Published quarterly by
Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired
An Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind
Vol. 60 Summer 2017 No. 2
KABVI strives to increase the independence, opportunity, and quality of life for all blind and visually impaired Kansans and to assist us in taking our rightful place among our sighted peers.
KANSAS ASSOCIATION for the BLIND
and VISUALLY IMPAIRED
Corporate Office, 712 S. Kansas Ave. Suite 410
Topeka, KS 66603-3080
Phone: (785) 235-8990
Toll free in Kansas 1-800-799-1499
Editor Associate Editor
Nancy Johnson Ann Byington
714 SW Wayne Ave. 909 SW College Ave.
Topeka, KS 66606-1753 Topeka, KS 66606
909 SW College Ave.
Topeka, KS 66606
Phone: (785) 233-3839
Send address changes to:
Membership Secretary, KABVI, 712 S. Kansas Ave. Suite 410, Topeka, KS 66603-3080
KABVI NEWS promotes the general welfare of blind and visually impaired persons in Kansas. KABVI NEWS reflects the philosophy, and policies of the Association, reports the activities of its members, and includes pertinent articles pertaining to blindness and low vision.
Send your news, views, articles, and features. Materials in Braille, on disk (Microsoft Word), or typewritten (double-spaced, large print) are considered. When quoting from other published materials, please include dates and sources. Unsigned material is not accepted for publication. Send a stamped, self-addressed envelope, and original materials will be returned. Editorial staff reserves the right to edit submitted materials.
Articles for publication must reach the editor by January 22, April 22, July 22, and October 22!
Annual meeting notices and membership renewal letters are sent to all persons on KABVI’s mailing list. If notices are returned as undeliverable, those names are removed from the mailing list and their subscriptions to KABVI NEWS discontinued. Membership is open to everyone interested but is not required for receipt of KABVI NEWS. A membership renewal form on which to indicate your current information and format preference is included at the end of each issue of KABVI NEWS. Please return the form even if you do not wish to continue receiving KABVI News. Thank you for helping us keep KABVI’s records current.
Table of Contents
KABVI’s Plans for the Future, by Ann Byington, President - 4
Reflections, by Nancy Johnson, Editor – 8
A Loan from God, author anonymous, submitted by Marilyn Lind - 11
Report from the Board of Directors, by Nancy Johnson, Recording Secretary – 13
14 Things Your Eyes Say About Your Health” Part 2, by Paula Spencer Scott, Caring.com Author – 17
Chapter Chatter – 22
In Memoriam – 24
2017 KABVI NEWS & Membership Renewal – 24
KABVI’s Plans for the Future
By Ann Byington, President
During our last convention, the membership spent time discussing possible future plans for the organization. The discussion resulted in multiple options for increasing visibility, involving membership statewide, creating a historical record of past members’ successes, and the need for more out-reach to parents of visually impaired children.
A major focus of the discussion was creating and facilitating opportunities for members of each local affiliate group to get more involved with the state organization. Communication from the grassroots membership to the state is integral to accomplishment of this plan. We know most people will wish to make small commitments to help; a great idea so that none of us “do it all” and get burned out.
· Do presentations or attend meetings of local groups: Lions; clubs, veterans’ groups, retirement activities, nursing home in-service trainings, hospitals, senior health fairs, teacher in-service training.
· Develop relationships with other local contacts: school nurses, the boys’ and girls’ clubs, college students (blind) and those in helping professions, i.e., special education, pre-health, education, etc.
· could include one-to-one information sharing with parents, visually impaired children; meet with Hospitals: brochures on rehab for diabetic educators. Network with Kansas Commission on Deaf and Hard of Hearing and the Kansas Deaf/Blind project
· As a part of her graduate program, Nancy Johnson developed a public education project, Public Health Education and age-related Vision Loss: Action Research Project. “Far too little is known about vision loss and low vision by far too many people who could otherwise make a difference in the lives of other persons.” The paper provides the groundwork to remedy the situation in one community. The intent was to build a foundation upon which additional programs will be developed. A paradigm shift from social services to health care is evident relative to vision loss and low vision. Public health education is the key to prevention or reduction of vision loss and its disabling effects. Goals were to establish one effective program accessible to adults in the community regardless of socio-economic status and to develop and publicize a central repository of information about vision loss and where help is available if significant vision loss occurs. Nancy detailed her research along with a strategy for applying it to a local community or across the state.
THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO FIND OUT IN YOUR AFFILIATE:
· What ways have you been involved in your community—either as a sighted person or a newly visually-impaired person.
· How have your members performed their jobs as visually impaired persons? What adaptive equipment or strategies have they used to do the job?
· What can I do to bring visibility to KABVI? Keep a written record of what you learn and share it with us. Eventually, we will create job videos to show passion for the job, creativity in adapting the job, learn by seeing rather than just lecture. We would also like to have blind/visually impaired folks performing jobs for interaction with the public. Videos will be archived for parents, professionals and blind/visually impaired students’ use.
· Develop one-on-one relationships with a family of a blind/visually impaired child. Create fun activities: picnics, reading a story, baking cookies for Christmas, going to a movie (preferably described), just hanging out. Short-time involvement through foster grandparents or Big Brothers and Big Sisters.
· Help us host local schools in-service training for special education teachers, regular teachers and paraprofessionals; offer short training on independence-building and/or other topics. (We have such materials already developed.)
· Oral History: Locate and identify members of your groups who will do a discussion of how they succeeded as blind people. We will help create a video of their recollections to be presented at our 100th Birthday party celebrations and stored on our website.
· Create overview of KABVI’S legislative successes.
WHAT IS NEEDED FROM THE AFFILIATE CHAIRS?
Please have a discussion with your members about this topic and some of the suggestions below. Encourage all members to tell ways they have promoted this organization in the past and encourage them to think outside the box for ways they as individuals or you as a group can do so in the future. We ask that you record their ideas and suggestions and email them back to the board. We need ideas and willingness to participate from everyone to make KABVI a viable organization.
By Nancy Johnson, Editor
“KABVI NEWS promotes the general welfare of blind and visually impaired persons in Kansas, … reflects the philosophy and policies of the Association, reports activities of its members, and includes pertinent articles pertaining to blindness and low vision.” So says the newsletter’s masthead. KABVI News is the organization’s primary communication with members and friends. Membership is not required for receipt of the newsletter, but memberships help defray its cost. Of the 403 persons on KABVI’s mailing list at the time this was written, only 97 are members. The newsletter is KABVI’s primary charitable project.
For years, the need for fund raising has been stressed in KABVI News. The organization now exists with memberships, small grants, and donations. KABVI does not want to become dependent on government support, but the organization cannot continue with such limited funding. Opportunities for both government and non-government grants exist that would fund projects such as this newsletter, Braille production, and public education.
One of the reasons grants have not been sought is that KABVI has not well documented its activities. Nor does KABVI have documentation of what the organization does in communities. Every hour spent working for KABVI needs to be documented so we can show what KABVI does and how much time is spent doing it. Grantors need (and rightfully expect) to know how their money will be spent and proof that an organization does what it says it does. When it funds a project, it requires documentation that the money it provided was spent as planned. Yes – paperwork out the wazoo! But it’s necessary if KABVI is to move forward.
With writing grant requests in mind, the board has directed me to ask everyone: Whenever you do something to help KABVI or a person with significant vision loss or blindness, please let me know what you’ve done so your work for the organization can be documented. I suspect, if everyone shares the little things they do in support of KABVI for the benefit of folks with significant vision impairment or blindness, we’ll be surprised at the amount of work that gets done. I also think, when you share the work you do in your community, we’ll be surprised how much time blind/visually impaired individuals give to their communities.
If you are sighted and volunteer by driving, shopping, reading, etc., for a blind/visually impaired person, we want to know that. You’re important to making KABVI a success. No one is an island. We need one another – blind, visually impaired, and sighted – working together for the good of all
Young people: What do you do outside of regular classes and when the homework is done? Do you belong to a club, study music, play a sport? Tell us what you enjoy. If you like to write, please share something you’ve written. You are the sculptors of tomorrow and the future of KABVI.
Here’s what I need: Every time you do something in your community – volunteer at your local hospital, school, or church or serve on a local board or committee, send me a note or an e-mail letting me know what you did and how many hours you spent doing it.
