This past year, Ken missed eye doctor appointments because of COVID-19. When he finally got in to see the doctor, his vision had changed. His optic nerve was damaged. As a result, he would probably lose vision in the left eye and it would be very similar to the already lost vision in his right. When Outlook called, Ken responded and was able to get help.
“The VA Hospital sent a referral to Outlook for me to receive services,” he said. “I needed assistance using the applications on my Android phone.”
Virtual programs and adaptations
Ken, who lives outside of Omaha, worked with Outlook Enrichment’s adaptive technology team remotely. Since he was low vision, they were able to help Ken use the magnification features on his smartphone. He also learned little tricks, like taking pictures of objects and enlarging them for better viewing.
During this time, instruction became virtual to meet the needs of the blind and visually impaired community. Your help allowed Outlook to pivot during the pandemic. Some programs were adapted, while new ones were established, for continuous services to the more than 15,000 people whose lives are impacted by vision loss in the Omaha area.
Usually, adaptive technology training occurs at Outlook in person, with direct one-on-one instruction. Now, those sessions are online in a virtual classroom and enrollment has actually increased. There are clients from greater Nebraska, greater Iowa, West Virginia, and several clients in other states that found Outlook online. Additionally, your support helped Outlook establish a technology helpline for people with visual impairments–(531) 365-5334.
The adaptive technology trainers respond to messages within 24 hours, providing technology solutions to help the blind stay connected to their loved ones and continue to conduct business.
Virtual Independent Living Series
People with vision loss seek ways to regain their independence and self-confidence. Living with vision loss can be overwhelming without support. Outlook Enrichment has created programs to assist people with a visual impairment live an inclusive and fulfilled life.
The virtual Independent Living Series offers training classes and workshops, safe cooking skills and home and time management classes. We also provide educational programming such as understanding various forms of transportation in the community.
TJ learned how to type on her computer using a screen reader. She also took recreational classes in art and went bowling. She was able to accomplish all of this with help from God and encouragement from the instructors at Outlook.
“They helped me with my self-confidence. You feel like you have no fear anymore and can do anything,” she said. “They helped me realize my potential I thought was gone.”
Outlook Enrichment started enhancing our arts and leisure activities to meet a more diverse population of ages and interests. Many opportunities are offered via Zoom or in person, depending on individual comfort levels.
Audiobook clubs, virtual game night and social gatherings are offered. In person activities include adaptive soap making, tactual art workshops, audio described tours of local venues, and house plant gardening.
“We did all kinds of art projects at Outlook. I've taken classes in mosaic, essential oils, soap-making and aromatherapy,” said TJ.
How we can help
Outlook Enrichment knows it can be helpful to have someone to talk to about the unique challenges people with vision loss face. Others with vision loss understand and can help with solutions.
We host ongoing virtual peer support groups led by a trained facilitator. Our clients can participate from the comforts of home via phone or videoconference.
You can help more people with limited vision, like these clients, use their technology, socialize and increase their confidence. We get calls every day from people losing their vision and family members seeking help.
The support of your time, gift or talent is needed today. Outlook’s technology training, art classes, peer support groups and other programs are not sustainable without your help. Donate while shopping through AmazonSmile or by completing a donation form today.