Blindness Awareness Month: A Call to Build Awareness and Increase Access to Services
During the month of October, blindness and vision loss receive some much-needed attention. Blindness Awareness Month is an opportunity to pay tribute to the accomplishments of people who are blind or have low vision and to increase public knowledge about the resources and services available for people experiencing vision loss.
One of the most important adaptive tools is the straight white cane. On Oct. 13, we will join with other agencies to celebrate White Cane Awareness Day. The white cane provides critical information to people who are blind. The white cane is also an important symbol to those of us who are sighted. In all 50 states, motorists must yield the right of way to a person using a white cane.
Throughout this month, we also are focusing on employment for people who are blind. The unemployment rate for people with vision loss remains at nearly 70%. Too often, people who are blind are passed over for jobs for which they are highly qualified, simply because they are blind. Society for the Blind has helped 125+ clients attain employment over the past five years. But we know many more people with vision loss who want to work. Society for the Blind is committed to making sure our clients attain the blindness skills and employment preparation they need to be confident and competitive in the job market.
Rarely a week goes by where a new client or Low Vision Clinic patient doesn’t say, “I wish someone had told me about Society years ago!” Struggling with daily tasks like taking medications, fixing a meal or going for a walk are common challenges for people losing their vision. Not knowing where to turn for support or how to learn to do routine activities without vision often leads to a downward spiral. Folks go out less, medication mix-ups can lead to ER visits, and loneliness and depression set in.
During the month of October, we want to help get the word out that vision loss does not have to result in this downward direction. Society for the Blind serves northern California and the state of Nevada, providing 5,000 people a year with new skills, adaptive products and supportive services to help them adjust to life without vision. We know there are thousands more people out there who need to hear about our services. Help us spread the word that hope and solutions for living with vision loss are available for people of all ages. Together, we can ensure that people living with low vision or blindness can discover, develop and achieve their full potential.