KABVI News can’t report the activities of its members (or friends) if they’re not reported. I get Your groups’ newsletters and that tells me a little. But I believe more of you are active in your communities than we know.
As you send information, it will be categorized. We’ll learn KABVI’s strengths and establish a basis for the future. KABVI knows its history. Let’s look at the organization today, see where it is, and determine where KABVI is going! We ask that you record your activities, ideas, and suggestions and send them to the editor. KABVI needs the ideas and participation of everyone to make this a visible, meaningful organization.
A Loan from God
Author Anonymous – from Marilyn Lind
God promised at the birth of time a special friend to give. His time on earth is short, He said, so love him while he lives.
It may be for eight or ten years, or only two or three, but will you, till I call him back, take care of him for Me?
A wagging tail and cold wet nose, and silken velvet ears, a heart as big as all outdoors, to love you through the years.
His puppy ways will gladden you and antics bring a smile. As guardian or friend, he will be loyal all the while.
He'll bring his charms to grace your life And, though his stay be brief, when he's gone, the memories, are solace for your grief.
I cannot promise he will stay, since all from earth return, but lessons only a dog can teach I want you each to learn.
I've looked the whole world over in search of guardians true, and from the folk that crowd life's land, I have chosen you.
Whatever love you give to him returns in triple measure. Follow his lead and gain a life brim full of simple pleasure.
Enjoy each day as it comes, allow your heart to guide, be loyal and steadfast in love, as the dog there by your side.
Now will you give him all your love, nor think the labor vain, nor hate me when I come to call to take him back again?
I fancy each of us would say, “Dear Lord, thy will be done, for all the joys this dog shall bring, the risk of grief we'll run.
We'll shelter him with tenderness. We'll love him while we may, and for the happiness we've known, forever grateful stay.
But should the angels call for him much sooner than we've planned, we'll brave the bitter grief that comes, and try to understand.
If by our love, we've managed God's wishes to achieve, in memory of him that we have loved, will help us while we grieve.
When our faithful bundle departs this earthly world of strife, we’ll get yet another pup and love him all his life.
Report from the Board of Directors
By Nancy Johnson, Recording Secretary
President Ann Byington convened the meeting of the board of directors of the Kansas Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired (KABVI) April 22, 2017 at the corporate office . All directors were present.
Michael made the motion to approve the January 2017 minutes with corrections. Kathy seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Board members include: President Ann Byington; vice president Paul Berscheidt; treasurer Bob Chaffin; recording secretary Nancy Johnson; corresponding secretary Michael Byington, membership secretary Carolyn Thomason; Joyce Lewis; Henry Staub; Kathy Dawson; Bill Moore; Phyllis Schmidt; and Kurt Bailey. Kathy filled the vacancy left by Judy Hysten.
The treasurer’s report was discussed, then approved with a motion by Kathy and seconded by Nancy and Joyce.
Kathy reported donation of a car to KABVI. Bob indicated it takes four to six weeks for KABVI to see income from a vehicle donation.
Bob reported AT&T is decreasing charges in some areas. Paul contacted Vonage to possibly reduce telephone costs. He will research feasibility.
Ann reported KABVI’s mail is being forwarded to her home until people can be at the KABVI office on a schedule that can be shared with the post office. Two attorneys will open the adjoining office for business June 1. KABVI will still have access to the adjoining conference room by appointment.
Braille production as a fund raiser has not yet begun. Ann reported KABVI has missed two grant opportunities this year. The need to document activities performed by KABVI volunteers (all members and friends of the organization) was discussed. Grantors of funds want to see what an organization does. Directors asked Nancy to include an item in KABVI News explaining this and requesting that everyone involved in KABVI and volunteering in their communities send her which activities have been performed and the amount of time spent performing them. The information collected will be used as documentation when applying for grants and will be reported in the newsletter.
Possibilities for grants include videography to document KABVI’s history, “how to” job training videos, and to support KABVI News.
Ann was not able to attend the deaf and hard of hearing day at the capitol. She continues to work with Tim Hornik on the veteran’s day at the capitol.
Nancy now represents KABVI on the Kansas Advisory Committee for the Blind and Visually Impaired (KACBVI). No meeting had been held at the time of this meeting.
