Adapt, Replace, Supplement

Reading Time: 5 minutes  Page Tags: functional

Who doesn't love a good shortcut? Or a new cooking trick? I like to think of Vision Rehabilitation Therapy as a practice built around little tips and techniques for making life easier. Equipment is a stronghold of any VRT program, and there are some pretty inventive and creative ways to reorganize your household tools so that they can be safer and more accessible to you. 

Here I'll give an overview of the different types of equipment in broad strokes, broken down by function. If you want specific product reviews, check out my equipment menu here

Tools to Adapt

Labeling is the key way in which VRT can help you adapt pre-existing household tools. Labeling can be done in low tech ways such as large-print stickers, or sharpie-drawn labels. It can also encompass tactile and auditory modes of learning, including the high-tech Pen Friend or Braille labeler. Bump dots, Velcro and high contrast tape also provide useful approaches to adapting household appliances, remotes and flat-panel devices. 

Tools to Supplement 

When considering ADLs: cooking, cleaning, reading, writing, laundry, paying bills, etc... folks with low vision tend to benefit from tools that supplement their existing methods. In cooking for example, high contrast cutting boards and double spatulas serve as helpful tools to make cooking more efficient and safe. Reading and writing can be further supplemented by using bold-lined paper and non-bleed 20/20 markers to increase contrast. In some cases, increased lighting can also help supplement a client's usable vision. Organizational tools such as baskets, trays, accordion files and bins can also assist in keeping track of everyday items. 

Tools to Replace

In some cases, it becomes essential that household tools are completely replaced by Large Print versions, amplified versions, or tactile versions to maintain independence. In VRT we see this frequently in the use of household phones. Additional appliances that may require replacement include: microwaves, watches, clocks, medication boxes, and note-takers

Tools that Require In-Person Training

If you have noticed a significant loss in vision, it's extremely important to contact your eye doctor. If you qualify for Vision Rehabilitation Therapy services, it's crucial to have an in-person assessment to determine what safety concerns exist in your home. If you need assistance identifying vision services in your community, please be in touch to set up a free 30 minutes needs assessment so that I can quickly connect you with resources in your area. 

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