Eyes and Independence
“We’ve bought a new house”…..”We’re thinking of moving”…..”We are going to look for a bigger place”….. “We are looking at something close to the bus stop”….. “My child is really upset and gone backwards since we moved house, not wanting to come out of his room”…”can’t wait till we move”…”this house will be air-conditioned”
Moving house creates stress – some positive, some not so positive. As stated by Koraly Dimitriadis, a freelance writer (sbs.com.au/topics) “People dread the idea as they know that it involves a major disruption to their lives”.
Over the past year, I have had several clients (children and adults) who have moved house – which has meant:
Ask your Orientation and Mobility Specialist to assist in orientating you to the new home. It’s always a great time to learn of the new place when there is no furniture in there yet. I remember supporting a 10 year old girl who had a couple of visits to the new home before they moved in but only in the daytime. As her vision was more affected at nightime, we worked on a few strategies in the evening for managing when it’s dark, and locating the staircase at the bottom, noticing the change of surfaces between rooms,
When the furniture has arrived, you can be a part of the process of putting things in their place and creating new areas for personal items with sentimental value. The child can be a big part of setting up their own bedroom so they also know where those things have been placed. They won’t have to rely on other family members to locate them when needed. Ownership and independence especially with your personal belongings, gives you that comfort and familiarity and demonstrates your ability to learn and build on the knowledge as you are securing those skills in organising, sorting, discriminating and identification.
Researching the new area as soon as possible will empower the person with a vision impairment with the knowledge they gain and assist in making plans once in the home.
Orientation and Mobility is “not all about the cane”. There’s a lot of time put into people feeling confident to travel from one place to another, go to work safely and within a timeframe. Did you know that a student hoping to attend Uni the following year requires intense training long before starting so that they can walk in the first day and feel like they know where they are, how they got there and the pathway out at the end of the day.
Other pointers to consider (in the move) if you have or haven’t done so yet…
If you want assistance in any of these changes, an Orientation and Mobility specialist can be part of your journey! And they too, enjoy a cuppa as well !
Every Tuesday for 5 years our 'Mum's group' got together
Ours was of course the 'best group' and our bonds would last forever
Some of us were 'older mums', some of us were 'young'
and the wisdom of all ages created such diversity among
The unknown ahead, the baby rules we required
got us thinking and sharing and positively inspired
We had ‘Mums’ from interstate, local town and overseas
Without extended family, one another responded to our pleas
Everyone looked forward to our Tuesday in the park
The next Tuesday at someone’s home,
The next – creating a landmark
Birthdays were celebrated together as a group
Invitations were not necessary as we were all in the loop
We had our list of names and numbers to check on now and then
If we did not turn up on Tuesday, concerned others would ask ‘when’
Some of us suffered PND, sleep deprivation or pure exhaustion,
some were so relaxed and ‘natural’, we questioned their milk portion?
When the time came and our 'first ones' started school
Things changed somewhat with sadness, moving on seemed cruel
There were some lucky families who were graced with more than one
But others returned to a working life, supporting their partners, daughter or son
Life has changed for all of us – most ‘children’ now seventeen
Our fond memories of ‘mum’s group’ - laughter, friendships and caffeine
There has been loss within our group, due to things beyond control
We have been there for each other, in or out the cubbyhole
The bonds our kids developed in those early days
may not all be remembered
But the strength in those that have remained will not ever be severed
The experiences, the photos, all trigger a special time
of our lives in ‘Mum’s Group’ growing, playing, reading and rhyme.
The stressors of life……the stressors in life
Rational thoughts, irrational thoughts – which one?
What if … everyone was in this one place together?
What if … a different choice was made?
What if … there were no ‘what if’s’ ?
Cause of stress
“Stress can be good” – true or false?
Managing stress – or masking stress?
As a driver, have you ever considered when turning a corner that there could be someone walking along the road on their right hand side which is your left turning area, and the person could have a vision impairment? Where they live may require them walking first to get to their bus stop in a rural area as there are not always buses going down a local road during the day if it’s not a ‘school bus’. So therefore, those who don’t drive a car whether it’s due to their limitations with their vision, or their lack of money to maintain the cost of a car and insurance, there are people who need to get on public transport and the bus stop is a distance away from home.
Recently, on my travels as an Orientation & Mobility specialist I was asked about some challenging scenarios for someone who travels with a long white cane, limited vision, and needs to catch a bus on the Bruce Hwy in North Queensland. For those who are not Queenslanders, “the 1,700 kilometre Bruce Highway is Queensland's major north-south road corridor, connecting coastal population centres from Brisbane to Cairns and supporting around 58 per cent of Queensland's population”
Like all roads there are busy spots and quiet spots that vary throughout the day. The bus services are extremely limited and this service only ran every 2 hours. The challenge presented included the fact that the area of the highway was in a 100km zone, despite there being a bus stop and before the person got to the highway, the road travelled on foot was in an 80km zone.
As an Orientation & Mobility specialist, I don’t feel confident that a person with a vision impairment travelling along those roads is safe considering the logistics of rural country roads and the speed zones currently in place. Our role is to ensure safety and encourage independence in a person and although that person may be proud of their ‘travelling skills and abilities’, opting for alternatives in individual scenarios such as these are not to be seen as a ‘cop out’.
The person is making a safe and sensible decision to travel and be protected in a vehicle such as a taxi. And sometimes accessing such transport provides more independence for the person – they can choose the time of pickup and return and continue to be out there in the community, enjoying others’ company, engage in regular exercise, shop for essentials and more, knowing that there are safer options open to all.
Of course, there are always costs involved with accessing transport. A person with a vision impairment may have a Taxi Subsidy Scheme (TSS card) for travelling in a taxi? Not only do people with a vision impairment have this option. People with other disabilities may also be eligible.
Since NDIS has rolled out in Australia, participants are also entitled to access transport funds and there are 3 levels – dependent on the purpose and regularity of their travel needs, and especially when the hours that a person may want to travel don’t match up with public transport options, these funds can support the person to continue to meet their needs and goals.
Kerri Weaver is a passionate and caring service provider. She loves sharing her knowledge and skills to supporting those with vision impairment and additional disabilities. Kerri has worked in the field of disability for over 30 years. Her experience includes working in Tonga with a specialist team on multiple occasions.
In growth, through play, and when reading, we learn...
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