4 Things the State is Doing to Accommodate Blind Californians
For those who have just found out they’ve lost their sight or will lose it at some point, the future can be a scary thing. The thought of going through life with low- or no vision will often lead people to lean fully on those they love and trust. This is understandable but not necessarily the best thing to do. After all, nobody wants to rely on their family and friends to take care of their every need.
For this reason, it’s highly recommended that newly blind individuals seek out support from professionals and organizations in addition to loved ones. Professionally trained and highly experienced people have the ability to teach those with low- or no vision how to carry on with their day-to-day lives, meaning these individuals won’t have to rely on others and can continue going about life in much the same way they may have otherwise.
That said, knowing where to find these professionals can feel nearly impossible. Luckily, here in the state of California, a simple call to the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) will do the trick. Here are just a few of the awesome services offered by the state to accommodate the blind.
The first thing to consider is how you’ll perform such tasks as combing your hair, cooking meals, and cleaning your home. Believe it or not, these things can be accomplished by visually impaired individuals, and you can learn as well.
The California DOR offers two types of ADL training:
- The first is a private teacher who visits the homes of his or her clients and helps them learn to accomplish day-to-day tasks over a long period of time.
- For those who’d like a more intensive version of this training, the Orientation Center for the Blind is an excellent option. This residential facility is dedicated to helping those with extremely low or no vision become independent once again through a rigorous program which lasts 7–9 months.
Along with the challenges of carrying on with day-to-day life under your belt, learning to read can be an especially daunting task. While some blind individuals choose to go through life without ever trying to learn to read Braille, taking the time to learn the basics of this tool is highly encouraged as it can help when it comes to understanding signage, reading prescription bottles, and taking short notes for yourself.
Residents of California who need to learn Braille can do so through the Counselor/Teacher program offered by the DOR.
Whether or not you can read using Braille, things like books, magazines, and newspapers can still play a big role in your life. The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped is a great resource for finding Braille reading materials. Additionally, this library carries talking books and devices for taking advantage of Radio Reading Services, which allow the user to listen to local and national newspapers and publications.
Californians can access this library through four regional branches located in Sacramento, Fresno, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, respectively.
The final step in regaining independence as a person with low vision is finding employment. Unfortunately, although the blind and low-vision community is more mobile than ever in this day and age, the employment rate for these individuals is still only at 62%. However, you can definitely help raise this percentage.
Fortunately, California is here to help. The state knows we, as a society, can do better and is working to remedy the situation through the use of counseling, peer group support, vocational and pre-vocational training, and more. All of these services can be accessed through DOR locations throughout the state.
California truly is dedicated to improving the lives of its blind residents. We hope to see a noticeable change in the quality of life for those Californians with visual disabilities in the near future and can’t wait to see what services the state decides to offer the low-vision population next.