October is Awareness Month for the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired South Carolina (ABVI). In honor of World Sight Day (October 8th), our 84th Birthday (October 14th) and White Cane Day (October 15th), ABVI is celebrating all month by bringing awareness to the more than 15,000 adults with visual disabilities living in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester Counties.

This Thursday, October 8th, we celebrate World Sight Day.

Did you know, according to the Essilor Vision Foundation, 1 in 4 children in the U.S. has a vision problem that affects their ability to learn, and nearly 80 percent of vision impairment can be treated or cured if detected early enough?

For this reason, we join vision organizations across the world this week in encouraging you to schedule eye exams for you and your loved ones. 

Adaptive Strategies: Hand Trailing

As part of ABVI Awareness Month, we are introducing techniques our clients use to navigate everyday life safely, confidently and independently.

Hand trailing is a technique used to help locate objects and landmarks along a route which aids in orientation. This technique also helps an individual maintain a straight line of travel. Hand trailing is often used in conjunction with protective techniques. Not all individuals who are blind or visually impaired use a cane, or need to use a cane at all times. Non-cane techniques such as hand trailing are important skills for independent, efficient travel.

In this video, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist and Low Vision Therapist Samantha McGovern describes how to perform hand trailing, and ABVI Client Ms. Pat illustrates this adaptive technique.

Total Vision Loss

Each week, we are introducing you to an ABVI client and the visual impairment or progressive condition he or she is affected by. This week we are spotlighting Loretta who suffers from total vision loss.

A common misconception exists that all individuals who are blind cannot see anything at all, however most individuals who are diagnosed as blind do have some, albeit very limited, vision. A diagnosis of total vision loss means a person has no light perception at all. Roughly 8% or 1 million of the 12 million Americans over the age of 40 reporting vision loss have total vision loss. Total vision loss can result from a variety of vision disorders and diseases including retinal detachment, retinitis pigmentosa and more.

Client Spotlight: Loretta

Loretta suffered from diabetic retinopathy causing her to progressively lose her vision. Eventually, her uncontrolled diabetes resulted in total vision loss. She came to ABVI to learn to adjust to her life with total blindness and develop the skills she needed to be more independent in her daily life.

Loretta joined our Assistive Technology class and is learning to use the accessibility features on her iPhone. The VoiceOver feature allows her to read and answer emails, read and send texts from family and colleagues and more. By using the Siri and VoiceOver features together, Loretta is able to independently navigate the internet without relying on assistance from a friend or a fellow employee. Loretta feels empowered to take control of these elements of her life again and is eager to continue to become more independent.

Loretta says people often underestimate those living with visual disabilities. There are often simple solutions to figuring out how to perform daily tasks without relying on your vision, but people need to change their perspective in order to develop these new techniques. She suggests that people would be surprised by all the things you can do with a visual impairment, and she aims to help educate others on the many things she and her friends at ABVI can do.  

“They can’t imagine how they could do that task if they couldn’t see so they figure that you can’t do it either. When you lose your sight, you learn to do things different than you used to, but you can still do them. You can still separate your clothes before putting them in the laundry. You could use something as simple as a round basket for your white clothes and a square basket for your colored clothes. When you take your clothes off each night, go ahead and separate them into the right baskets. That way, it’s already done before you wash your clothes.” 

- Loretta, ABVI Client

Participate in ABVI Awareness Month

Would you consider supporting Loretta on her journey to a more independent life by donating to our ABVI Awareness Month Campaign?

In celebration of our 84th birthday, we invite you to participate in ABVI Awareness Month by donating $19, $36, or $84. Of course, any amount helps as we try to reach our goal of raising $1,936 this month, in honor of the year of our inception.

If you are an annual donor, we encourage you to consider setting up a monthly recurring donation through our EyeGive Program, to increase your impact on ABVI and the clients we serve.

You can easily donate by texting “ABVI” to 44-321 or by visiting www.abvisc.org.

Thank you for helping us enrich the quality of life of adults who are blind or visually impaired in the Tri-County.

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