BESB Independent Living Services
Independent Living Services are provided by the Adult Services Program at BESB. This Program maintains the registry for all individuals certified to be legally blind and for children who are visually impaired or legally blind. In order to qualify for available services, an eye report is required which documents the legal blindness or visual impairment. Once the individual is registered, an Adult Services social worker conducts an intake interview with the individual. During this process, the social worker provides information regarding available benefits and arranges for the initiation of appropriate services. The social worker may refer the eligible individual for Orientation and Mobility training, Rehabilitation Teaching, Children’s Services, or Vocational Rehabilitation services. The social worker may also refer the individual for outside services needed to assist in gathering necessary supports from the community.
The Rehabilitation Teaching and Orientation and Mobility staff work with the individual to maximize independent living skills. Rehabilitation Teaching focuses on instructing individuals in the use of adaptive devices, techniques and strategies for coping with vision loss while maintaining independence in their homes and communities. Areas of instruction may include meal preparation, financial management (writing checks, paying bills), shopping, household cleaning, and personal grooming and hygiene. Orientation and Mobility focuses on the development of independent travel skills to assist the individual in safely maneuvering within the home and community. Instruction in the use of a white cane, training in the use of low vision magnification devices, and techniques for using environmental cues for orientation purposes can also be provided.
The Adult Services Program works closely with statewide low vision ophthalmologists and optometrists to provide evaluation of vision needs and prescribe appropriate magnification devices. In addition, the Adult Services Program maintains listings of area support groups for individuals who are legally blind and their family members to assist in the process of adjusting to vision loss.
Outreach and training to staff at senior centers, residential facilities and assisted living locations are also available so that staff that work with individuals who are legally blind can acquire an understanding of the accommodations that are available to foster greater independence for participants and residents who experience vision loss.
Additional Independent Living Services: