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Weeklong Trainings -- Senior Orientation

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    Secondary Tasks

      Learning BrailleEvery year, the Independent Living program hosts at least one week of intensive training for seniors at the Department for the Blind in Des Moines. Seniors who are already receiving services from the program travel to Des Moines and spend a week devoted to learning skills that will help them adjust to their vision loss and build their confidence. They also are given the opportunity to meet others who are going through similar experiences as a result of vision loss.

      The weeks, called Senior Orientation, are often a highlight for both the Independent Living staff and the participants.

      Students arrive on a Monday, and they take classes in our Adult Adjustment & Orientation Center to learn Braille, mobility with a long white cane, how to cook without vision and how use a computer without vision. They also are taking classes in industrial arts and crafts, to help build their confidence.Learning to type

      Participants are guided through the week by the Department's independent living teachers, who provide the instruction for all the classes as well as any additional support and transportation. Once the seniors complete the week, they will have enough training to begin the process of living independently. Some may choose to enroll in the Orientation Center full time, others will continue to receive visits from an independent living teacher in their home to hone their skills.

      The intention of the Senior Orientation week, and of the Independent Living program, is to build a person's confidence no matter what stage of vision loss they are experiencing.

      Learning to cookHere is what some recent participants said about their week in Senior Orientation:

      "The things I wanted to learn and needed to learn I learned. I haven't sewn in 24 months, and I'm so glad I haven't given away my quilting supplies because I'm going to do it again." -- Linda

      "I started realizing I was taking back a part of my life. Even though we were pushed a lot, I felt very taken care of by the staff." -- Harold

      "My week was fantastic. I enjoyed all the teachers and all the support." -- Carol

      "I used the sewing machine for the first time in 25 years. I just feel much more confident." -- KateMaking chicken salad

      To learn more about the Independent Living program, click here.

      Read some of our success stories about Iowans who have learned to live independently despite their vision loss.

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