The Independent Living Statewide Project Specialist travels throughout the state to conduct Community-Based Trainings (CBT). These sessions provide Iowans experiencing vision loss an opportunity to meet others in the same circumstances and to learn basic skills that enable them to remain independent. The hands-on training not only boosts individual self-confidence but often inspires a desire to learn more. Although CBTs can be modified to meet the specific needs of the participants, the introductory training includes:

  • A discussion about the importance of a positive attitude. Our goal is to promote a positive adjustment to vision loss and to set the stage for a positive training experience. During this discussion, we introduce the use of a white cane for safe, independent travel within the community and beyond.
  • Information about and assistance with obtaining access to audio books and magazines through the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped and newspaper reading services such as APRIS, IRIS, Newsline, and Tri-States AIS.
  • An introduction to Braille. The usefulness of Braille is highlighted during an introductory lesson.
  • Hands-on experience with dialing a telephone without vision and using access free directory assistance. 
  • Various skills for managing finances such as identifying currency by touch and writing a check using a check-writing guide. 
  • Communications skills such as taking phone messages and creating grocery lists so the information can be retrieved later.
  • Techniques for measuring ingredients, pouring liquids, and cutting food safely.  
  • How to label items for easier identification around the home like canned goods, medications, and clothing.
  • Simple modifications to common appliances (e.g. oven dial, microwave, washer and dryer) so they can be set by touch.

Some basic requirements for offering a community-based training in your area:

  • A minimum of three participants.
  • A scheduled session of 6 hours of training provided over the course of one or more days.
  • Participants must register with the Iowa Department for the Blind prior to attending the training.

If you would like to offer a community-based training in your area or know someone who may be interested in participating, contact the Department.