Social Workers for the Blind are responsible for planning and providing Adjustment Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired. As Case Manager, the Social Worker for the Blind is responsible for assessing each consumer's skills and abilities to determine his/her readiness for services. This Assessment will measure the consumer's emotional and physical adjustment to blindness or visual impairment.
The Social Worker for the Blind is responsible for the direct provision of basic services and basic skills training. A listing of these services and skill areas is located in item A.1 below. If the consumer requires extensive consumer-worker skills training over an extended period of time, the Social Worker for the Blind will refer the consumer to one or more Resource Specialists to expedite skills training to meet the demands of daily living. A comprehensive explanation of basic and extensive services, along with case illustrations, is contained in Section 300: Case Process for Social Workers for the Blind.
For Social Workers for the Blind, Adjustment Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired incorporate the planning and service delivery functions involved with the service as well as the overall responsibilities of their Case Manager role.
This service is provided to every consumer receiving Independent Living Services and is always given through direct provision by the Social Worker for the Blind. The service may be provided in conjunction with one or more other independent living services funded through Social Services Block Grant.
A. Service Areas
1. Skills Development to Meet Demands of Daily Living
The Social Worker for the Blind is responsible for providing basic services and basic skills training in areas such as, but not limited to:
a. Grooming skills, such as:
Separation and matching of clothing
Organization of personal items
Labeling of articles and clothing with Braille labels or other identification method
b. Homemaking skills, such as:
Use of special cleaning techniques for home and clothing
Use of laundry and cleaning equipment
Cooking and service meals
Care of yards and entry ways to promote general health and safety
c. Personal skills, such as:
d. Communication skills, such as:
Telephone dialing and use of 4-track tape player
Use of writing guides for signature, check writing and addressing envelopes
Accessing services from agencies such as Radio Reading Service and Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
Braille instruction- given the shortage of qualified Braille instructors, either the SWB or ILRC may provide this service.
e. Orientation and Mobility Skills, such as
Training in self-protection and pre-cane techniques
Use of sighted guides
Referral to Orientation and Mobility Specialist for training in cane techniques and electronic travel aids (ETA’S)
2. Skills Development through Group Services
Adjustment Services that enhance skills development for the consumer’s adjustment to and acceptance of his/her visual limitations through the participation in camping, recreational and/or group learning programs.
The following group services are available and are arranged for the consumer by the Social Worker for the Blind:
a. Camping Experiences at Camp Dogwood
The North Carolina Lions Association for the Blind offers a comprehensive group service program through its facilities at Camp Dogwood located in Sherrill’s Ford in Catawba County.
Eligible consumers may be sponsored for a week at Camp Dogwood by a local Lion's organization. During the week-long session, activities such as bowling, dancing, games, team sports, swimming, fishing, and horseback riding provide opportunities for consumers to improve their skills in socialization, orientation and mobility and meeting the demands of daily living. The Social Worker for the Blind will assist consumers in completing the camp application and will contact local Lions to obtain sponsorship for consumers to attend Camp Dogwood.
b. Utilizing Local Recreation Programs
City and county recreational departments offer a variety of programs that provide supervised athletic activity and instruction in various arts and crafts activities. The Social Worker for the Blind will contact these departments to determine the availability of programs appropriate for consumers' needs.
No costs for participation in these programs are reimbursable by the by the Division of Services for the Blind. If the consumer is unable to pay any required program and/or registration costs, the Social Worker for the Blind will investigate all possible local sources of funding for these services.
c. Participation in group learning experiences and local support groups
The Social Worker for the Blind will encourage consumers to participate in these group activities.
The following resources may be provided, as agency funds permit, when necessary to enable a consumer to participate in Adjustment Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired. When the consumer's Service Plan includes such items, the Social Worker for the Blind will investigate all community resources that may pay for or otherwise provide these services/resource items. These local resources include the consumer's and/or his family's ability to pay for such items.
A. Adaptive Aids and Equipment
Various supplies and equipment are available to assist a blind or visually impaired individual to develop skills in meeting the demands of daily living. These items generally use sound or touch to replace vision in housekeeping, communication and personal skills.
