Annual Report - Independent Living Services For Older Individuals Who Are Blind

RSA-7-OB for Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services - H177B110001 report through September 30, 2011

Part I: Funding Sources And Expenditures

Title VII-Chapter 2 Federal grant award for reported fiscal year510,214
Other federal grant award for reported fiscal year0
Title VII-Chapter 2 carryover from previous year236,205
Other federal grant carryover from previous year479,914
A. Funding Sources for Expenditures in Reported FY
A1. Title VII-Chapter 2746,419
A2. Total other federal479,914
(a) Title VII-Chapter 1-Part B0
(b) SSA reimbursement0
(c) Title XX - Social Security Act0
(d) Older Americans Act0
(e) Other479,914
A3. State (excluding in-kind)56,691
A4. Third party0
A5. In-kind0
A6. Total Matching Funds56,691
A7. Total All Funds Expended1,283,024
B. Total expenditures and encumbrances allocated to administrative, support staff, and general overhead costs272,570
C. Total expenditures and encumbrances for direct program services1,010,454

Part II: Staffing

FTE (full time equivalent) is based upon a 40-hour workweek or 2080 hours per year.

A. Full-time Equivalent (FTE)

Program Staff a) Administrative and Support b) Direct Service c) Total
1. FTE State Agency 5.3900 6.7500 12.1400
2. FTE Contractors 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000
3. Total FTE 5.3900 6.7500 12.1400

B. Employed or advanced in employment

a) Number employed b) FTE
1. Employees with Disabilities 12 2.8000
2. Employees with Blindness Age 55 and Older 6 1.7500
3. Employees who are Racial/Ethnic Minorities 10 3.6000
4. Employees who are Women 49 12.6400
5. Employees Age 55 and Older 21 5.7000

C. Volunteers


Part III: Data on Individuals Served

Provide data in each of the categories below related to the number of individuals for whom one or more services were provided during the reported fiscal year.

A. Individuals Served

1. Number of individuals who began receiving services in the previous FY and continued to receive services in the reported FY502
2. Number of individuals who began receiving services in the reported FY627
3. Total individuals served during the reported fiscal year (A1 + A2) 1,129

B. Age

1. 55-5976
2. 60-64100
3. 65-69125
4. 70-74118
5. 75-79153
6. 80-84210
7. 85-89194
8. 90-94115
9. 95-9931
10. 100 & over7
11. Total (must agree with A3)1,129

C. Gender

1. Female793
2. Male336
3. Total (must agree with A3)1,129

D. Race/Ethnicity

For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race3
2. American Indian or Alaska Native1
3. Asian0
4. Black or African American186
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White939
7. Two or more races0
8. Race and ethnicity unknown (only if consumer refuses to identify)0
9. Total (must agree with A3)1,129

E. Degree of Visual Impairment

1. Totally Blind (LP only or NLP)67
2. Legally Blind (excluding totally blind)544
3. Severe Visual Impairment518
4. Total (must agree with A3)1,129

F. Major Cause of Visual Impairment

1. Macular Degeneration578
2. Diabetic Retinopathy118
3. Glaucoma144
4. Cataracts35
5. Other254
6. Total (must agree with A3)1,129

G. Other Age-Related Impairments

1. Hearing Impairment356
2. Diabetes350
3. Cardiovascular Disease and Strokes790
4. Cancer156
5. Bone, Muscle, Skin, Joint, and Movement Disorders659
6. Alzheimer's Disease/Cognitive Impairment65
7. Depression/Mood Disorder65
8. Other Major Geriatric Concerns435

H. Type of Residence

1. Private residence (house or apartment)1,032
2. Senior Living/Retirement Community21
3. Assisted Living Facility57
4. Nursing Home/Long-term Care facility19
5. Homeless0
6. Total (must agree with A3)1,129

I. Source of Referral

1. Eye care provider (ophthalmologist, optometrist)167
2. Physician/medical provider67
3. State VR agency97
4. Government or Social Service Agency166
5. Veterans Administration0
6. Senior Center16
7. Assisted Living Facility0
8. Nursing Home/Long-term Care facility0
9. Faith-based organization1
10. Independent Living center0
11. Family member or friend245
12. Self-referral322
13. Other48
14. Total (must agree with A3)1,129

Part IV: Types of Services Provided and Resources Allocated

Provide data related to the number of older individuals who are blind receiving each type of service and resources committed to each type of service.

