Kathy Kroon is an instructor for CLB’s Foundations of Adjustment to Blindness (FAB) class. During the December 2018 class, Kathy taught Shae Warren many skills that will help her adjust to living with vision loss.
CLB: Tell me about your client…
KATHY KROON: I instructed Shae Warren in CLB’s Foundations of Adjustment to Blindness (FAB) class held in December 2018. She succeeded in the program, displayed her commitment to caring for her two children (ages 8 and 14), and was always compassionate and helpful towards others in the class. Shae has experienced many life challenges; she has type 1 diabetes and has been visually impaired since the age of 25 due to diabetic retinopathy. Regardless, she remains optimistic and excited about her future.
CLB: What did you teach the client?
KATHY KROON:Cooking and baking lessons. Travel training. Independent living skills.
CLB: How have you benefited from CLB?
SHAE WARREN: I learned travel skills including riding the Metro – how to look for and identify with my cane identifier bumps on the ground of the Metro platform, orient myself, listen to trains on the tracks, and board/off board the train; how to touch bus stops and locate identifying bus numbers; how to walk with my cane and navigate sidewalks by identifying traffic stops and bumps on the ground, and listening to cars and their movements. As part of the FAB program, I walked to the neighborhood store by myself, shopped and purchased items.
The FAB program instructed me on how to experiment with recipes and cook for my children for the first time. I learned the proper and safer way to cook. Acquired skills included utilizing a talking thermometer, labeling items in the kitchen, using utensils properly, organizing the fridge and freezer, operating the stove and microwave, and safety tips including placing knives face down in the dishwasher, opening the oven from the side, and using an oven reacher instead of mitts.
I was taught how to clean, make my bed, and how to wash and dry clothing by placing elevated stickers on the washing machine’s buttons to indicate the settings. These stickers can be used on a variety of devices including the stove top to signify when the stove is on or off.
CLB also taught me how to use various assistive devices. These include: a ‘pen finder’ mobile application which takes a photo of an item (at any angle) and speaks the identification back to you; an application which when placed on clothing, dictates the color of the article; the eVison app which takes pictures in small print, downloads the text and reads it aloud; and iBill Money Identifier (produced by the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing) which is a device that reads currency amount when bills are inserted in it – the device is small enough to easily fit on a keychain.
CLB: What has CLB done to aid in your independence, success and health?
SHAE WARREN: CLB has provided instruction in alternative techniques for living independently and safely. I was initially discouraged but gained confidence through FAB, and now have the assurance to advocate for myself. I can go places alone, catch the bus, and travel without fear. I am no longer skeptical about the usefulness of a cane. I do not have a lot of support, but now I do not need to wait or ask for assistance. My health has also improved as I am walking a lot, and getting more exercise and movement in my daily life. I have also been able to care more for my family and cook food that my kids can enjoy. Often my son cooks alongside me. I previously wasn’t able to tell if food was done, and cooking was an incredibly difficult endeavor. My long term goal is to become massage therapist and I am exploring my capabilities.
CLB: Would you recommend CLB?
SHAE WARREN: Yes, a great opportunity especially for people with visual impairment and little support. I absolutely enjoyed the staff, loved working with them, and whole heartedly recommend the CLB team and the FAB program. I am very appreciate and look forward to taking another FAB class and hope to work with CLB in the future to further extend my knowledge, engage in the community, comprehend new techniques, and learn Braille. I hope individuals considering the program just give the FAB program a shot to help them along their journey. I left with more confidence, a sense of security and lasting methods to keep my frustration low and stay positive.