1. Examples of Adaptive Aids and Equipment
a. Items for homemaking, communication and sewing, such as long sleeve mitts for handling hot dishes and cooking utensils, lock-lid saucepans, measuring cups and spoons, timers, liquid level indicators, signature guides, check-writing guides, self-threading needles, talking clocks and large-print telephone dials.
b. Health and safety-related items, such as:
(1) Talking scales
(2) Pre-set insulin devices for blind or visually impaired diabetics that enable them to self-administer daily insulin. These items contain measuring devices that are pre-set to measure the amount of the injection and must be prescribed by a health care professional to ensure that the consumer can use the device properly.
c. Other Adaptive Aids and Equipment:
Equipment such as typewriters, Braille Writers and microwave ovens may be purchased for a consumer (based on availability of funds). To purchase such equipment, the Social Worker for the Blind will prepare a written justification and submit it to the Chief of Independent Living Services for consideration. If approved, the justification is submitted with the authorization form.
2. Sources of Adaptive Aids and Equipment
a. DSB State Office:
The State Office maintains a supply of the most frequently requested items in its Aids and Appliances Section. Contact Donna Wiggins in the Aids & Appliances Section at (919) 715-0249 for information on item availability and current costs. Items consistent with and complementary to the consumer's Service Plan may be purchased from the A&A Section using regular Authorization procedures, as funds permit. Consumers may use the toll-free number (866-222-1546) and request to be transferred to the Aids & Appliances Section.
b. State Purchase and Contract:
Some adaptive aids and equipment may be purchased only from certain vendors who, through competitive bidding, may sell their products to the State of North Carolina. For a listing of these items and procedures for ordering, contact your Area Supervisor of Social Services. The requested items must play an instrumental part in the consumer's attainment of more adaptability and independence in his/her environment and may be purchased as funds permit.
c. Other Sources:
Catalogues issued by vendors of specialty products contain a wide assortment of adaptive aids and equipment for blind and visually impaired persons of all ages. Adaptive aids and equipment consistent with and complementary to the consumer’s Service Plan may be purchased through regular Authorization procedures as funds permit.
3. Payment for Adaptive Aids and Equipment
The Social Worker for the Blind will determine if the consumer is able to pay for any, or all, items of adaptive aids and equipment purchased on his/her behalf. If the consumer is unable to purchase needed items, the Social Worker for the Blind will investigate all possible sources of payment for adaptive aids and equipment. All potential sources of payment are to be investigated such as Medicaid, Medicare, local Lions Associations, fraternal organizations, church groups and other community programs.
If no resources are available, the Division of Services for the Blind will purchase the adaptive aids and equipment in accordance with the consumer's Service Plan as funds permit.
B. Low Vision Evaluation by Nursing Eye Care Consultant
A low vision evaluation will assess the consumer's vision strengths and weaknesses and determine his/her potential to use low vision aids. Consumers with visual acuity of 20/70 or less, best corrected, in the better eye, the presence of chronic eye pathology and/or a functional handicap may be referred for a low vision evaluation. To make referral, use DSB-2205: Referral for Low Vision Evaluation (Section 500, F-3). The SWB will forward all referral documents including an eye report no more than one year old to the Nursing Eye Care Consultant before the NECC conducts the low vision evaluation.
The Nursing Eye Care Consultant will schedule an appointment with the consumer at the earliest possible date. If the evaluation indicates that one or more low vision aids can benefit the consumer in meeting the demands of daily living, the Nursing Eye Care Consultant will forward a recommendation to the Social Worker for the Blind on the type of aid, price and source. The SWB will authorize the purchase of the low vision aid(s) and will deliver the item(s) to the consumer upon receipt.
C. Braille Production
The Communications Unit of the Division of Services for the Blind converts regular print materials into Braille. The service is provided to agency staff and consumers without charge. If other agencies or consumer groups need materials converted to Braille, they may contact the Communications Unit at the State Office to receive a cost estimate. The phone number for the Unit is (919) 733-9700.
A. Case Recording Requirements
The worker will use Code 360 to document consumer's receipt of Adjustment Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Refer to section 320 in this Manual for case recording requirements.
B. Documentation in Electronic Services System
Refer to ESS Manual and computer terminal screens for electronic reporting requirements.
For questions or clarification on any of the policy contained in these
manuals, please contact the local district office.