Independent Living Project Specialists travel throughout the state to provide individuals with an opportunity to meet others with vision loss while learning some of the basic skills to enable them to stay independent. Community-Based Trainings (CBT) offer a hands-on experience that not only boosts an individual’s self-confidence but often leaves him or her wanting more. Although CBTs can be modified to meet the specific needs of the participants, the introductory training includes:
- A discussion about the importance of a positive attitude. Our goal is to promote a positive adjustment to vision loss, and this discussion sets the stage for a positive training experience. During this discussion, we also address the use of a white cane for safe, independent travel within the community and beyond.
- Information on and assistance with obtaining access to audible books and magazines through the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped and newspaper reading programs such as:
- An introduction to Braille. The group discusses how Braille may be useful to them, and an introductory lesson is provided.
- Hands-on experience with dialing a telephone without vision. The group also learns how to access free directory assistance.
- Various skills for managing finances such as identifying currency by touch and writing a check using a check-writing guide.
- Communications skills, such as taking phone messages and creating grocery lists, so the information can be retrieved at a later time.
- Techniques for measuring ingredients, pouring liquids and cutting items safely.
- How to label items around the home, such as canned goods, medications and clothing for easier identification.
- Simple modifications to home appliances (e.g. oven dial, microwave, washer and dryer) so they can be set by touch.
Some basic requirements for offering a community-based training in your area:
- A minimum of three participants.
- A minimum of 6 hours of training is provided over the course of one or more days.
- Participants must register with the Iowa Department for the Blind prior to attending the training.
If you would like to offer a community-based training in your area or know someone who may be interested in participating, contact the Department.