Submitted by Empish Thomas, Public Education Coordinator
This week, June 24-28, is observed as Vision Rehabilitation Therapy Appreciation Week. A VRT is an instructor who assist those with vision loss learn independent living skills. Here at CVI we have VRT’s as part of our New View Adult Rehabilitation Program and want to say a special thank you for all your hard work and service. We appreciate your efforts to fulfill our mission of empowering those with vision loss to live with independence and dignity.
In the 1900s, VRTs started out as a charitable home-based program that provided instruction in reading Biblical scripture. These home teachers were mostly blind women who quickly realized that people with vision loss needed more than just religious instruction. They developed strategies and helpful hints that address communication skills, daily living skills and handy crafts. It was not until after World War II that rehabilitation teaching was established as a profession. Through customized training VRTs now learn about low vision, the psychosocial aspects of vision loss, gerontology, multiple-disability challenges, daily living techniques, and indoor orientation skills.
Because VRTs are college-trained professionals who can address a variety of skills needed; their clients are more equipped to live independently at home, to become employed, and to participate in community activities. Here at CVI our teachers give individualized instruction in braille, meal preparation and cooking, financial management, emergency preparedness, in home mobility and orientation, and so much more.
I remember when I started working with a VRT some years ago; I learned some valuable techniques that I still use to this day. For example, she taught me how to pour liquids, like hot water from a tea kettle, without spilling it on myself or the kitchen counter. She also came up with a creative way for me to keep up with my scarves by using a plastic hanger with multiple pouches. I then braille labeled the pouches to correspond with the color of the scarf that was in it. We also worked on identifying money and labeling my home appliances. Learning these skills gave me a stronger sense of independence and encouraged me to learn more ways to handle my life activities. Have you worked with a VRT? If so, what things did you learn from that experience? Please share by posting your comments below.
For more information about our New View Adult Rehabilitation Program, please call 404-875-9011 or click the link New View Adult Rehab Program