Cleveland Sight Center Vision Rehabilitation Pilot Program Launched

Cleveland Sight Center launched its first community-based, vision rehabilitation and technology training program, EnVision Independence, in Lakewood last week. The Sight Center has, for many years, helped individuals who are blind or visually impaired learn rehabilitative daily living skills to help them live more independently. This training typically takes place at the Sight Center’s University Circle location as well as during in-home visits for clients across Northeast Ohio. The Westerly Apartments is the location of this community-based pilot program, designed to offer in-home vision rehabilitation training using a class-like setting.

There is no cost for the classes, which are being funded through a grant from The Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation. All Lakewood senior citizens who are blind as well as those who are visually impaired due to macular degeneration, glaucoma, and other eye diseases, are encouraged to participate. “The change in a client’s confidence and outlook on life once they have completed their vision rehabilitation is remarkable,” says Peggy Keating, Director of Senior and Outreach Services at Cleveland Sight Center, “We hope to expand this program to communities throughout Northeast Ohio after the pilot program is complete.”

Each EnVision Independence session lasts seven weeks, with classes taking place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in one of the Westerly apartments. The classes are taught by licensed social workers and rehabilitative professionals, including rehabilitative specialists who are blind. Group counseling and mobility skills (techniques to navigate the physical environment within and outside of the home), are included in the program. The apartment is furnished with special adaptive equipment and low vision aids. Each participant will receive $350 worth of low vision/vision rehabilitation aids to keep, and will have the option to request in-home follow up.

Technology training at the adjacent Barton Center complements the daily living skills training. Cleveland Sight Center staff will introduce voice-activated, large text, and other software programs designed to enable individuals with vision loss to communicate effectively using the latest computer technology. More than $15,000 worth of software and equipment has been donated to the Barton Center, and is available for use by all Lakewood residents with low vision. The Lakewood Department of Aging is working closely with the Sight Center to identify clients for future sessions of EnVision Independence (transportation may be arranged through Lakewood Senior Services). Lakewood residents interested in enrolling in EnVision Independence may contact the Lakewood Department of Aging at 216.226.9339, or Debi Welsby at Cleveland Sight Center, 216.791.8118, ext. 228. Cleveland Sight Center, a nonprofit agency founded in 1906, provides people of all ages who are blind or visually impaired with educational, rehabilitative, preventative, and many other vision support services. The Sight Center also offers recreational activities, including sailing, golf, beep-baseball, crafts and more, and has a camp, Highbrook Lodge, in Chardon where campers of all ages can enjoy summer fun.

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Volume 3, Issue 25, Posted 1:32 PM, 12.04.2007