During the 2016 annual meeting a discussion of KABVI’s future and possible plans for the organization’s 100th anniversary were discussed. That information was to be compiled into a document and sent to all affiliates. From that information, each affiliate is asked to develop projects in which they can participate. The document will be sent soon.
Fund raising plans include involvement in Topeka’s “Day of Giving” and writing of grant requests. Anyone who shops at their local Dillons or Kroger store is encouraged to sign up for their Community Rewards program. Other similar programs are available, one of which is Amazon Smile.
The old mailing list, containing 412 records, will be discarded and the new database created by Carolyn will replace it. All the old database information will be removed from the office computer.
Paul reported he has not been able to update the software for the web site and Face Book. He will continue to investigate this and a hard drive to replace the server.
Phyllis reported she received one scholarship request. It looks like a good candidate.
Phyllis suggested setting up office hours to allow parents to check out books.
Ann will not chair an annual meeting/convention this year. Attendance is extremely small, and a great deal of work is involved in planning the event. KABVI does need to have an annual meeting to give the membership an opportunity to determine KABVI’s direction and have input into the organization’s business. Are there viable alternatives? Is anyone willing to chair a committee to put together the annual meeting/convention? Michael, with Nancy’s help, will work on putting something together.
Bill reported his e-mail address changed. It is now firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paul described his involvement in “Gray for a day,” in which the progressive disabilities that develop as we age were simulated. It was a one day activity sponsored by the K State Extension Agency.
Kathy moved for adjournment. Michael seconded. The meeting was adjourned at 12:45 p.m.
From “14 Things Your Eyes Say About Your Health” Part 2
By Paula Spencer Scott, Caring.com Author
Editor’s Note: When I look into the mirror, I see my reflection (sort of). I don’t see details. When I touch my face, I feel textures and shapes, but I don’t perceive the colors of those things I feel. Appearance is important. If something involving your eyes doesn’t seem right, follow up with a friend and then your doctor.
8. Whites of the eye turned yellowish: Two groups of people most often show this symptom, known as jaundice: Newborns with immature liver function and adults with problems of the liver, gallbladder, or bile ducts, including hepatitis and cirrhosis. The yellow in the white part of the eye (the sclera) is caused by a buildup of bilirubin, the by-product of old red blood cells the liver can't process. "Other tissues of the body would have the same look, but we can't see it as clearly as in the whites of the eye," says ophthalmologist Iwach. (Skin can also turn yellowish when a person consumes too much beta carotene -- found in carrots -- but in those cases the whites of the eyes remain white.) Mention the symptom to a doctor if the person isn't already under care for a liver-related disease, so the jaundice can be evaluated and the underlying cause treated.
9. A bump or brown spot on the eyelid: Even people who are vigilant about checking their skin may overlook the eyelid as a spot where skin cancer can strike. Most malignant eyelid tumors are basal cell carcinoma. When such a tumor appears as a brown spot, then -- as with any other form of skin cancer -- it's more likely to be malignant melanoma. Elderly, fair-skinned people are at highest risk. Look especially at the lower eyelid. The bump may look pearly, with tiny blood vessels. If the bump is in the eyelash area, some eyelashes may be missing. Always have any suspicious skin spots or sores checked out by a dermatologist, family physician, or eye doctor. Early detection is critical, before the problem spreads to nearby lymph nodes.
10. Eyes that seem to bulge: The most common cause of protruding eyes is hyperthyroidism (over activity of the thyroid gland), especially the form known as Graves' disease. (Former first Lady Barbara Bush has it.) One way to tell if an eye is bulging is to see whether there's any visible white part between the top of the iris and the upper eyelid, because normally there shouldn't be. (Some people inherit a tendency toward eyes that bulge, so if the appearance seems to run in a family, it probably isn't hyperthyroidism.) The person may not blink often and may seem to be staring at you. Because the condition develops slowly, it's sometimes first noticed in photos or by the occasional visitor rather than by someone who lives with the person every day. Mention the symptom to a doctor, especially if it's present in tandem with other signs of Graves' disease, including blurry vision, restlessness, fatigue, increase in appetite, weight loss, tremors, and palpitations. A blood test can measure thyroid levels. Treatment includes medication and surgery.
