Author Topic: Blind friend -  (Read 946 times)

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Offline bingbongmol

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Blind friend -
« on: May 09, 2017, 02:45:40 PM »
Hello!
I tried to go thru a few pages and find an answer but I don't know all the lingo and I was a little lost.
I have a neighbor (and now good friend) that is 100% blind.  His wife left him in November and he doesn't have any family here in Austin. 
He tries to walk and be independent but the crosswalks in our area don't have sound so he has to push the button, wait a bit and take his chances.   
I try to take him places but he doesn't want to bother anyone. I do his shopping, but I cant do all of it, I travel for work quite a bit :sad:

I was helping him with his a/c this Saturday and he fell down and had a seizure...this was his first one ever...he was shot in the head and lost his vision so he thinks the headaches and now this is somehow related to that (he went to the Dr yesterday and we are waiting on those results).

Bottom line - he needs help.  He isn't getting what he needs from the state agencies right now and until we can figure all of that out, what are the first steps to getting him a service dog?
He needs to be able to get around safely - where do I start? 
Can someone point me in the right direction? : )
THANKS IN ADVANCE!

Offline Kirsten

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Re: Blind friend -
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2017, 03:19:57 PM »
Getting a guide dog is pretty easy for a person who is blind.  There are a number of large, reputible schools that provide guide dogs at little to no cost to the receipient.  Here's a list with contact info:  http://servicedogcentral.org/content/node/418

However, guide dogs don't tell the handler when it is safe to cross the street.  That is something the person determines for themselves by listening to traffic sounds.  The dog's job is to identify obstacles and suggest a detour around them.  They do about the same job as the long cane.

There's about a 50% chance that a guide dog from a reputable school would start alerting to seizures spontaneously within six months or so of placement if the person has seizures very frequently.
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Offline bingbongmol

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Re: Blind friend -
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2017, 03:33:08 PM »
OMG....that sounds SOOOO simple! 
THANK YOU for the quick response - I will get together with him this evening and start the process! 
 :smile:

Offline Arrowcom

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Re: Blind friend -
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2017, 04:34:37 PM »
Hi there. I am legally blind and have a guide dog. First things first, it's absolutely great that your friend is getting out and trying to go places, but he should NOT be crossing the street this way. It is one of the most dangerous things I have ever heard of. Typically, a blind person listens to traffic to know when to cross. When our parallel traffic, (the lain of traffic closest to you going straight ahead or behind you) starts to go and you hear it go straight across the whole entire crosswalk without turning, that's how you know as a blind person that it's safe.

  Does your friend use a long white cane? Guide dogs are amazing and very helpful, but a school will never give one to a client until that client is independent on their own with a white cane. What this guy really needs is some O&N (orientation and Mobility) training. There are trained instructors who will come out to his house and teach him how to get about safely. Have you tried calling Texas School for the Blind or Austin Lighthouse. They might be able to give you locations that offer these services at no coast.

  There are a few things to consider when getting a guide dog. One most travel an awful lot to own one. Guide dogs need to get out of the house every day and be walked. They are bred to work and are typically very active. If your friend likes getting out and around, a dog will be perfect for him. If he doesn't want to travel that much, then a cane might be the better choice. Guide dogs help us blind people by typically going much faster then a cane, clearing objects instead of running into them like a cane does, stopping for overhead obstacles  like tree branches and signs sticking out into the sidewalk, finding things that we need like seats and trashcans, and ignoring a command or even pushing us out of harms way if it is unsafe, like if a car was coming right at you and you told the dog to move forward. If you are looking for a dog that can help with multiple disabilities, there are a few school that might be able to help. I know that Leader Dogs, Guide Dog Foundation, and Guide Dogs of the Desert all cross train dogs for guide work as well as other tasks. Those might be good places to start looking if you really are interested.

  Lastly, as someone who works with a lot of newly blind individuals, I know that it's important that you make sure you talk to your friend and that this is something he wants. A lot of really well meaning friends and family of those who are blind think that they need to be the ones making decisions and know what is best for someone who is blind, but in reality we much more prefer making our own choices and ideas about things. We love it when people ask us if we need help, and I'm sure you're been an incredible help to your friend, but make sure that he has a say in things. :smile: I don't say this to be cruel or judgmental at all, it's just something I see a lot and want to warn you of. I think that you coming here and asking for help is really wonderful and I can tell you care about your friend.

One last hing, by law, you should have Metroacces in Austin, which is a really cheep service that should help your friend get around more. I would also look into that.

If you have any more questions, please feel free to PM me. Hope you find what you're looking for!
Accept the things you can not change, have the courage to change the things you can, and have the wisdom to know the difference.

