MY JOURNEY TO PHYSICIAN'S ASSISTANT SCHOOL
Ever since I was a young child, I have dreamt of working in the healthcare field. After spending most of my childhood in and out of doctor's offices and hospitals, I wanted to be able to help others the way that my doctors helped me. After receiving my Bachelor's degree in microbiology from the University of Tennessee in 2014, I decided that becoming a physician assistant was the right path for me. Continue reading
Sarah in white coat
Due to the Corona virus, VIBES activities have taken on a different look. Many of our activities have been cancelled or postponed but our member meetings continue. Out of respect for physical distancing and regard for everyone's health, meetings are being held via ZOOM.
COVID-19 virus which appears like a styrofoam ball with rose pics stuck in all over the surface
20- Leader Team meeting via Zoom
8-Board Meeting via Zoom; 6:00 pm
9-Low Vision meeting; ZOOM; 7:00 pm
18-Member meeting via ZOOM; 7:00 pm
After a six month COVID break from school, students are finally headed back to the classroom. Some will be going face to face, while others will attend virtual school.
1.READING BOOKSHARE WITH MICROSOFT WORD Go to blog 2.HOW CAN SOMEONE WHO IS VISUALLY IMPAIRED USE MICROSOFT WHITEBOARD? Go to blog 3.THE SECRETS OF LOCATING GOOD ACCESSIBLE TECHNOLOGY FOR SOMEONE WITH LOW VISION Go to blog 4.HOW TO PREPARE FOR TRANSITIONING TO COLLEGE Go to blog
JUST A REMINDER
You can become a skilled user of JAWS using their instructional videos.
to access the Freedom Scientific YouTube channel and get started
VIRTUAL NATIONAL CONVENTIONS
Each summer both national organizations of the blind, American Council of the Blind (ACB) and the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) hold large conventions attended by many people. A big change was made this year in how these conventions are held, due to COVID19; both were held in a virtual format. Several VIBES members who would not have been able to attend the conventions in person were able to take advantage of this change. Read about their experiences in the MEMBERS section below.
ACBTogether for a bright future
Logo for National Federation of the Blind including
6 stick figures in a circle with feet pointing toward the center.
The motto is "Live the life you want".
VIBES member, Sarah, is a student in the Physician Assistant program at LMU where it is the tradition to honor the students upon completion of their class work with a ceremony in which they receive their "White Coat". Due to COVID19 restrictions, the ceremony was cancelled. Club VIBES is very proud of Sarah's achievement and wanted to honor her with her personal White Coat ceremony in keeping with COVID safety. The drive-by event at Safety City. Guests came to extend their congratulations as they drove by with greetings and horn honks for Sarah and her parents.
|Sarah sitting in chair wearing white coat and holding a vase of flowers|
CLUB VIBES AND KNOX COUNTY SCHOOLS
Club VIBES would like to be an asset to our community and one way we believe that we can be helpful is in assisting the Knox County Vision Program. To begin exploring this idea, VIBES board members John and Sue Buckley, Arlene Hernandez, and former board member Linda Attanasio met with vision supervisor Summer Tucker. This was a very positive meeting with ideas from both VIBES and Summer on how we can help. We will be meeting again to further define what ways we can collaborate.
HOW TO MAKE VIRTUAL INSTRUCTION EASY
Club VIBES is so thankful to Campbell and her mother, Liza, for introducing us to Dr. Denise Robinson. Dr. Robinson is a specialist in teaching blind and low vision people Braille, Nemeth Code, and especially technology from beginning keyboarding to doing complex math using Microsoft Word. She believes that all of these skills can be taught online. She has free lessons on dozens of topics on her website, yourtechvision.com
. She presented a webinar on July 31 showing "How to Make Virtual Instruction Easy". This presentation has a tremendous amount of useful information. VIBES member, Campbell, who has been a student of Dr. Robinson for a couple of years, is on the panel answering questions and explaining various topics. Additionally, Campbell is working for Dr. Robinson as an intern, teaching two students. To go to the web site for this webinar, click here
JACOBY'S VOCAL PERFORMANCE
I had the opportunity to perform this piece of music for my voice recital this past week. I thought it was a beautiful piece and really spoke of the times that we are in. May you enjoy it just as much as I enjoyed performing it!￼￼ To listen to the performance, click here
MESSAGE FROM JACOBY
"Hello friends! As many of you know, for the last few years, I have been battling chronic kidney disease and I am on the hunt for a donor. Since transplant of a new organ is covered through insurance, maintenance and other expenditures are not always covered and we would like to stay ahead of surprises that come about. Will you help as I work towards receiving this life-saving organ and prepare for a lifetime of maintenance? Please check out my go fund me campaign and support as you can!" ￼￼￼￼￼Thanks.
Club VIBES has a couple of extra tandems. One recently was sold to a visually impaired man who is very excited with his purchase. We have another available. Contact Sue for details.
