The Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CBVI) offers independent living training designed to help people of any age who are blind or visually impaired gain the skills of daily living they will need to lead a full and productive life. The Commission provides five general types of assistance or instruction as part of this program:
Independent Living Needs Assessment
CBVI staff will assess a person's needs, provide information about the resources available through CBVI or the community and provide or coordinate services appropriate to meet any needs that have been identified.
Rehabilitation Teachers teach home management skills, how to use specialized equipment, communication skills such as Braille and typing, and leisure time activities such as crafts. They also provide assessment and counseling to their students and their families.
Orientation and Mobility
Orientation and mobility instruction teaches methods for safe, independent travel so people who are blind or visually impaired will be able to get to and around their own homes, schools, workplaces and communities. The training emphasizes how to be aware of the surrounding environment, how to use the other senses and how to make use of any remaining vision.
Eye Health nurses arrange for any medical care, including surgery, that is necessary to restore vision and/or prevent further vision loss. They teach people with visual disabilities and their families about eye disorders, the progression of eye diseases and the medications used to fight them along with the importance of good nutrition and proper eye care. Nurses also teach clients with diabetes how to administer their own insulin using specialized adaptive insulin devices.
Low vision means that even with prescription eye glasses, contact lenses or surgery, people have difficulty with everyday tasks such as reading, shopping, cooking, watching TV and reading street and bus signs. CBVI will help people with low vision acquire visual aides appropriate for their degree of vision loss and also helps people learn how to cope with their vision loss in social situations, at work or at school and when involved in leisure time or recreational activities.
Library Equal Access Program (LEAP)
LEAP offers speech and magnification assistive technology training to consumers age 55 and over. Assistive technology has been placed in libraries throughout the state. Classes are being offered in basic and intermediate computer and iPad skills. This initiative is a collaborative effort between The NJ State Library Talking Book and Braille Center, Advancing Opportunities, and the NJ Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired. For more information, please use this link: LEAP (Technology Classes Age 55+)
For additional information about training in Independent Living, contact Elizabeth DeShields, Coordinator of Independent Living Services at 862-754-5406 or email Elizabeth.DeShields@dhs.state.nj.us.