Mission: The saint louis society for the blind and visually impaired enhances independence, empowers individuals and enriches the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired and their families. Caring, qualified staff provide specialized vision rehabilitation, adaptive education, assistive technology and support services.
Programs: Vision rehabilitation services individualized vision rehabilitation services are provided to those who are visually impaired or blind due to macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, cataracts, traumatic head injury and other medical conditions. Rehabilitative needs addressed include how to best use remaining vision; medication management; daily living skills training; prevention of injuries; emotional and mental health issues (including adjustment and depression); adaptive communication; and family support. Group services address psychological, emotional and social isolation issues affecting an individual's ability to live in a safe, healthy and independent manner. The majority of individuals are referred by their ophthalmologist or other eye care specialist and many are diagnosed with multiple eye conditions. Individuals receive vision rehabilitation services from the society's state or nationally certified and/or licensed low vision therapists, vision rehabilitation therapists, orientation & mobility specialists, clinical social worker, occupational therapist and other related professionals. As well as individual rehabilitative training, various aids, equipment, devices, technology and adaptive techniques are used to assist the individual in adjusting to vision loss or blindness in order to restore or maintain independence in daily living activities. Services are provided in-home as well as at the society's offices. Because most individuals are not able to drive to their vision loss, the society offices were purposely located along key public transportation routes. In addition, the society provides transportation assistance to ensure all individuals, regardless of income, have access to individualized vision rehabilitation services. Because most vision rehabilitation services and low vision aids are not covered by insurance or medicare, most services are provided at no cost to the individualprescriptive devices or other vision rehabilitation aids can be provided to individuals at no charge or through a loan program if there is an inability to pay. During 2014, a total of 180 different individuals were provided with approximately $8,000 in vision aids, equipment, and eyeglasses. An additional 129 distinct individuals were provided transportation assistance via taxi or society driver, representing 884 one way trips.
through a low vision clinic (drews low vision clinic) and low vision services, evaluations are provided by a licensed doctor of optometry and certified low vision therapist or occupational therapist. Functional eye exams address ways to best utilize remaining vision, prescriptive eyeglasses, and how to prevent additional vision loss. The majority of those individuals seen are experiencing vision loss due to an age-related eye condition. Adaptive vision aids and equipment are available to help the individual best use remaining vision. These assist individuals in completing daily living tasks including managing and taking medication, reading, and watching television. Over 250 different low vision aids are available and are provided to individuals at no charge if they are unable to afford such devices. An equipment loan program is also available for those unable to afford recommended low vision equipment. In-home follow up by the low vision therapist or occupational therapist provides rehabilitative low vision training and ensures the individual will best use recommended low vision equipment/aids. Transportation assistance is provided to any individual needing help in getting to the drews low vision clinic. During 2014, 15 individuals received stipend support ranging from 80% to 100% of the cost of the device for electronic magnification devices (cctv's) for reading, medication management, bill paying and other uses. The value of the support provided to these individuals amounted to approximately $20,000 during 2014.
children's services provides over 1,800 hours of special education services to 99 school age students in public and home schools within a 60-mile radius of st louis in both illinois and missouri, with 1,400 hours of travel time required to provide these services. Certified teachers of the visually impaired and orientation & mobility specialists provide direct services in addressing academic skills, braille instruction, independent travel in school and community, as well as evaluations and consultation with regular education teachers. Adaptive technology training, use of computer word processing, internet instruction as well as social and daily living skills training is also provided throughout the year.