a family member or friend any time. A representative will arrange a visit to explain the services available and to schedule a tour of Department facilities, if you like. Through state and federal support, most services are offered at no charge to those who qualify and are based on individual needs. Individuals may choose which services to use.  You may also make a referral by using our Referral Form.

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