Having your vision change drastically at any age can be a difficult experience. When this occurs, many have been faced with the new challenges of not just understanding how their vision has changed, but also learning adaptive ways to continue to live their lives with the same independence as before.
Lighthouse has long taught students nonvisual skills and skills useful for people who have low vision, but this class takes a new innovative approach to using low vision.
LightHouse Orientation & Mobility instructor Gina de Grazia and Rehabilitation Teacher Dawn Leeflang know that with the right training, people can work through these challenges and thrive. This is why they’ve created a new virtual introductory program for adults called Low Vision Skills: Putting It All Together.
The program debuted in October for adult participants 55 and over. For two weeks they met on Zoom for two hours a day, twice a week. Gina explains some of the goals of the course and how upcoming sessions in 2021 is open to adults of all ages, including those who are clients of the California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR).
“We want to provide students with strong foundational low vision skills that will maximize their safe and independent living skills. In future courses, when we are working with DOR students, we will be focused on skills that help with gaining and retaining employment.”
During the October course, students learned from University of California, Berkeley Low Vision Optometrist, Dr. Crystal Wang, about the changes in their vision, how to address the physicality of these changes, as well as techniques to work with any useable vision. Open discussions between Dr. Wang and the students provided an informative and supportive dialogue for the course participants. Students were also taught practical low vision skills for daily living, including a focus on both low and high-tech devices and tools by Certified Low Vision Therapists. Every topic discussed, and device, agency, or other assistive trainings referenced during the four sessions were compiled on a resource list for students at the end of the program, allowing students access to all the information they’ll need to continue their low vision education and support. Future sessions will have a similar structure.
Those sessions will occur in January, February and March of 2021 for adults of all ages. More information about each session will be provided in this newsletter as the dates approach. You can reach out to Gina at GDigrazia@lighthouse-sf.org at or Dawn at DLeeflang@lighthouse-sf.org with specific questions.