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IL Newsletter - Volume 2 2009

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    Secondary Tasks

      Iowa Department for the Blind
      Independent Living Program
      Newsletter - Vol. 2, 2009 
      Back by Popular Demand!

      As you may already be aware, the Independent Living Program at the Iowa Department for the Blind (IDB) implemented Community-Based Trainings back in 2000. Due to staff shortages and budget limitations, we had to scale back over the past couple years. We are very pleased to report that we will once again be offering statewide community-based trainings! Jennifer Hutson, currently Rehabilitation Teacher in north central Iowa, will take on a new role as a Project Specialist. Jennifer and Barb Weigel will provide community-based training opportunities to groups of older Iowans with severe vision loss wherever a need is expressed. 

      What are Community-Based Trainings (CBTs)?

      CBTs provide individuals with the opportunity to learn basic techniques to assist with independence. We offer trainings throughout the state wherever we have 3 or more individuals expressing interest in participating. The training is set up in a format convenient for the participants and covers the following areas:

      • Discuss the positive philosophy of IDB. Our goal is to promote a positive adjustment to vision loss, and this discussion sets the stage for a positive training experience. During this discussion, we also address the use of a white cane for safe, independent travel within the community and beyond.
      • Access print materials - the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (books on tape) and newspaper reading programs (APRIS, IRIS, Newsline, Tri-States AIS)
      • An introduction to Braille.
      • Dial a telephone without vision and access directory assistance cost exemption.
      • Identify money without vision.
      • Learn New Communications Skills - taking phone messages and creating grocery lists so the information can be retrieved at a later time; large print address book; writing a check; and more.
      • Learn Basic Cooking Skills - measuring, pouring and cutting items safely.
      • Label items such as canned goods, medications, and clothing for easier identification.
      • Mark appliances (e.g. oven dial, microwave, washer and dryer) so they can be set by touch.

      If you are interested in learning more about CBTs or hosting a CBT at your facility, email Barb Weigel or call the Independent Living Program at 800-362-2587.

      Know Someone with Vision Loss?

      If you or someone you know is experiencing vision loss, we can help. Services are free, confidential and available statewide. Call 800-362-2587, email the Independent Living Program or fill out an on-line referral form. We look forward to hearing from you! 

      Help us Spread the Word

      Quite often, we hear comments such as "I didn't know you existed" and "why didn't my eye doctor tell me about your services?" It is often through word-of-mouth or presentations we provide that people with vision loss learn about the services available to help maintain their independence. We would like your help with spreading the word! Iowa Department for the Blind representatives are available to provide free informational presentations to senior centers, church groups, service providers, residents of retirement communities or assisted living facilities, or any other group interested in learning more about services available to Iowans with vision loss. For more information, contact Carolyn Hicklin at 800-362-2587 or 515-281-1337. 

      Scheduled Presentations and Training Opportunities

      Marshalltown Lions Club
      Monday, June 8, 2009
      American Legion - 1301 S 6th Street, Marshalltown, IA
      Presenter: Julie Bergeson, Rehabilitation Teacher 
      Garner Place Senior Community
      Tuesday, June 9, 2009
      1531 W 53rd Street, Davenport, IA
      Presenter: Jonathan Ice, Rehabilitation Teacher 
      Polk County Elderly Case Managers Provider Meeting
      Friday, June 12, 2009
      Park Fair Mall Senior Center, 100 E Euclid, Des Moines
      Presenters: Julie Bergeson, Rehabilitation Teacher and Rosie Thierer, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor 
      Citizens for People with Disabilities
      Tuesday, June 16, 2009
      12:00 - 12:45 PM
      Goodwill Industries of the Heartland, 1441 Blairs Ferry Road, Cedar Rapids
      Presenter: Jonathan Ice, Rehabilitation Teacher 
      North Central Home Care
      Thursday, June 18, 2009
      Friendship Haven Tompkins Health Center
      420 S. Kenyon Road, Fort Dodge
      Presenter: Terry Poldberg, Rehabilitation Teacher 
      Community-Based Training
      Thursday, June 18, 2009 (session 3 of 3)
      Wesley Acres Sight Seekers Support Group
      3520 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA
      Trainer: Julie Bergeson, Rehabilitation Teacher 
      Palmer Hills Assisted Living
      Wednesday, June 24, 2009
      Palmer Hills Assisted Living, Bettendorf
      Presenter: Jonathan Ice, Rehabilitation Teacher 
      Iowa City Senior Center
      Thursday, June 25, 2009
      1:00 - 4:00 PM
      Iowa City Senior Center, S. Linn Street, Iowa City, IA
      Presenter: Susan Howard, Rehabilitation Teacher 
      Community-Based Training
      Tuesday, July 28 and Wednesday, July 29
      First Christian Church, 510 E 15th St, Davenport
      Trainer: Jonathan Ice, Rehabilitation Teacher 
      Genesis VNA In-Service
      Wednesday, August 19, 2009
      Genesis VNA at 611 N 2nd Street, Clinton, IA
      Presenter: Jonathan Ice, Rehabilitation Teacher 
      Senior Orientation
      Monday, August 31, 2009 thru Friday, September 4, 2009
      Iowa Department for the Blind, Des Moines Office

      Newsletter Tip:

      When a person loses vision, he or she often has difficulty reading the labels on the food in the cupboards. There are simple solutions that are easy to implement. Here are some of the options:

      • For canned goods, use a 3x5 card with the name of the item written in large print (e.g. PEAS) and attach it to the can with a rubber band.
      • If large print isn't an effective option, create a tactile label using Hi-Mark or fabric paint.
      • Label items with basic instructions (e.g. for a cake mix: 1 C water, 1/3 C oil, 3 eggs, 350, 35 minutes).
      • When items are too similar to distinguish by their features (e.g. size, shape or sound made when shaken), use a rubber band to distinguish one from the other. Example: Cream of Mushroom soup has a rubber band around it, and Cream of Chicken does not.

      For more information on anything contained in this newsletter, contact the Independent Living Program at the Iowa Department for the Blind at 800-362-2587 or 515-281-1333.

      INDEPENDENT LIVING PROGRAM NEWSLETTER is published by the Iowa Department for the Blind. Please direct questions and suggestions to the Iowa Department for the Blind, 524 Fourth Street, Des Moines, IA 50309-2364, 515-281-1333.

      If you would like additional information on anything mentioned in this newsletter, please contact Barb Weigel at