Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A Fork In The Road

The folks at Fork in the Road have been making low vision simulators since 1994. The simulators have been purchased by organizations and individuals in the US , Canada , Europe , Asia , Africa and Australia .

Their goal is to help educate people about low vision. The simulators provide a reasonably accurate picture of some of the functional limitations and abilities of different types of visual impairments. Some of the most common causes of low vision in the developed world are: macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and cataracts.

Other eye diseases that can cause low vision include RP (retinitis pigmentosa) and brain injuries (including strokes).

Of course, wearing a simulator does not portray what it is like to have low vision, as that is a permanent situation that affects a person in ways beyond his or her ability to read or walk about. However, spending some time wearing a simulator and attempting to do various everyday tasks can quickly give fully-sighted persons a sense of some of the issues involved. Often, people are impressed with how much they can do and, sometimes, the simplest task becomes extremely frustrating.

These are outstanding educational tools to help teach rehabilitation, education, medical and health care providers about the impact of vision impairment on their patients, clients or students. Low vision simulators can make for a lively in-service or continuing education program.

Consumers with low vision have found that these simulators help to get the point across to friends and family who don't understand the importance of putting things back where they belong, closing the cabinet doors in the kitchen, or not leaving things lying around on the steps. For people with low vision who are highly adapted and "don't act blind", they can also help to show others just what you're putting up with.

Organizations that do public fund raising have used low vision simulators when having an event such as a golf outing, wine/cheese tasting, or when making a presentation to a civic club. Low vision simulators quickly help sighted persons not familiar with vision impairment understand the "grey area" between fully sighted and totally blind. They might then be more likely to understand your need for funding to serve this population.

For more information on low vision simulators, use the contact information below:

Fork in the Road Vision Rehabilitation Services, LLC
5141 Door Drive,
Madison, WI 53705-4752
Phone: 608-233-3464
Fax: 608-233-3464

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