Making Interactions Easier for Your Legally Blind Clients

Making things easier….for People with Vision Loss come to appointments

 

·         Pay attention to lighting levels, glare from windows, trouble hearing, feeling isolated or stress about transit – mobility.

 

·         Assessing fatigue, the intensity of adapting, and others attitudes may give you a clue of what priorities may be most pressing.

 

·         Find the humor in the crazy things that happen…encourage them to share their embarrassing moments.

 

·         Give them advance notice when possible on appointment time or schedule changes, so that those transit services that require 1-2 week advance notice can be utilized efficiently.

 

·         Provide electronic documents in Word or Excel. Make sure your web page is accessible, with labeled graphics, links and buttons. Use headings and form fields. Ask ahead time about the size font that works, or if they prefer audio recordings or other formats.  Check in with them about what is changing or is needed ongoing. Consider an old iPad with earbuds in your lobby to provide documents in any size or speech readily.

 

·         Consider using the client’s phone to record sessions, as it can be hard to track and process.

 

·         Figure out a way to know what time it is in session.  

 

·         Figure out a plan ahead of time for getting safely out of the office if they are emotional when session is done. It takes a huge amount of focus and memory recall to pay attention to canes, dogs or trying to navigate.

 

·         Remember that often vision fluctuates and is more impacting if in unknown environments.

 

·         Work with them on outside perceptions of the are you blind enough. Remember that it is not uncommon for completely – totally blind people with good adaptive skills, to be told “you don’t look blind”. And you are faking…

 

·         Encourage them to reduce the use of vision, encourage them to switch to audio and tactile methods, even if they can “still” see some.  Explore the resistance.

 

·         Help them to call for training with Oregon Commission for the Blind, especially if currently or want to work or over 55.   They will need to identify what things are hard for them, or what hobbies, and tasks that they are no longer doing. Expect excuses and justifications. Sometimes it helps to explore how they would manage if wife or whoever, is unable to be home. Often since they don’t imagine any solution, they don’t see a point in trying. Yet most everything can be done, though differently.

 

·         Help them look for a good low vision support group. There are national list serves, and conferences with training and others facing similar emotional challenges. Each has a different age group, or socioeconomic following.  In addition a wealth of resources are available from www.afb.org or www.blindskills.com or many others.

Smart ways to release stress - Shaking & Dancing

Mind Body Self Care Skills - Shaking & Dancing

Have you ever been so frustrated and just don’t want to yell, but yet you need to let it out somehow? Or maybe you did something big, set a boundary or were really vulnerable, and you are feeling that shaky, weird energy? This is where shaking with or without dancing is helpful. It sounds too woo-woo, and maybe a bit scary. Hang on, it is actually pretty simple, can be done anywhere, and can be quite effective in letting your body recover from life’s upsetting events. It is my most favorite self-care mind body skill - at the moment. :)

According to research you can find at The Center of Mind Body Medicine at this link https://cmbm.org/research/published-research/ These techniques done regularly really do work to heal many chronic illnesses, post-traumatic stress disorder and more. It works by helping your body deactivate the flight or fight center of your brain, so you can feel more peaceful, and think better.

So how and when do you do it? Preferably, frequently at least daily, or whenever you feel tense or frustrated, or even when you need to focus, like before a test. Shaking is best to be done somewhere you will not feel judged, or worry about what body part might jiggle. You can even do this in the bathroom stall. Typically takes 10 minutes yet if you do a shorter version, three minutes can make a positive difference. Be aware, that this can be a way to release powerful emotions, just keep going through the tears, or anger or joy if you do not block the feelings. It is OK. Let the emotions flow through. Trust the process.

Step 1: Turn on Shaking Music, it really helps to have strong rhythm, with drums for the shaking such as a cardio workout track, remix or meditation. The dance music can be light and airy, or fast and definite, or bouncy easy to dance to music. This choice will change with your needs. Plan on a few minutes at first and try to work up to about 6 minutes of both shaking and dancing music.

Step 2: Close your eyes, standing is best, though you can do this in bed or sitting too, if that works better for you. If your balance is poor with your eyes closed, use a fingertip to touch the wall, or the back of a chair.

Step 3: start jiggling your ankles in your shoes, see how loose you can make them, and work your way up through all your joints. Do not forget your jaw and head. Breath normally, though you might want to focus on letting your tummy jiggle too. Jiggle as hard as your body can without harming yourself. At first you may notice twinges as the vertebrae and other parts of the body release their tension. Keep going until the music stops.

Step 4: Then pause for about 30 seconds of silence, turn on dance music, and let your body move how it will, let it guide you.

Step 5: Continue for about 3-6 minutes depending on your level of fitness and endurance.

Step 6: Take a few full breaths, how do you feel now? You may want to note or journal your experiences.

Let me know what you think about this mind body skill.

New York City Sunset Cruise - Orange sky and black buildings

New York City Sunset Cruise - Orange sky and black buildings