Iowa Department for the Blind
Independent Living Program
Newsletter - Vol. 1, 2007

In Their Own Words

Senior Orientation is offered by the Iowa Department for the Blind twice a year to seniors from around the state. It is a one-week training program offering the opportunity to learn simple, non-visual techniques for everyday tasks. The skills of blindness are important, but the week is about much more. It provides the participants with increased confidence, greater self-reliance, and a renewed sense of self-worth. As we approach our next session (April 9-13), we thought it worthy to share the thoughts and opinions of past participants.

Before attending the program, participants had this to say: 

"When I was first told I was losing my sight I was devastated. I lost faith in my abilities . . . when February came and I could no longer drive, it was a final blow. Your information . . . and your encouragement made me decide to go." 

"When my eyes started to go with macular degeneration I thought my life would be full of nothing. Sitting around because there would be nothing that I could do." 

"Before going, I felt very . . . unsure of myself." 

During the training:

"To be able to talk freely about your doubts and fears was rewarding. One of the best things we did was the round table discussions we had together every morning. Suddenly, I didn't feel so alone!"

"During the training, I did not feel so alone and realized there were others like me. I found I could find my way around - blindfolded with my white cane." 

"I could cross a street safer." 

"The stairs were a fun challenge. After [cane] travel came Braille with Marcia. She was so gentle in her speech and patience that it made you want to do well." 

". . . we had Braille class which I found easy and much fun." 

". . . we learned how to thread a needle with no vision and took a few stitches by hand in a cloth. Then I began making a kitchen hand towel. It had a potholder button closure at the top. I actually used a sewing machine with no vision. Something I haven't done . . . for years." 

"I made beef barley soup with no vision. I made cheese hash browns and . . . cut lemon bars and pies with no vision." 

"Home management class . . . different ways to identify canned goods, other foods, clothing, etc. We played tic-tac-toe with no vision and we practiced putting plugs in outlets and placing light bulbs in sockets with no vision." 

After the training:

"It was the best thing I've ever done."

"You all have no idea just how much my life has changed for the better."

"The training I have had . . . helped me understand just what I can do." 

"The friends that were made there and the self-confidence that was given to me was worth every minute that was spent there."

"When I got home . . . my husband noted I was much more sure of myself . . . ." 

"My attitude . . . improved so much.  I still do all of my cooking, laundry, book accounts, and am doing my utmost to maintain my independence." 

"Other than driving an automobile . . . an individual who was blind could do anything a normal sighted individual could do. The individual who was blind may need to adapt different techniques or skills for doing what a normal sighted person could do.  However, both individuals could accomplish the same task." 

"I feel better about myself and praise the Lord - life goes on."

Each individual gains something from their experience at Senior Orientation. If you know someone who could benefit from the services available through the Iowa Department for the Blind call 800-362-2587 or email We look forward to hearing from you.

Upcoming Events

To find out what is happening at the Department and in your area, choose the Upcoming Events link.

Upcoming Events

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INDEPENDENT LIVING PROGRAM NEWSLETTER  is published by the Iowa Department for the Blind. Please direct questions and suggestions to the Iowa Department for the Blind, 524 Fourth Street, Des Moines, IA 50309-2364, 515-281-1333.