Jack is an 89 years young gentleman who I have been working with for a few months. I have never met a more eager to learn individual when it comes to learning more about the iPhone than its basic capabilities.
Each week he comes in to my office with at least 15 questions, he records our sessions and also takes meticulous notes. Now that he has the basics down, we are currently learning how to type using voiceover so he may enter his passwords into specific apps.
He decided he wanted to add an app where he could send money to his children quickly and efficiently. We downloaded both the Zell and Venmo apps to see which one would work better. After reviewing, we decided to go with Zell so we created an account. We worked on this remotely as he was not able to come into the office. It took us an hour and a half to get the account created. Anything that could go wrong, did! He never lost his patience even when I wanted to pull my own hair out! It is a beautiful thing to work with a rare gem such as Jack!
William is a 96 year old WWII vet who loves to tell stories of his past. He talks about his father from Finland who fought in the Finish Civil War, and who was born in 1888!! As an army vet himself, William served time in the Philippines and Papua New Guinea. After the war, William developed a love of healthy living and fast cars. In fact, after moving to Naples, William’s primary job was to repair and maintain a fleet of high end, one-of-a-kind and rare cars owned by a few uber-rich Naples residents.
As mentioned, William is also into health. After suffering from two heart attacks 10 years ago, he gave up all medications and switched to vitamins and distilled water. In fact, William swears that distilled water is the key to longevity.
Mary is a medically fragile 24-year-old client. She is a significantly physically impaired young lady who spent the better part of last summer in the hospital after suffering a cardiac incident. She is non-verbal and has little to no fine or gross motor control. Mary uses a ChatFusion device to communicate with her nurse caregivers and family. She accesses the device through the use of head mounted switches – one switch steps through the choices while pressing the other switch causes the device to ‘speak’ the selected word or phrase out loud for her.
During my first visit, Mary’s mom informed me that she was not at all tech savvy and really hoped I would be able to update the ChatFusion to offer more functional choices for Mary. (It had not been updated since she was in high school!) I had never worked with this specific brand of augmentative communication unit before, so I searched online for a manual and spent many hours learning how to work the device and make changes to the settings and choice menus. I was genuinely concerned about making ANY changes since I knew this client’s ability to communicate completely relied on this device. I feared if I deleted something by mistake, or broke the device completely, this would leave the client with no means to communicate… No Pressure there LOL!
Polly is 87-years young with the vim and vigor of a 65 year-old. About four years ago, she was diagnosed with macular degeneration and glaucoma. At the time, Polly was very concerned about her diagnosis and therefore enrolled in the Independent Living Classes. Polly was quick to implement the tools and techniques she had learned into her daily home life. This enabled her to continue to live independently.
Over the past three years, Polly became a permanent client “fixture” at Lighthouse of Collier. She used Uber or Paratransit to attend weekly various classes/events including: a sewing group, Out and About events, cooking and accessible art classes and several support groups.
Polly also came regularly for assistive technology lessons to learn how to access her smart phone and tablet. Today she can independently use various accessibility options, including: Select-to-Speak, Hey Google and Zoom. Additionally, Polly learned how to use Envision AI to scan/read paperwork and bar codes. Not bad for this spritely 87 year-old. Just goes to show – age is just a number!!
Over this past year, I have met many different people with all sorts of beautiful personalities. Just recently, I started working with a most amazing man named Terry. His total and sudden blindness due to a virus should have in all rights incapacitated him emotionally and physically. He has embraced his blindness so completely and has not only thrown himself into learning everything possible such as orientation and mobility, taking the ILS classes, but has begun to learn navigating his iPhone with voiceover that I sometimes forget that he is a beginner! He takes direction and works on his assignments very seriously.
When he comes into Lighthouse of Collier with his wife, they both engage others in conversation as well. He comes into our office with an upbeat attitude and his willingness to help others in their journey to adapting to blindness, but he also has a wonderful heart and our other clients seem to flock to his positivity.
I cannot help admire this client and wish I would have had him around when I lost my vision to help motivate me as I see him do others!
I started working with William from the very first day I began as an instructor for the Lighthouse of Collier. William has been totally blind now for a few years. He participates in many different group classes provided from the Lighthouse such as: iOS class where we provide instruction on using iPhones, weekly support groups, history club and book club as well as spending time with me once per week going over his iPhone.
Dan is a 78-year old client of the Lighthouse of Collier. He sought out the services of the Lighthouse because he was having trouble reading. He has hereditary cataracts in addition to glaucoma.
His vision impairment was affecting his activities of daily living. But, what upset him the most was how difficult it had become for him to read print. He is an elder in his church. His greatest passion is teaching the Bible and providing sound guidance regarding its interpretation. In order to accomplish his ministry, he spends many hours studying history and theology. He had a CCTV, and magnifiers that were supplied to him by the instructor. However, these low vision devices were not helping him to continue his studies to the extent that he needed. His eyes would become too tired.
Linda is an older blind client in her seventies living with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) and age related macular degeneration (AMD). Linda lives alone in a condo in a 55 and older community. She stated that she never realized how often she got help from others until it was no longer available.
The Lighthouse of Collier received a grant about 6 months ago to purchase iPads for the children to use. This is a story about how the use of an iPad has impacted one of our children.
Jake is a six year old boy living with severe Cortical Visual Impairment. Due to CVI, he displays trouble visually attending to objects for very long, tracking, and understanding visual information presented to him.
In the short time I have been working for Lighthouse Of Collier, I have had the honor of working with quite a few wonderful people.
I have been working with Mark for a little over a month on having him get to know his iPhone by using only voiceover and not struggling to use his vision. We have been going over opening and closing apps, navigating those apps, utilizing Siri in making phone calls and sending text messages and recently, we have started downloading and using Apps such as Be My Eyes and Seeing AI. Mark is very quick at learning each item I send his way and even enjoys the little homework projects I give him! He is very excited that he can communicate with family and friends again without having to ask for help in doing all of these things. Great job Mark!
Purchase Seeing Beyond Blindness
If you would like to own one of these cocktail table books, please donate a suggested selling price of $35.00 to Lighthouse of Collier and we will send you one straight away.
Lighthouse of Collier dedicated the book to Art Bookbinder, a man who could see beyond blindness. He was a great friend and leader. May he rest in peace. August 1942 – April 2020.