A. Clinical/functional vision assessments and services

Cost Persons Served
1a. Total Cost from VII-2 funds 13,347
1b. Total Cost from other funds 1,483
2. Vision screening / vision examination / low vision evaluation 627
3. Surgical or therapeutic treatment to prevent, correct, or modify disabling eye conditions 0

B. Assistive technology devices and services

Cost Persons Served
1a. Total Cost from VII-2 funds 531,684
1b. Total Cost from other funds 59,076
2. Provision of assistive technology devices and aids 750
3. Provision of assistive technology services 764

C. Independent living and adjustment training and services

Cost Persons Served
1a. Total Cost from VII-2 funds 360,796
1b. Total Cost from other funds 40,088
2. Orientation and Mobility training 238
3. Communication skills 630
4. Daily living skills 694
5. Supportive services (reader services, transportation, personal 5
6. Advocacy training and support networks 164
7. Counseling (peer, individual and group) 364
8. Information, referral and community integration 440
. Other IL services 434

D. Community Awareness: Events & Activities

Cost a. Events / Activities b. Persons Served
1a. Total Cost from VII-2 funds 3,583
1b. Total Cost from other funds 398
2. Information and Referral 0
3. Community Awareness: Events/Activities 264 8,356

Part V: Comparison of Prior Year Activities to Current Reported Year

A. Activity

a) Prior Year b) Reported FY c) Change ( + / - )
1. Program Cost (all sources) 617,690 1,283,024 665,334
2. Number of Individuals Served 1,179 1,129 -50
3. Number of Minority Individuals Served 191 190 -1
4. Number of Community Awareness Activities 240 264 24
5. Number of Collaborating agencies and organizations 25 25 0
6. Number of Sub-grantees 0 0

Part VI: Program Outcomes/Performance Measures

Provide the following data for each of the performance measures below. This will assist RSA in reporting results and outcomes related to the program.

Number of persons Percent of persons
A1. Number of individuals receiving AT (assistive technology) services and training 764 100.00%
A2. Number of individuals receiving AT (assistive technology) services and training who maintained or improved functional abilities that were previously lost or diminished as a result of vision loss. (closed/inactive cases only) 511 66.88%
A3. Number of individuals for whom functional gains have not yet been determined at the close of the reporting period. 160 20.94%
B1. Number of individuals who received orientation and mobility (O & M) services 238 100.00%
B2. Of those receiving orientation and mobility (O & M) services, the number of individuals who experienced functional gains or maintained their ability to travel safely and independently in their residence and/or community environment as a result of services. (closed/inactive cases only) 126 52.94%
B3. Number of individuals for whom functional gains have not yet been determined at the close of the reporting period. 55 23.11%
C1. Number of individuals who received communication skills training 630 100.00%
C2. Of those receiving communication skills training, the number of individuals who gained or maintained their functional abilities as a result of services they received. (Closed/inactive cases only) 325 51.59%
C3. Number of individuals for whom functional gains have not yet been determined at the close of the reporting period. 150 23.81%
D1. Number of individuals who received daily living skills training 694 100.00%
D2. Number of individuals that experienced functional gains or successfully restored or maintained their functional ability to engage in their customary daily life activities as a result of services or training in personal management and daily living skills. (closed/inactive cases only) 450 64.84%
D3. Number of individuals for whom functional gains have not yet been determined at the close of the reporting period. 121 17.44%
E1. Number of individuals served who reported feeling that they are in greater control and are more confident in their ability to maintain their current living situation as a result of services they received. (closed/inactive cases only) 654 n/a
E2. Number of individuals served who reported feeling that they have less control and confidence in their ability to maintain their current living situation as a result of services they received. (closed/inactive cases only) 3 n/a
E3. Number of individuals served who reported no change in their feelings of control and confidence in their ability to maintain their current living situation as a result of services they received. (closed/inactive cases only) 56 n/a
E4. Number of individuals served who experienced changes in lifestyle for reasons unrelated to vision loss. (closed/inactive cases only) 44 n/a
E5. Number of individuals served who died before achieving functional gain or experiencing changes in lifestyle as a result of services they received. (closed/inactive cases only) 5 n/a

Part VII: Narrative

A. Briefly describe the agency's method of implementation for the Title VII-Chapter 2 program (i.e. in-house, through sub-grantees/contractors, or a combination) incorporating outreach efforts to reach underserved and/or unserved populations. Please list all sub-grantees/contractors.

