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From the Director

Primary Tasks

    Secondary Tasks

      Karen KeningerIt’s been an amazing summer. A cascade of staff changes resulted from the early retirement program that concluded at the end of June. We hosted a dynamic and successful series of transition programs for youth, and carried on with the activities and services that result in jobs and independence for blind or visually impaired Iowans.

      We have received a group of grants to carry out an oral history and document-collection project. See the related item on participating on page 5. Our building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places for Statewide Significance this summer, and with grant support, we’re hoping to amend that to national significance.

      For the past two years we’ve been concentrating on public education and outreach. The result to date is positive, with a 17 percent increase in referrals over two years ago.We would like to develop closer relationships with eye care professionals as part of this effort. To that end, in July, we sponsored two focus groups with optometrists and ophthalmologists to discover better ways of coordinating our services with theirs.I found it very informative as the participants were candid in their discussions about their perceptions of the Department’s philosophy and services.

      I believe IDB’s goals and the goals of all participants in the focus groups are essentially the same. We all want to maximize the independence of all blind and visually impaired Iowans. We want each person to have the ability and the confidence to live up to their full potential as a human being regardless of their vision loss.

      Successfully compensating for reduced vision in our vision-centric world requires each person to develop a complex set of tools and techniques, along with a high level of self-confidence and a solid network of support. We each have our areas of expertise and our roles to play, and only by combining the best from everyone can we truly help Iowans who are visually impaired reach their maximum potential at work, at home and in the community.

      I’m looking forward to the beginning of a healthy and productive dialog that will benefit all the people we serve.


      Karen Keninger