Working With a Vision Loss

From the Vision Rehab Podcast: Working With a Vision Loss.

Hello, and thank you for joining me today on Low Vision Tech Topics. My name is Steve Kelley and I’m a certified vision rehabilitation therapist based in Maine.

Today’s topic is working with a vision loss. If you’ve developed a recent vision loss from macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease, or some other cause, you may be wondering how this will affect your ability to continue working or get that next job. An acquired vision loss later in life can certainly be a challenge. Very often, we have little experience with others in our community who might also have a vision loss, and be working.  So we just assume that a vision loss will prevent us from continuing to work or do many of the activities we love to do.

People with a vision loss work every day in nearly every profession imaginable. According to the American Foundation for the Blind, nearly a million people in the US are employed with a vision impairment or blindness.

So what are the next steps for you? All too often, we hear from our eye doctor, “Theres nothing more that can be done.”  What they mean, really of course, is that there might not be anything more that can be done to reverse or correct the vision loss—there is plenty more that can be done to keep working or get beck to work.

Check out your state’s Bureau of Employment Services or Department of. Education. Some states will have a specific Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired. These state agencies can be a great resource for finding professionals who will help you get some extra training and even funding, for adaptive skills and devices that can help compensate for a vision loss. You’ll find professionals like Vision Rehabilitation Therapists, Orientation and Mobility Specialists, and Access Technology Specialists who will introduce you to a whole new world of skills, adaptations and technology that can really get you back to the work you love to do.

You might also be wondering how much will services like this  cost? The good news is that most of the services provided through state vocational rehab agencies costs nothing out of pocket, or is based on a sliding scale!

You can also find similar services through community agencies specifically for visual impairments or blindness, and through doctors who specialize in low vision.

So, how do you find these professionals where you live? If you’re a computer user, one of the easiest ways is the VisionAware Directory of Services. This is a great place to get started. The web address is visionaware.org/directory or just put Vision Aware Directory of Services into a search engine like Google or DuckDuckGo. If you’re not a computer user, try calling the APH Connect Center for help finding these services. The number there is 800-232-5463. And let me repeat that for you 800-232-5463. They’re available during business hours and will return your call if you leave a message.

Another great resource to sharpen your employment skills or learn more about adapting to the workplace with a vision loss is the Hadley Institute fir the Blind and Visually Impaired. Check out their Forsythe Center for Employment and Entrepreneurship, and Instructional videos linked from the home page at www.hadley.edu.You can also just give them a call directly at 800-323-4238.

Thanks for joining me today on this episode of Low Vision Tech Topics. Again, my name is Steve Kelley and you can find me at lowvisiontech.com. I look forward to seeing you again on the next episode of low vision tech topics. Have a wonderful day!

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