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (ADRS) Older Alabamians System of Information and Services (OASIS) Program administers older blind services funded under Title VII Chapter 2 through a network of nineteen Rehabilitation Teachers and two Orientation & Mobility Specialists positioned throughout the state in eleven ADRS offices in order to make services available in all 67 counties of the state. The two Orientation & Mobility Specialists are positioned one in the Dothan area and one the Mobile area in order to provide maximum coverage utilizing these staff. A third Orientation & Mobility Specialists was positioned in Huntsville. However, this staff member retired during this fiscal year. There are also a number of Orientation & Mobility Specialists on the state vendor list for purchased services as needed to maintain coverage to all areas. Three Rehabilitation Teachers are employed at 1.0 FTE using VII-2 funds and devote 100% of their time to the Program. Sixteen Rehabilitation Teachers are employed with funds jointly provided by the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services and the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind and devote 25% of their time to the Program. The two Orientation & Mobility Specialists are employed with funding jointly provided by the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services and the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind and devote 25% of their time to the Program.

OASIS continues to offer center-based services in Birmingham, Mobile, Muscle Shoals, and Huntsville in collaboration with the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind Regional Centers and the Birmingham Independent Living Centers. Plans to expand center-based services in other areas of the state continue.

B. Briefly describe any activities designed to expand or improve services including collaborative activities or community awareness; and efforts to incorporate new methods and approaches developed by the program into the State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL) under Section 704.

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services seeks to incorporate the unique approach of the Title VII Chapter 2 Program into the State Plan for Independent Living under section 704 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended. Of note are several methods and approaches implemented and/ or maintained in fiscal year 2011.

OASIS has been building collaborative partnerships to plan for center-based rehabilitation teaching services in several parts of the state. Center-based services are now established between OASIS and the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind Regional Centers in Mobile, Muscle Shoals, Birmingham, and Huntsville. As previously indicated, plans to expand center- based services in other areas of the state continue. The OASIS Advisory Council is made up of over twenty five agencies and organizations and consumer groups who serve the population of older citizens and persons who are blind. The OASIS Advisory Council, which meets quarterly, forms the basis of many collaborative partnerships for the OASIS Program. One of these collaborative partnerships is with the Cahaba Valley Health Care providing vision and dental screenings to Hispanic residents in Jefferson County. A Rehabilitation Teacher working in the OASIS Program is fluent in both English and Spanish and has been an important part of this collaboration. OASIS also continues to maintain a strong collaborative partnership with the Alabama Department of Senior Services (ADSS). There are 367 nutrition sites throughout Alabama and many are located in rural underserved areas of the state. The ADSS Statewide Nutrition Coordinator also serves on the OASIS Advisory Council. OASIS has continued to make services available to Native Americans within the Poarch Creek Indian Reservation located in the Atmore area of Alabama. A referral network is also maintained with the Talladega Federal Correctional Institute. The referral system assures services to an otherwise potentially unserved population. Community awareness and collaboration is also enhanced in a long standing partnership with Senior Companion Program. OASIS staff, when needed, provides "Orientation to Blindness" training to newly employed companions who will be working in local communities in contact with individuals and families who could benefit from OASIS services. The training allows Senior Companions to be better equipped to work with individuals who have lost vision.