11. Sudden double vision, dim vision, or loss of vision: These are the visual warning signs of stroke. The other signs of stroke include sudden numbness or weakness of the arm or leg or face, typically on just one side of the body; trouble walking because of dizziness or loss of balance or coordination; slurred speech; or bad headache. In a large stroke (caused by a blood clot or bleeding in the brain), these symptoms happen all at once. In a smaller stroke caused by narrowed arteries, they can occur across a longer period of minutes or hours. Seek immediate medical help by calling 911.
12. Dry eyes that are sensitive to light: Sjogren's (pronounced "show-grins") syndrome is an immune system disorder. It impairs the glands in the eyes and mouth that keep them moist. Sjogren's usually affects women over age 40 with autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. Usually the eyes and mouth are affected together. The person may also have vaginal dryness, dry sinuses, and dry skin. Because of a lack of saliva, it can be difficult to chew and swallow. A doctor can diagnose Sjogren's through testing. Artificial lubricants (such as artificial tears) are usually necessary to protect the eyes, as well as to improve eating. Drinking plenty of water also helps.
13. Sudden difficulty closing one eye, inability to control tears in it: Bell's palsy is an impairment of the nerve that controls facial muscles (the seventh cranial nerve), causing temporary paralysis in half the face. It sometimes follows a viral infection (such as shingles, mono, or HIV) or a bacterial infection (such as Lyme disease). Diabetics and pregnant women are also at higher risk. Half of the entire face, not just the eye, is affected. Effects vary from person to person, but the overall effect is for the face to appear droopy and be weak. The eyelid may droop and be difficult or impossible to close, and there will be either excessive tearing or an inability to produce tears. The effects tend to come on suddenly. See a doctor. Most cases are temporary and the person recovers completely within weeks. Rarely, the condition can recur. Physical therapy helps restore speaking, smiling, and other tasks that require the facial muscles working in unison, and it also helps avoid an asymmetrical appearance. Professional eye care can keep the affected eye lubricated and undamaged.
14. Blurred vision in a diabetic: Diabetics are at increased risk for several eye problems, including glaucoma and cataracts. But the most common threat to vision is diabetic retinopathy, in which the diabetes affects the circulatory system of the eye. It's the leading cause of blindness in American adults. The changes linked to diabetic retinopathy tend to show up in people who have had the disease for a long time, not those recently diagnosed. The person may also see "floaters," tiny dark specks in the field of vision. Sometimes diabetes causes small hemorrhages (bleeding) that are visible in the eye. There's no pain. People with poorly controlled blood sugar may have worse symptoms. Someone with diabetes should have a dilated eye exam annually to catch and control the earliest stages of retinopathy, glaucoma, cataracts, or other changes -- before they manifest as changes you're aware of.
It’s time to shift gears a bit. Our chapters are important to KABVI. They are keeping in touch with their communities and new developments in low vision aids. Good friendships have developed within the groups. That needs to continue. You are an asset to your communities.
But it isn’t enough for us to associate only with one another. I believe we who are blind or visually impaired differ from our sighted peers only in the techniques we use to achieve our goals. We use assistive technology, adaptive techniques, and alternative methods of transportation.
Each of us has a responsibility to KABVI and to our communities to become a part of them. What are you, individually, doing within your communities to help KABVI become visible?
Please tell our readers about your involvement in your community. In what activities have you been involved, and how much time have you given to them? This space will be used to show the work of KABVI’s members and friends in local communities.
Once a month, shoot me an e-mail, a Braille or print note by snail-mail, or message by phone to let me know what you’re doing in your community. Watch this space for “Community Updates” to learn how active are KABVI’s members and friends.
Nancy Johnson, Editor, KABVI News
714 SW Wayne Ave. Topeka, KS 66606-1753
(785) 234-8449. Supermom1941@cox.net.
No notices of the death of any members or special friends of KABVI were received. If I missed hearing of someone, please let me know. Information can be e-mailed to email@example.com or sent to KABVI c/o Nancy Johnson, 714 SW Wayne Ave., Topeka, KS 66606-1753. Please accept my apology if I’ve missed someone.
2017 Membership and KABVI NEWS Renewal
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Hays, KS 67601