As we get older, it’s not uncommon to discover that our vision is fading due to an ominous-sounding eye disease such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma.
Our initial reaction to this news can be defensive. Many of us tend to become “shut-ins” and create self-imposed barriers around us, believing our life is over. The reality is that life is not over, but is instead presenting new challenges.
The caring staff and volunteers at the Braille Institute Santa Barbara help people with vision loss adjust to this challenge by breaking down those barriers and regaining their independence. They accomplish this by teaching simple techniques and skills that enable anyone with visual impairment to live an enjoyable and productive life.
The Braille Institute Santa Barbara provides a welcoming and encouraging environment for everybody struggling with any form of vision impairment. As it turns out, most of the people we help range in age from 70 to 80, and have experienced fairly good vision until recently. Some want to rekindle their cooking skills in the kitchen, while others want to update their technology skills to participate in social media, email and the Internet. Still others fulfill a need to express themselves through art or dance.
Perhaps the most useful thing we do is train people to travel from point A to point B in their homes and neighborhoods with confidence and without help.
We provide instruction in small classroom groups or on a one-to-one basis. Cooking instruction is provided in a real kitchen with real, sharp knives — and we’ve never lost a finger! Technology instruction is provided on PCs, Macs and iPads. Ceramics and sculpture classes are specifically designed for those who are visually impaired, and previous artistic ability is not a prerequisite.
Orientation and mobility specialists travel to your home to teach you how to navigate your community. If your reading glasses no longer correct your vision enough to read the newspaper, the Braille Institute’s professional staff can demonstrate a number of magnifying device options, including e-readers. If you enjoy a good book but can no longer see well enough to read, we can send audio books to your home. There are thousands of titles, including the latest bestsellers.
All of our services are free. The only requirement is that you are visually impaired.
The one thing we can be sure about in life is change. The secret to continued success is the ability to adjust and adapt to whatever changes come your way. When changes occur to your vision, the Braille Institute is the place to come to adjust, adapt and move on with your life.