On-going collaboration between OASIS and the Department of Veterans Affairs Southeastern Blind Rehabilitation Center serves to coordinate services to older Alabamians who are veterans. OASIS consumers who are eligible for VA Blind Rehabilitation Services are referred to the VA VIST Coordinator. In addition to on-going collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs, OASIS continues to maintain an on-going collaboration with The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Low Vision Center which serves older patients from around the state. A multi-faceted approach incorporating various products and activities is used to disseminate information concerning services available to persons who are older and blind with regard to community awareness. An exhibit board and Program brochures are used at various health fairs and other events to provide Program awareness. One such event is the Alumni and Workers for the Blind/Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind and Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services Technology Symposium held annually for consumers and the public. Program brochures are distributed in print, Braille, on CD, on cassette tape, and in large print. The brochure is also available in Spanish. Over 66,500 brochures have been distributed as of September 30, 2011. An update of the OASIS brochure was completed. New brochures will be distributed during fiscal year 2012. Several other outreach activities were initiated during 2011. The Oasis Resource Guide, which was edited in 2009, is now being updated, printed in house, and distributed to consumers, families, and other professionals working with older Alabamians. To improve facilitation of this process, a Braille machine was purchased for in-house production. Presentations providing an overview of the OASIS program were given at several Senior Centers, physicians’ offices, and other programs serving seniors throughout the state. Staff participated in the Senior Fair in Mobile, a Diabetic Fair in Dothan, and a Weatherization Event in Shelby County. Collaborative activities are being achieved through a network of consumer driven support groups throughout the state. A total of 32 support groups have been developed by OASIS over the past fourteen years. Two new support groups were facilitated in Montgomery and Cherokee counties. Staff provided information and guidance to support groups throughout the year. A total of 8,356 individuals were served through 264 community awareness activities; and a total of 6,968 outreach contacts and a total of 5,878 community collaboration contacts were recorded for fiscal year 2011. Additional funds through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) were made available and approved for spending from Alabama’s Governor during fiscal year 2011. A portion of this funding has been utilized to provide staff with additional learning opportunities. In fiscal year 2010, a portion of these funds were used to improve and enhance services in a variety of ways. An "E Learning" internet license was purchased from the American Foundation for the Blind to provide training to Rehabilitation Teachers and Orientation and Mobility Specialists on a variety of topics related to serving older individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Several Rehabilitation Teachers and Orientation and Mobility Specialists have completed the 20 training modules. This project allows new and existing staff an opportunity to learn additional information regarding working with the older low vision/ blind population. CEU’s are available for staff that completes the 20 training modules. During fiscal year 2011, this training resource was extended through fiscal year 2014. Through stimulus funds, OASIS has been able to purchase 15 individual licenses for Vision Rehabilitation Assistant training, and 30 individual licenses for the Multi-E-Skills Vision Rehabilitation Training Program through Lighthouse International.

Rehabilitation Teachers and Orientation and Mobility Specialists have also benefited from other various training opportunities. They have been able to participate in RT/ O& M meetings. The first meeting was held in February 2011. The second meeting was held in August 2011 with guest speaker, Brian Gerritsen , who provided in-depth training on the use of magnifiers. Some staff members were also able to attend the AER Regional Conferences in Dayton, FL and Boston, MA during this fiscal year.

We have distributed demonstration equipment and supplies to rehabilitation teaching and orientation & mobility staff in order to improve the assessment and service provision process. Portable CCTVs (Acrobat 19”) and handheld magnifiers (Ruby) were ordered and delivered by the vendors. Other types of supplies, such as magnification kits, monocular kits, simulator kits, other independent living aids, and display boards have been purchased and distributed to staff. The provision of cell phones to direct service staff continue so as to allow for improved efficiency in the field while serving our consumers. Accessible phones were provided to staff that are visually impaired when appropriate.

Additionally, funds were used to purchase Orientation and Mobility services through qualified contract vendors in areas of the state where our staff were unable to provide full coverage.

The OASIS Program completed a collaborative project with E.H. Gentry, a program of The Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind, in developing a one-week adjustment to blindness camp for OASIS consumers. Camp SAVI (Seniors Adapting to Visual Impairments) consisted of two one-week sessions that were held at E. H. Gentry Facility on May 1 - 6, 2011 and July 17 — 22, 2011. ADRS/OASIS staff and Gentry staff were utilized to provide adjustment and ILS training to participants. Topics covered included: adjustment to blindness, Braille, independent living skills, orientation and mobility, assistive technology, and health and wellness. Classes were also offered to support persons who accompanied a consumer to the training. Presentations were also made by Dr. Nancy Mascia and staff from the AIDB Senior Services Program. At the completion of the program, participants received binders with copies of their low vision and AT assessments, as well as other program reports and resources. They also received goodie bags with various low vision adaptive resources and supplies. A total of 19 VIP (Visually Impaired Persons) and 9 Support Persons were served through this program. We received good feedback from all those involved. Consideration for continuing this project on an annual basis is being explored.

Another collaborative component of the Camp SAVI project included partnering with UAB Center for Low Vision to provide low vision evaluations and eye exams to camp participants.