Proud new owners standing beside the tandem they recently purchased from Club VIBES
Z00M MEETINGS CONTINUE
GENERAL MEMBER MEETING
VIBES members got together via ZOOM on August 7. They caught up on what they all have been doing during these days of COVID restrictions which included music lessons, learning JAWS and other computer skills, attending iBUG movies on Zoom, and participating in a book club. New business included information on an invitation for VIBES members to participate in a ZOOM meeting with the Blind Stoker Club in California. VIBES members would speak for one half hour and the BSC would speak for the other half hour. This is planned for October. In addition, Campbell told members about a website, yourtechvision.com that has free training videos on a wide variety of subjects including typing, making Kindle books accessible, how to use the accessible version of Starfall, Google Classroom and many more subjects. The next member meeting will be September 18 , at 7:00 via ZOOM. Contact Jacoby if you do not receive an invitation.
LOW VISION MEETING
A separate meeting for low vision members will be held on September 9 at 7:00 via ZOOM. Tech issues unique to those with low vision will be addressed.
WHAT HAVE MEMBERS BEEN UP TO?
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
I CAN DRIVE!
An unexpected adventure
At age ten I was diagnosed with Stargardt's disease, a form of juvenile macular degeneration. When I was diagnosed, I was told I would never be able to drive. In December of 2018, I was researching a little more in depth about my vision impairment and stumbled on an article of someone who had the same condition as me and drove with bioptic lenses. After further research, I realized I might be a candidate for driving with bioptic glasses. At my next yearly checkup, I talked to my genetic specialist and he referred me to the low vision specialist where I found out I met the medical requirements for driving with bioptic glasses. The requirements for acuity with the lenses vary by state, but it is the standard requirement that corrected vision must be 20/200 corrected in order to qualify for bioptic driving. In Tennessee, the potential driver must have an acuity of 20/60 with the bioptic telescope and a visual field diameter of at least 150 degrees. After being approved medically and receiving the glasses, I had to get my permit. The feeling to actually get my permit was incredible after being told for ten years of my life that I would never be able to drive.
After getting approved medically and getting my permit, my low vision specialist referred me to the driving rehabilitation center at Vanderbilt. In Tennessee, it is required that a bioptic driver have at least 30 hours of behind the wheel training before having a license. I got my permit and only being able to drive in a parking lot and only up to 20 miles per hour was the best feeling. During my first training session I got used to driving a car in a parking lot, neighborhood, and a heavier traffic residential area.
Throughout the training, I have been through high traffic, residential areas, highways, and two sessions ago I drove on the interstate. With the driving training, my occupational therapist assists me in better using my bioptic telescope and also giving me tips on how to do things as a bioptic driver. I have had a little over 30 hours of training and March 18th is supposed to be my last session.
After completing training, my occupational therapist will send a letter to the state stating that I am a safe driver and qualify for attaining a license. Once the state gets the letter, they will send a letter to me to give to the DMV where I will take my license test and then get my license. With bioptic driving training, my therapist has asked me to drive in different weather situations such as rain, cloudy, sunny, and also night driving. Therapists will make the decision of whether or not it is safe to drive in certain conditions. For me personally, I have been approved for everything but night driving in the rain. This has been a long process, but I know it will be worth it in the end. To any of my fellow VIBES friends or friends of friends considering bioptic driving, I certainly recommend it. My best advice to you is to follow what your driving trainers say, and if you exceed 30 hours keep on going and do not give up. The extra hours spent will help with safety and independence and it is definitely worth it!
TECH SKILLS FOR COLLEGE
"Tech lessons" with Joseph.
Jaws is a screen reading program that can be installed on any Windows computer, I knew about Jaws and how useful it was, but unfortunately I didn't start learning it until the final semester of my senior year in high school. Going into college I was many steps behind where I needed to be. I was able to purchase a laptop and a friend took time to get me started with the basics of JAWS and the computer. This got me started, but I needed to learn a lot more to survive in college. I was introduced to Joseph who works with National Industries for the Blind and who received a grant to teach Jaws and other accessibility programs to clients such as myself. I started working with Joseph for an hour each week. He taught me JAWS, the computer inside and out, and then more applications like Google Drive, Microsoft Word, Outlook, ETC.
I am continuing these lessons as I begin my second year of college and realize that I still have more to learn. After the lessons, I have to practice until I can remember the keystrokes for the commands. I have to "use it or lose it".Recently I began learning Microsoft Teams, which is the format used at Pellissippi, and NVDA another screen reader like Jaws. I have been learning Microsoft Teams to stay ahead of what Pellissippi State Community college has been doing. NVDA has Russian language capabilities that I am hoping to use in the future. I am thankful for the opportunity to continue these lessons because there will always be something unexpected that I need to know on the computer.
MY CONVENTION EXPERIENCE
Attending the NFB Convention virtually
I attended the 2020 National Federation Of The Blind Convention, which was held virtually July 14th through the 18th. Prior to the actual convention, I attended the "rookie round up" on July 7th. This was a chance to get a feel of what to expect from the actual convention. It included a discussion of the agenda, guest speakers, and sponsors, and they even gave away some door prizes. President Riccobono did a great job explaining how things were going to run in a virtual format and introducing himself while welcoming us to the national convention.
