December 30, 2011

A Look Back on 2011

Image: 2012 written in multi-colored sparklers on black background

WBRC would like to wish everyone a very happy and healthy 2012. 

There were several big events for WBRC in 2011, including our move from Palo Alto to our temporary home at Menlo Park.  As we settle in to our new space and prepare for 2012 we have had some time to look back on the past year. 

The following are links to some of our favorite WBRC Blog Posts:

 Photograph of Dr. Goodrich accepting the 'Tiresias' Award at the
2011 ISLRR 10th Annual International Low Vision Conference

 WBRC staff, Paula Wood and Summer Beasley-Hoffman, participate
in training to learn how to document information for the mapping project.

Nicole Marquez, WBRC Recreation Therapist, and a golf pro coach
a WBRC student on his golf swing

The WBRC Bay to Breakers Team, from left to right; Richard Wing, Don Vu,
Summer Beasley-Hoffman, Dan Nakamura, and Brian Higgins

Photo: The 'Flight to Freedom' sculpture located in the WBRC entry area

Photo: WBRC staff review building plans prior to walk through.

Photo: Yurika Vu (left) and Susan Marshall,
both WBRC CATs Instructors, during the walk.
Susan walked the entire route under blindfold
using a long white cane.

Photo: Cactus the Guide Dog pupping in training laying down at
the feet of Laura Koehler, O&M Instructor and Puppy Raiser

Photo: Exterior view of new WBRC building and outdoor Recreation
Therapy area including golf putting green and horseshoe pits.

Photo: L.E. 'Gene' Apple, first Chief of the WBRC, with nurses
and volunteer Marie Dunlap (second from right) in front of the entrance
to building 209 (the original Menlo Park location of the WBRC). 

December 28, 2011

New WBRC Living Skills Instructor Named

Photo: The WBRC Living Skills Department from left to right,
Joanne Baker, Elise Vaughan, Anita Stone, Millicent Williams - Living
Skills Supervisor, Brandon Haile, and Beth Hiseler.

WBRC is proud to announce that Elise Vaughan has accepted the position of WBRC Living Skills Instructor.  Ms. Vaughan’s start date was Nov. 20th 2011.  Ms. Vaughan has dual Master’s Degrees from Western Michigan University in Vision Rehabilitation Therapy and in Orientation and Mobility and also completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Interpersonal Communication at Western Michigan University.  She is accredited by ACVREP as a Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist and as a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist.  Ms. Vaughan completed her internship programs at the WBRC in both the Orientation and Mobility Department and the Living Skills Department in 2011.  Welcome to the WBRC team Elise.

December 22, 2011

Season's Greetings from WBRC

Image: Vintage Season's Greetings Card with a
blue and white starred pacakge with red and
white striped bow and holly sprigs.
The WBRC family would like to wish you and yours a happy, healthy, and festive Holiday season.  We would also like to extend our greatest thanks to the Veterans we have served throughout the years, your service to our country has awarded us the freedoms we all enjoy today. 

December 21, 2011

WBRC's Return to Menlo Park - A Look Back

WBRC continues to unpack and organize from our move to our new location in Menlo Park December 2nd through 6th of 2011.  Many people are unaware that WBRC originated in Menlo Park and that in a way we are returning to our roots.  Following is a look back at our prior Menlo Park days.

The following information and photographs have been gathered from 'Flight to Freedom 1967-1992: A history of the first 25 years of the Western Blind Rehabilitation Center United States Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center Palo Alto, California' edited by L. Eugene Apple, Ph.D. and Gregory L. Goodrich, Ph.D.

Photo: L.E. 'Gene' Apple, first Chief of the WBRC, with nurses
and volunteer Marie Dunlap (second from right) in front of the entrance
to building 209 (the original Menlo Park location of the WBRC). 

The Western Blind Rehabilitation Center began operation as a regional comprehensive rehabilitation facility in July of 1967 at the Menlo Park Campus of the Veterans Administration Palo Alto Health Care System.  The Center opened in building 209 as part of a three story building.  The WBRC occupied 20,000 square feet of this building and had 20 beds for inpatient care. 

WBRC was the second comprehensive rehabilitation center for blinded veterans established by the Veteran's Administration.  It had 5 skill areas for training which were Orientation and Mobility, Manual Skills, Braille, Written Communications, and Counseling.  An Activities of Daily Living and a Low Vision program were added shortly afterwards.

Photo: An early WBRC picnic at the Menlo Park Division.  Gene Apple,
WBRC Chief is sitting down to eat in the forground.  Also shown, standing
at the extreme right of the picture is Jim Doyle, WBRC Assistant Chief.

In January 1972 the WBRC moved to building 205 in Menlo Park after the 1971 San Fernando earthquake and resulting new VA earthquake building standards condemn building 209.  It was anticipated that this building would be phased out within a few years because of further revision to building codes.

Photo: The WBRC Visual Skills Department Staff shortly after the move
to Building 48 in 1977.  Clockwise from left Dee Quillman, Chief of Visual Skills,
with instructors Neil Greiner, Nancy Darling, Helen Shaw, and Gail Webb.

During the mid 1970's the WBRC staff were sent to the VA Medical Center in San Diego to inspect space being made available to Blind Rehabilitation.  Plans were made to move equipment and patients to San Diego.  Projected costs determined this approach unfeasible and planning was begun for a new freestanding building on the Palo Alto Division grounds.  The WBRC moved to the newly constructed building 48 in Palo Alto in 1977.