Other collaborative projects that have been developed include setting up demonstration equipment through the Birmingham Independent Living Resources and other Centers for Independent Living in Montgomery and Mobile. This equipment will be utilized by seniors who may need access to services through the centers and will also increase awareness to the availability of services offered through the OASIS program. Equipment for this project has been received in the ADRS office and will be distributed.

A proposal was submitted by the American Foundation for the Blind Senior Site and has been approved. This proposal included establishing 8 — 10 Information Centers in key locations throughout Alabama to provide public education and information regarding blindness/ aging organizations. Information Centers feature kiosks containing brochures, pamphlets, tip sheets, monographs, etc. in print, large print, and Braille. A total of sixteen sites have been established throughout the state. The OASIS program also collaborated with AFB-Senior Site to develop the tip sheets that are included at the information centers.

The ARRA Stimulus funds have resulted in the completion of two grants during the fiscal year 2011. The Radio Reading Service was provided $40,000 for operation during this year. The Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) was provided $1449.00 for training.

ARRA Stimulus funds have also been instrumental in the provision of additional high-end assistive technology to consumers. OASIS/ADRS completed work with the Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging to develop a Memorandum of Agreement to increase collaboration efforts between the two agencies. OASIS is represented at quarterly Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging Meetings. OASIS staff participated in the Blooming Benefits Day projects in Jefferson, Shelby, Chilton, Blount, and Walker counties. This was collaborative effort initiated through the Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging. OASIS also has two rehabilitation teachers who serve as Hadley Ambassadors. As Hadley Ambassadors, they collaborate with Hadley to assist consumers and to enhance the expertise and services of professionals through free distance education courses. This collaboration helps to improve consumer rehabilitation experiences and cost-effectiveness. During fiscal year 2010, The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services also created a new position of Rehabilitation Teaching and Orientation and Mobility Coordinator. The staff person in this position is responsible for statewide consultation, technical assistance, training, and quality control for the Rehabilitation Teaching and Orientation and Mobility programs. This has proven to be beneficial in improving the efforts of maintaining and retaining qualified staff to serve consumers in the older blind program, and in increasing the amount of resources available to staff and consumers during the 2011 fiscal year.

C. Briefly summarize results from any of the most recent evaluations or satisfaction surveys conducted for your program and attach a copy of applicable reports.

A Consumer Satisfaction Survey was distributed to each OASIS consumer at closure during fiscal 2011. Findings from analyses of returned surveys indicate that 99% of consumers agreed or strongly agreed that services were provided in a timely manner, that teachers were attentive and interested in their well-being and were familiar with blindness-specific techniques and aids. Further, 98% agreed or strongly agreed that they were satisfied with the quality of services received.

Consumers responded to questions regarding services related to their ability to travel safely and independently in their home and/or community, prepare meals, manage housekeeping tasks, manage paperwork, access reading material, their dependence on others in performing daily activities, their perceptions of control and confidence in maintaining their living situations, and how devices and equipment had impacted their ability to engage in life activities. For each of these questions, consumers were asked if they felt they experienced an improvement, no change, or a decrease in their level of functioning because of receiving services. If they did not receive a service, they indicated so on the respective question. Note that percentages may not total 100% due to rounding. • When asked about their ability to travel in the home and community, 56% of consumers reported they were better able to travel in their home and/or community, 19% reported no change, and 25% reported not receiving the service. • When asked about meal preparation, 53% of consumers reporting being better able to prepare meals, 14% reported no change, less than 1% reported less able, and 33% reported not receiving the service. • When asked about their ability to manage housekeeping tasks, such as cleaning floors/surfaces and organizing, 29% of consumers reported being better able to manage housekeeping tasks, 16% reported no change, 1% reported a decline, and 54% reported not receiving the service. • When asked about their ability to manage paperwork, 65% of consumers reported being better able to better manage their paperwork,16% reported no change, and 19% reported not receiving the service. • When asked about their ability to access reading materials, 83% of consumers reported being better able to access reading materials, 11% reported no change, less than 1% reported being less able to access reading materials, and 5% reported not receiving the service. • Of consumers reporting receiving one or more of the previous services, 71% indicated being less dependent on others, 27% reported no change, and 2% reported being more dependent on others. • When asked about functioning before services, 78% indicated they now have greater control and confidence in their ability to maintain their current living situation, 21% reported no change, and 1% indicated feeling less control and confidence. • Among consumers receiving devices or equipment, 79% indicated that devices had improved their ability to engage in customary life activities, 20% reported devices had helped them maintain their ability, and less than 1% reported that they were not using any of the devices or equipment provided by the program.