Throughout the convention itself, I participated in many different sessions including self-advocacy, legal strategies, and Mujeres (women) of NFB. This was a bilingual session focusing on helping the blind Latina achieve excellence and shining the light on different struggles and strategies they face. It addressed teaching this group how to be as successful as possible. I also attended diversity inclusion meetings just taking in all kinds of information and learning how I can help change things in my community and make an impact. I learned about different institutions like Louisiana School for the Blind and BLIND inc.
All in all, my experience participating in the 2020 NFB convention was great. I learned a ton of new information, met and interacted with some very interesting people, and made some pretty nice friendships along the way. I can't wait to attend and participate next year!
LEARNING TO USE A NEW COMPUTER
Learning to use a new computer with JAWS
When the COVID-19 first came out it was hard for everyone. I had a hard time finding things to do. Eventually, though, I told myself I had to figure out different ways to keep myself busy. First I remembered I was supposed to learn JAWS. I realized I need to know this now because I signed up for virtual school for the first semester. To get started, I needed a computer.
I had heard from some of my friends at Club VIBES about Computers for the Blind. I went online and found a phone number. I qualified and I got my computer within a few weeks. It came fully equipped with everything I needed including JAWS and very important, my computer came with a free training bundle to teach me how to use the computer.Once I learned the commands for playing/pausing and rewinding/fast-forwarding I started watching the instruction videos on my own, and have been trying to cram as much knowledge as I can before school begins. It is a great computer, but there is tons more to learn.
I have also been doing some other things during this COVID-19 time. I have been playing Objective Ed which teaches skills such as compass and clock directions. I have also tried other games through Blindfold Games, some of which are difficult to figure out.I have had some hard times with finding instructions for some games and others I couldn't get anything to work but the background music. Once I got some them to work it was pretty easy for me to play them. I then started to search on my own and found some more games, but again I had some difficulties. I did find several that I liked though which are Color Crush, Air Hockey, and another that I believe was called Ear Word Puzzle.
I love those games but after playing them for a set number of times an upgrade was required. The sad part was I didn't have the money to do this so I tried to trick it. I deleted the game and re-downloaded it thinking that if I delete this all my data would be deleted too and it would have forgotten that I already played this game. I was wrong. It tricked me and remembered that I had already played the games.
Other than playing games and learning to use my computer, I have been getting in contact with organizations that do book clubs and audio descriptive movies such as Ibug. I have joined book clubs through Bard Mobile. I also went to a virtual NFB convention.I've been quite busy and also have been doing a bit of meal prepping, exercising, and spending great quality time with my family. I'm also doing lots of arts and crafts.
The last thing I wanted to say is that through healthy eating and exercising life can get better. I have lost 26 pounds and I plan to keep trudging on. It has helped me to remember that I can accomplish what I want to. My favorite saying is "All things are possible".
Jacoby has been taking voice lessons
About two years ago, I began taking voice lessons to help strengthen my vocal abilities. I have always been told that I have a lovely voice, but I thought that taking voice lessons would help my self-confidence along the way. About twice a year, my voice studio will put on a recital and this time, It was a bit different because it was virtual. My teacher and I have spent the last few months working out different pieces for the recital, meeting once a week for an hour either in person, or by ZOOM. Since the COVID-19 pandemic happened, I have been able to invest a little more practice time into my singing and new pieces of music. It's amazing what a little bit of extra time in practice can do for just about anybody! Click here to listen to Jacoby's performance on Facebook.
LEARNING TECH SKILLS FOR HIGH SCHOOL
Paige is learning JAWS and other computer skills from Joseph
This summer I have been taking distance computer lessons with Joseph from IFB in Ashville. I have learned how to use Word, search using the internet, copy and paste documents, how to upload and share files using google drive, and check emails. Currently, I am learning how to use Microsoft teams. I've also learned how to navigate through settings and check the date and time. He's also taught me how to change the speed and where to find my documents. I will use these skills when I begin high school in a couple of weeks.
LEARNING HOW TO TYPE
An excellent typing program by Dr. Denise Robinson is available for free online. She advocates teaching this to children as young as three so that they are proficient typers by the time they begin school. Dr. Robinson says that if a student practices with this program for one to one and a half hours a day for five days, they will have mastered typing. This program is used with JAWS or VoiceOver so there is a double lesson here-typing and beginning use of a screen reader. Click here
EXCELLENT "BLIND TECH SKILLS" HOW TO VIDEOS
Dr. Robinson has many videos available that teach from beginning to advanced tech skills to blind and low vision persons. These are free at her website, yourtechvision.com. Click here
to go to that site.
THANK YOU TO OUR PROGRAM PARTNERS FOR 2020-2021
DELTA GAMMA FRATERNITY
THE NALLS SHERBAKOFF GROUP LLC.
WEST KNOX LIONS CLUB
SMOKY MOUNTAIN WHEELMEN
KNOXVILLE COSMETIC DENTISTRY