Visually Impaired Women with Diabetes Reads to Her Child for the First Time
The most important part of caring for the visually impaired is understanding what level of acceptance each patient has regarding their vision loss. Most patients referred by their doctors or on their own are emotionally ready to accept assistance. They have moved passed the grieving process and accept the fact that using adaptive methods and devices will allow them to continue performing their activities of daily living.
However, success in therapy may be minimal when therapist and/or patients do not identify the patient’s poor coping capabilities. Patients and therapists may “hit a wall” with rehabilitation efforts and neither may be able to identify the rationale behind the problem. The psychosocial implication arising from poor coping skills can lead to a bad outcome.
Conversely, when the therapist has the ability to identify the patient’s level of understanding in the coping process, both are more likely to achieve success with vision rehab.
I aim at having multiple resources available for patients and their family members. Many times, peer counseling accelerates the patient’s involvement and level of understanding in vision therapy. For example my patient “GS” was grieving the loss of her vision. When GS reached out to us, she needed guidance not only to regain her independence but achieve her desire to read bedtime stories to her child. GS began vision therapy simultaneously with peer counseling and found help from both settings. GS was more motivated about participating in vision therapy knowing members of her peer group had themselves gone through vision therapy and had successful results. GS benefited in the participation of both vision rehab and counseling as she gained skills with coping from both groups. She gained knowledge and understanding about the numerous adaptations for day-to-day activities; available resources to help with transportation, free services such as large print books, and radio reading services. She was able to call on peers whenever she found it difficult to cope and gained control of her life one day at a time. With assistance from her peer group members, GS was able to understand and follow the work assignments given to her by the Occupational Therapist. By the end of our vision rehabilitation, GS was familiar with her recovery process and had slowly recovered the things she lost and the ability to read to her child for the very first time!
She completed vision rehab after having met her goals but identified that her rehabilitation process may continue for the rest of her life. For example, as she regained the ability to read, her efforts may continue month after month so as to increase reading speed. GS became aware of many other patients and members of her peer counseling group who had surpassed their expectations of what could be accomplished, such as writing a book or using the computer. GS acknowledged it all happens in steps, and patients require patience and realistic expectations to succeed.
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