If consumers participated in a peer support group or the OASIS Peer Support Network, they were asked how helpful it was. Twenty-one consumers (17%) reported they had participated in a peer support group. Of those reporting peer support group participation, 16 found it very helpful, 3 found it helpful, and 2 found it somewhat helpful. In addition, 27 consumers reporting no peer support participation indicated that they were interested in participating in a support group.

In addition to demographic questions, the survey included questions regarding changes in vision and health over the previous year. Results indicated that 60% of consumers had experienced reduced vision, 5% had improved vision, and 36% had stable vision. With respect to overall health, 33% reported that their health had worsened, 9% reported improved health, and 59% reported stable health. Consumers were also asked if they had considered going into a nursing home before services and if services had helped them remain in their homes: 28% of respondents reported they had sometimes or often considered a nursing home; 73% reported that OASIS services had helped them remain in their homes. Overall, results demonstrate the quality and benefits from services provided by the OASIS program. A copy of the complete program evaluation report conducted by Mississippi State University’s Rehabilitation Research and Training Center will be sent when the final version is available.

D. Briefly describe the impact of the Title VII-Chapter 2 program, citing examples from individual cases (without identifying information) in which services contributed significantly to increasing independence and quality of life for the individual(s).

The following accounts submitted by Rehabilitation Teachers illustrate important aspects of the impact the OASIS Program has had on persons who are older and blind or visually impaired and their families with regard to their maintenance of and/or increase in independence during 2011. Ms. May is an 87 year old female with glaucoma. She lives alone and would like to remain independent in her home and community. Ms. May is highly involved in her church and community. Due to her vision impairment she finds it difficult to maintain many day to day activities. She was referred to the OASIS program by her optometrist. The rehabilitation teacher visited Ms. May in her home to explain additional information about the OASIS program and to gather more information about how her vision affected her daily independent living. After receiving services from OASIS, Ms. May is able to use her computer due to keyboard and screen modifications. Ms. May is able to independently sign her name, write checks, notes, and shopping lists. Ms. May was provided with a magnifier that allows her to read the newspaper and to study Sunday school lessons. Ms. May realized that simple modifications could allow her to use her computer, write checks and letters, do laundry, tell time, prepare meals, and return teaching Sunday school classes. Due to services received from the OASIS program Ms. May gained more confidence and independence. Ms. May is excited about all of the skills she learned from the rehabilitation teacher.

Ms. Smith is an eighty-eight year old woman that lives alone in her apartment of many years. Ms. Smith’s vision loss is due to glaucoma and an ischemic optic nerve in her left eye. She has also had a cornea transplant in her left eye. Ms. Smith has a prosthetic right eye. This consumer is legally blind and required independent living skills to assist her in adapting to her vision loss. Ms. Smith is single and has no children. However, she has many friends and is very active in her community and apartment complex. Ms. Smith is a Social Worker and worked for the social service agency in the state that she resides, as well as the American Red Cross. She also worked at a university in the state where she lives before she retired. Her positive outlook and her desire to remain independent make her an optimum candidate for the OASIS independent living teaching program. Ms. Smith’s needs included the necessity to access printed material. This problem was solved by finding the appropriate hand held magnifiers that would provide this consumer with portable magnification to address her needs. A CCTV reading machine was issued to Ms. Smith. This adaptation allowed her to solve many issues that are related to vision loss. Including, medicine identification, check writing, money identification, writing, and any activities that require accessing printed material. Ms. Smith has played the piano for years and was having difficulty reading her sheet music. A lamp with a magnifier included was provided that has a bendable arm that enables the light to be focused directly on the music. Ms. Smith was able to see the notes on her music with this lamp and was delighted to have this accommodation. Tactile markings were used to modify Ms. Smith’s kitchen appliances and thermostat to facilitate ease of use. The issues related to difficulties that Ms. Smith was having with glare, were solved with the appropriate light filters. Ms. Smith lives in a city that has an active support group for individuals with vision loss. This teacher provided the support group contact information to Ms. Smith and informed her that transportation to the meeting is available through the city services department. Orientation and mobility skills were taught to Ms. Smith. Sighted guide techniques, self-protective techniques and skills to implement systematic search patterns were addressed during the course of this training. The OASIS Program enabled Ms. Smith to regain independence through instructions in adaptive techniques and the use of aids and appliances to facilitate her return to independence. Ms. Smith expressed her appreciation for the services offered through the OASIS Program. After the completion of Ms. Smith’s services her independence was greatly improved and her quality of life was enhanced.

