Jeremy is an 18-year-old student with cortical vision impairment and cerebral palsy. Communication is a challenge for Jeremy, as he is nonverbal and has difficulty controlling his movements. As a result, it is important to communicate with Jeremy’s family to formulate goals that are meaningful to him. One particular goal was to increase social interaction with family, friends and teachers using a voice generating switch.
Lighthouse of Collier, Florida Division of Blind Services (DBS) and Jeremy’s parents all contributed to purchasing a switch, heavy-duty mounting arm and mounting plate. Jeremy’s father and brother pitched in to record approximately ten messages, ranging from hilarious movie quotes to favorite foods and music preferences.
Marion is a cultured and intelligent retired art-dealer (“Colorist”) and self-described “foodie” who is functionally blind from a history of issues with her vitreous fluid. She has little remaining vision, which occasionally enables her to see high contrast icons on her phone. However, Marion is unable to read print and requires the white cane for mobility outside of the home.
Marion has been a client off/on for the past few years and has participated in the art/clay classes and ILS workshops. She also received assistance with using the CAT Bus and self-advocacy training to request shopping assistance at Publix (to purchase hard-to-find cooking ingredients for her artistic cuisine).
As a result of the legislative grant, Lighthouse of Collier is able to provide a robust home services program. Through that program, services are provided to Nathan. He is an elderly veteran man living alone and has no family to take care of him in the area. Nathan cannot drive and did not have access to resources that would provide him rides when he initially became a client.
Nathan has learned tools, tips, techniques, and trainings to make his everyday life easier. One of the most useful tools he has learned is how to use Collier Area Paratransit System to take him around town and to important appointments. Nathan has become more independent because of his ability to obtain transportation. More information on this service can be found at: https://www.colliercountyfl.gov/your-government/divisions-f-r/public-transit-neighborhood-enhancement/our-services/collier-area-paratransit-system-7568
Justin is a 10-year-old boy living with Down syndrome, amblyopia, and a recent diagnosis of congenital cataracts. Justin’s mother reports what a difficult time the pandemic has been for Justin. Video conferences cause significant stress for him and have been triggering behavioral problems.
Justin’s mother reached out to the Lighthouse because Justin had a recent eye exam and was prescribed new lenses. She explained that these new lenses enabled Justin to read independently with ease, which is something he had struggled to do for some time. These struggles were frustrating for Justin, who loves to read. She stated how these lenses would meaningfully help him this upcoming school year, especially with the new online platform, but it would be difficult to afford them.
Lighthouse of Collier and the Naples Lions Club agreed to each provide half of the amount needed to purchase the new lenses. When Justin’s mother was informed of the good news, she was ecstatic. She stated that this was a “ray of light in the midst of these difficult times,” and that she was beyond grateful for the generosity of the Lions Club and Lighthouse of Collier.
Kathy is a young, working-age woman who went completely blind about eight years ago. She has been receiving services from the Lighthouse on and off for the past five years. The first four of those years, Kathy made minimal progress while she struggled with medical issues. However, over the past year her health has improved, making it possible for her to attend classes on a regular basis.
In that time, Kathy learned how to navigate a computer using only JAWS screen reading software and Windows keyboard commands. She is quick to grasp and retain new concepts with little assistance. In fact, she often troubleshoots a problem on her own. Kathy’s newly learned computer skills make it easy for her to attend remote classes the Lighthouse offers. She regularly attends the Tuesday coffee chat, independent living workshops, Wednesday support group, and history/book club, and meets for individual technology lessons.
As a new client with the Lighthouse in 2013, single, totally blind, and having just moved from Chicago to Naples, Susan required extensive orientation and mobility support. After several months of instruction, Susan learned to navigate her apartment community and nearby shopping areas. She also gained an understanding of the city layout after being provided with her own tactile/braille map of Naples.
Susan became a familiar face at the Lighthouse. She attended braille classes, pursued technology training for JAWS screen reading and voiceover, and received one-on-one lessons to learn skills such as using her Instant Pot, creating calendar appointments through her Google Home Mini, and help with tips to sort and identify her medications. Over time, Susan’s technology skills were so advanced that she was one of only a few clients who had mastered the ability to play podcasts and free library movies on her iPhone.
Ronald is a retired middle school teacher and self-proclaimed magician. Since January 2018, Ronald has been homebound after a stroke caused left-side paralysis and vision loss. Ronald had been a social and active person, and struggled with asking for help, ultimately finding himself feeling isolated. Ronald came to the Lighthouse with the goals of learning how to order grocery delivery so as not to rely on his elderly neighbor, how to use Paratransit, and attend a weekly support group. Before COVID-19, Ronald was making progress. He used Paratransit for the first time to attend a support group, where he met three others who also had disabilities and lived alone.
Ronald learned to use basic key commands on a screen to enlarge web searches, and to review and purchase items that his cousin added to his online shopping cart. Also, Ronald learned about GoGo Grocery, a service of GoGo Grandparent, which takes phone orders and completes the delivery without having to use a computer. Ronald stills needs encouragement to use the computer, but soon this plan B will become routine.
Jack is an 89-year-old war veteran with significant vision and hearing impairments who lives alone. He was recently released from the hospital after suffering heart problems that had become serious due to not correctly taking his prescribed medications.
Jack is now able to successfully adhere to his prescriptions, and understands how to identify and track his medications from morning to evening, day to day, and week to week, keeping him out of the hospital.
A little over four years ago, Bob lost his wife of more than 30 years to diabetes. Naturally, he felt depressed and isolated. His situation was even more difficult as he is totally blind and profoundly hearing impaired due to a condition called Usher syndrome. Without a partner at home or family nearby to help him drive, shop, or read mail, Bob was vulnerable. A concerned neighbor urged Bob to go to the Lighthouse for help. Bob enrolled in classes to learn how to access his iPhone, attended support groups, and received orientation and mobility training.
Now, Bob has mastered the use of his iPhone. He can send texts, read emails, schedule calendar appointments, use Uber, and other important tools. He has also developed a close network of friends who are blind or visually impaired, and who help each other navigate difficult times.
Dan is an 83-year-old man who was referred to Lighthouse of Collier by his home health care nurse. Dan is a self-described “hermit” who lives alone in a trailer in southeast Naples and receives limited income. His son lived nearby but recently moved out-of-state. About 10 years ago, Dan stopped driving due to legal blindness and other health conditions. Without help, Dan’s situation could be tenuous.
Dan was unaware that he could have fresh groceries delivered to his home. The Lighthouse instructor downloaded the Walmart grocery app and helped Dan learn to search for and add items to his favorites list. With practice, Dan will be able to order healthy, fresh foods. Dan is close to reaching his goals and keeping his independence.
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.