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IL Newsletter - Volume 3 2009

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    Secondary Tasks

      Iowa Department for the Blind

      Independent Living Program

      Newsletter – Vol. 3, 2009

      The Department for the Blind gets a Facelift

      In July, the Iowa Department for the Blind unveiled a new logo, and we are pleased to introduce it to you today.


       IDB Logo


      Also, on October 26, 2009, will be launched.  We hope you find this new and improved website helpful. 

      The Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped is going Digital! 

      The Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped provides books, magazines, and other informational materials in Braille, audio, large print, and electronic formats to Iowa residents who are unable to use standard print materials because of a disability.  Playback equipment for use with audio materials is also available on loan.  The Library provides:

      •       books and magazines in audio, Braille, or large print

      •       Playback equipment for audio materials

      •       Transcription of print materials into Braille and audio formats for instructional, employment, and leisure use

      •       Descriptive videos

      In May, the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped began the transition from cassettes to digital recordings. 500 digital players were received and distributed to the first 500 individuals on the waiting list. The switch from cassettes to digital books provides the user with more options when listening to the recordings and access to free downloadable books through the NLS website. For more information on services available through the Library or for more information on the transition to digital books, contact the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped at 800-362-2587 or via email at

      Meet Moshi

      Image of Moshi clock

      Moshi is one of the newest devices available in our Aids and Devices store.  It is an interactive clock that, when plugged into an electrical outlet, is controlled by voice commands.  For example:

              User:  “Hello Moshi”

              Moshi:  “Command please”

              User:  “Set time”

              Moshi:  “Tell me the current time or to set the time, just say the current time, for example 5:07  PM.  Tell me the current time.”

              User:  “9:34 PM”

              Moshi:  “The time is now set for 9:34 PM”

      Moshi also allows the user to set the alarm time, turn the alarm on and off, choose an alarm sound, choose sleep sounds, ask for the temperature and more using voice commands. 

      For more information on the devices available through the Aids and Devices store, contact Barb Weigel at 888-378-4397 or  

      Did you Know?

      Most phone companies offer free directory assistance to those who cannot read their telephone directory?  If a phone company offers this service, an exemption form must be filled out and submitted to the phone company.  The form must be signed by a qualifying authority (e.g. eye doctor or a Department for the Blind representative) to activate the service.  Once activated, the person exempt from charges can call directory assistance without being billed a fee.  For more information, contact Barb Weigel at 888-378-4397 or

      Newsletter Tip: 

      When people start to lose vision, they can begin to give up activities they enjoy and would otherwise continue doing.  A common activity given up is going out to eat in public places.  One factor in this is the concern about paying a bill when they can no longer identify dollar bills and coins. 

      An easy solution is folding the bills so they can be identified by touch.  One option is leaving the ones unfolded, folding the fives in half so they are nearly square, folding the tens in half lengthwise so they are long and thin and folding the twenties in half twice.  Using this solution, a person no longer has to fear paying bills in public places.

      Paying attention to the size in combination with whether or not there are ridges around the outside edge of the coin will lead to independence with this task as well.  The quarter is the largest coin and has ridges around the edge.  The nickel is the next largest in size and has smooth edges.  The dime and penny are close in size but the dime has ridges and the penny does not.  With practice, a person can be independent with this task as well. 

      Need a Speaker?

      If you are looking for a speaker for your group or organization, representatives from the Iowa Department for the Blind are available to provide information on the services available to Iowans with vision loss or to provide training on techniques helpful to those with vision loss.  If desired, CEUs can be offered.  If you are interested in arranging a presentation, contact Carolyn Hicklin at 800-362-2587 or

      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, contact the Independent Living program or fill out an on-line referral form.  We look forward to hearing from you!


      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.