I would like to introduce you to Jane. She is a 60 year old woman deaf from early childhood who lost most of her vision within the last five years. I first met Jane while she was still working, her vision was beginning to fade; and she learned to use a magnifier. Several years later I received a call from an interpreter for the Deaf concerned that Jane’s vision had declined to the point she felt it necessary to leave her home and stay with a sister. That is where our work together began. At this first meeting, Jane would barely lift her head and the only strong reaction I received was to my white cane. She thought I had brought it for her and was adamant that she would never need that! We finally convinced her that the cane was mine and I had no intention of giving it to her and then she opened up. The one goal she had was to return to her home and wanted to know if I would help her do that. We started working on simple daily living tasks, popcorn in the microwave, starting the washer, finding the right purse. As she became more comfortable with these steps to independence, Jane wanted to know how she would be able to identify items, her spices and medicines. The lesson on labeling techniques led to a question, what about Braille? That was a big step for both of us. I am not fluent in American Sign Language and for Jane this is her primary language. I talked with a couple of interpreters and Braille began. This was a team effort. For the lessons Jane sat between me and the interpreter. She would read with one hand and sign with the other. Her vision had declined to the point where this was tactile sign. She was a very motivated student, practicing every night and often working ahead. After a short time it was apparent that Braille was going to mean not only literacy but also communication. Through the OASIS program, Jane was provided with a Deaf Blind communicator. This device not only allows face to face communication, it will also function as a TTY. This was the last piece in the puzzle to allow Jane to return home. Once she was comfortable using the DBC, she had a new alarm system installed, learned to use the par-transit system, and went home. Shortly after her return I was honored with a lunch invitation. Jane wanted to show me that she was using the skills she had learned. This woman is a definite example of the OASIS philosophy of adding life to their years.

A total of 1,129 persons were served by the OASIS Program during fiscal year 2011. During 2011, 694 received services in daily living skills training. 630 received training in communication skills during 2011. Training in orientation and mobility skills was received by 238 consumers and 764 benefited from assistive technology provided by the OASIS Program. Functional low vision assessments were provided by OASIS during 2011 to 647 consumers. During 2011, 440 persons were integrated into additional services available to them in their communities. Approximately 20,357 community awareness contacts were made on behalf of the OASIS Program during 2010. For fiscal year 2011, a total of 642 persons reached their independent living goals and reported that they felt that they had greater control in their ability to maintain their current living situation as a result of OASIS Program services.

With regard to age, it is important to note that 49 % of the population, served during 2011, was age 80 or older. Based on data from previous years, it is clear that the OASIS program continues to serve an ever increasingly older population and helping them to live independently for as long as possible. During 2011, 2,876 secondary disabilities were recorded among consumers served by OASIS. As in previous recent years cardiovascular disease and stroke were the leading causes of secondary disabilities during 2011 followed by bone, muscle, skin, joint, and movement disorders; diabetes; hearing loss; and other disabilities. For many of these consumers, OASIS is the primary resource and, sometimes, the only resource available to them.

E. Finally, note any problematic areas or concerns related to implementing the Title VII-Chapter 2 program in your state.

The demographics of an aging population requiring services using limited resources in terms of funding and qualified staff continues to be the greatest concern of staff working in the older blind program. Additionally, with a high percentage of OASIS staff eligible for retirement, succession planning is problematic under current circumstances. An additional area of concern is the increased cost of technology and overall operational costs.

Part VIII: Signature

As the authorized signatory, I will sign, date and retain in the state agency's files a copy of this 7-OB Report and the separate Certification of Lobbying form ED-80-0013 (available in MS Word and PDF formats.

Signed byDr. Cary Boswell
TitleCommissioner Al. Dept. of Rehabilitation Services
Telephone334 293 7201
Date signed12/29/2011