Offline Ariel

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Re: Blind friend -
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2017, 12:28:22 AM »
Arrowcom is indeed a fantastic resource! SDC usually has a private messaging (PM) system but it's currently down while a few site issues are being worked out. So while you can typically private message someone that feature is not available at the moment but will be back up hopefully soon.
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Offline Moonsong

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Re: Blind friend -
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2017, 01:23:17 AM »
Instead of pm, the two of you could try to plan to meet on the chat page to discuss; the chat page is hosted separately from the forum, and it still has a working PM function.
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Offline swimmergirl247

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Re: Blind friend -
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2017, 12:46:51 AM »
Hi I just wanted to say its nice to see you've reached ou to your feind for help.

arrowcorn covered things regarding O&M training which he will NEED to have completed, and be confident in himself alone with a white cane first before considering a guide dog,

regarding the seizure has he been diagnoses formally with epilepsy or has he had further seizures since? if not then it could have been a one time things and no big deal.

kristian guide dogs programs train for guiding ablity not for alerting tendencies,. that said you could indeed get a dog that can alert,

but if this is now a chronic problem you will have a hard time getting a schools to look at you. guide dog foundation and guide dogs for the blind would be your best bet. as far as programs. to apply too.

using a guifinding a program that will woth you is only part of the equations, then THEY have to find the right dog for you. if he does good in O&M training which  doesn't only cover navigation but other skills as well. having a "crossed trained guide dog is not impossible but it does make it much harder. and your search for programs would be more challeanging for your freind if the esizures are going to be a chronic issue.

if however your freind only had the one event, or was put on anti0seizure medication which seemed to be working well then you'll have an easy time finding a school to work with

there are plenty of guide dog programs in the country. the tree I just up top are the there I've either had friends receive dogs from that have been very well trained and reliable.

I OT my guide dog because of my needs as a blind, psychically disabled, and major health issues(including seizures) personally I found it impossible to find a program to give me a far shake but I have had friends who have gotten what they need, either by the program doing all the work or having the program do the "hard" work of teaching guide work and then once the dog is in you possession training it in further task. again from expereince it is possible

however I do agree with arrow, there are a lot of pro- anand con's when it comes ot working with a guide dog, it may seem cool, and to the non sighted person it seems easy and logical. but there are actually a lot of things to consider when thinking of getting a guide vs. using a white cane. and as a result if is a very personal decision that the person should not be pushed into.

just some examples
1. can your freind afford the upkeep of a dog? food, chews, flea/heart warm, vet visist's? etc
2. is your freind willing to take the dogs needs into effect beyond working it? take the dog on fun walks, has a backyard, play tennis in the house etc?
3. is your feind willing and able to trust the dog completely? and willing to keep up the training the dog has?
4. can your freind handling the general upkeep of a dog? bathing brushing, teeth cleaning, nail clipping) if he can't can he afford to have a groomer do it?
5. is your friend willing to accept that the dog will nake mistakes, have ba days etc?
6. Any service dog will for sure bring unintentional conversations, questions, and in general just rude, and or ingorant people and you will have to ack as your dogs "gate keeper"  and make sure as much as possible your dogs is left alone to do its work. which requires a lot of effort.
7. having a service dog is akin to having a toldder around at all times, you have to have your equipment on you, provide potty breaks, and "release time" during the day, make sure your dog can get water and/or food when necessary. 

pro's of using a cane
1. canes don't require upkeep, food attention affirmations doing good or treats,
2. canes are a lot easier to "replace" if it breaks.
3. canes will never mess up (as long as you know how to use them) when dogs are living creates with minds of there own?
4. canes require don't require breaks  scheduling etc.
5. canes are much easier to store.

those are trade off in which way a person goes, but a guide dog is much more work than just having a pet dog. some people like the "ice breaker effect" which is the members of the public in general has a tendency to interact with you when you have a service dog than when you don't while other hate it. but at while other's hate it. and even if you "like it" for the most part you can still get sick of processand questions you get the most.

writing the pros and cons and seeing if your friend things a guide is the "right" thing for him. is important, once commented you will have that dog for 6-8 years of working life, and then usually are kept after retirement or given to a close friend of family member once retired.

anyway I hope I didn't give you too much info to digest, good luck and feel free to ask more questions of PM me when you have the ability




 

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Offline Charlie Ann

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Re: Blind friend -
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2017, 11:59:33 PM »
Please don't push GDF, they require you generally for a year to be   Seizure free.


Hi I am another guide dog user I am working a almost 2 year old golden named June from GDF, she's pretty much all I ever wanted and needed without fully knowing it. Without O&M training June would be useless. And to repeat not everyone is suited to be a guide dog handler, a relative of mine was not. Have your friend look at the school's websites and him get the information.
My eyes have four paws, she's a golden girl, who thinks nothing is better than a kind word and a ear scratch. With her harness in hand I remember what I didn't even realized I had lost, total freedom, without roadblocks or canes.
  Born in the month of pride with the name to match, June.

Offline swimmergirl247

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Re: Blind friend -
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2017, 06:03:05 PM »
honestly I don't know of any guide dog schools with at will pair a blind person with active seizure disorders. with a guide. that is why I was forced into Owner training. that very well  could be a instant deal breaker
Theodore(Teddy)SD you truly gods gift to me.
Abigail(retired SD you may not physically be with me but your wings and protection will always be in my heart.
"I may not have sight, but I'll always have vision- Alex S

Offline Charlie Ann

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Re: Blind friend -
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2017, 12:55:36 AM »
honestly I don't know of any guide dog schools with at will pair a blind person with active seizure disorders. with a guide. that is why I was forced into Owner training. that very well  could be a instant deal breaker
GDB will consider you I believe, GEB does fully ( special needs program) and once in a blue GDF will take someone who hasn't had one for six months l.
My eyes have four paws, she's a golden girl, who thinks nothing is better than a kind word and a ear scratch. With her harness in hand I remember what I didn't even realized I had lost, total freedom, without roadblocks or canes.
  Born in the month of pride with the name to match, June.