December 12, 2011

CAT Skills: December 2011

Submitted by: Susan Marshall, WBRC Computer Access Technology (CAT) Instructor

Photo: Computer, Keyboard, and Mouse setup

As our former and future CATS (Computer Access Training Section) students can attest to, computer access training enables them to work, play, communicate and participate in activities that may not otherwise be accessible.  Like all good things, moderation is important because spending too much time logged on will result in tired eyes, headaches, neck pain and a host of other problems.  If you’re an avid computer user and want to avoid the pitfalls of extended computer use, the CATS team recommends that following:

Ø  Stretch your body and move extremities (stretch your hands, walk around, take a break and take a few deep breaths too).

Ø  Keep blinking.  It washes your eyes in naturally therapeutic tears.

Ø  Remember 20-20-20.  Every 20 minutes, spend 20 minutes looking at something 20 feet away, minimum. 

Ø  Get the right light.  Good lighting isn’t just flattering – it’s healthy for your eyes.  Keep bright overhead lighting to a minimum.  Desk lamps should be shining on the desk, not you.  Try to keep window light off to the side, rather than in front or behind you.  Use blinds and get a glare screen.  Position the computer to reduce reflections from windows or overhead lights.

Ø  Monitor your monitor.  Keep it at least 20 inches from your eyes.  Center should be about 4 to 6 inches below your eyes.  Also, make sure it’s big enough with just the right brightness and contrast.  Adjust the screen settings to where they are comfortable.

Ø  Wear those computer specs!  Your eye care specialist can prescribe a pair of glasses just for seeing the computer screen.  Wear the appropriate corrective lenses while at the computer.

Ø  Mind your typing.  Make sure your arms are at a 90 degree angle at your elbow to avoid strain on the median nerve.  Stretch your hands and arms.

December 7, 2011

WBRC has Officially Moved

Photo: The 'Flight to Freedom' sculpture located in the WBRC entry area

We are happy to announce that the WBRC (Western Blind Rehabilitation Center) has officially moved into our new location at the Menlo Park Division of VAPAHCS (Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Heath Care System). 

The newly constructed Menlo Park structure is made up of 52 modular sections arranged on one level and covers 42,000 square feet.  It will provide the WBRC with much needed increased training, office, and storage space while the permanent Rehabilitation Center at the Palo Alto Division is constructed. 

Please see below for information regarding our new mailing address and phone number.

Mailing Address

Western Blind Rehabilitation Center (124)
795 Willow Road
Building T-365
Menlo Park, California 94025

Main number


Nursing Station Extensions


Pearl Harbor Day: A Message from the Secretary of Veterans Affairs

Photo: a rippling American flag
             Few dates in American history are as deeply burned into our consciousness as December 7, 1941.  Seventy years ago today, American forces on Oahu, Hawai’i, withstood an unprovoked attack, and the fleet at Pearl Harbor suffered devastating losses.  More than 2,400 Americans were killed, many great ships of the Pacific Fleet lay torn and burning, and our Nation was thrust headlong into the largest global conflict in human history.

Pearl Harbor reminds us not only of a solemn chapter in American history, but also of the great courage and resolve displayed by stalwart defenders in fighting off the attackers that day—qualities that have continued to define each succeeding serving generation, including today’s young men and women in uniform.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) honors the memory of those who gave their lives that day, as well as those who fought and survived.  Inspired by their valor and selflessness, America emerged from Pearl Harbor determined to triumph in the ensuing battle against tyranny.  VA also salutes the many courageous Hawaiians who responded to the attack on their home soil by joining the U.S. military and going on to serve with considerable distinction. 

VA honors, remembers, and thanks those who stood the watch and fought off the attacks of December 7, 1941.  May God bless you and your families, and may God continue to bless our great Nation.

Eric K. Shinseki
Secretary of Veterans Affairs

December 1, 2011

WBRC Moving to Menlo Park Starting Friday

Photo: Moving box with 'Moving Day' written on side, marker, and tape

The Western Blind Rehabilitation Center (WBRC) is moving to a new building on the VA Menlo Park Campus between 12/2 – 12/6.  During this time WBRC staff access to email and phone messages will be limited.

The WBRC blog will post information about the new mailing address and phone number for our new Menlo Park location once it is available.

Thank you.

November 21, 2011

Building Resilience After a Disability

Written By:
Jessica Lohnberg, Ph.D., Psychology Postdoctoral Fellow
Laura Peters, Ph.D., Staff Psychologist, WBRC

Photo: A windswept tree growing out of a crevice in some rocks.

When people are faced with a disability, such as sight loss, it is common to experience a variety of emotions.  People report feeling shock, depression, anger, and eventually move toward acceptance and coping.   So, why are some people able to bounce back from adversity fairly quickly, while others suffer for extended periods of time and may get stuck?

Resilience means being able to “roll with the punches” and adapt to life’s hardships.  People who are resilient experience the same emotions everyone else does, they are just able to keep functioning and get back to baseline more quickly.  People who are resilient are better able to adjust, adapt, and normalize their lives in spite of the their disability.  Some people even notice positive changes that come from dealing with a disability.  For example, some people report their relationships have become closer and stronger; others report that out of hardship, they have learned what is important in life and may re-prioritize what they are doing; some have developed a stronger sense of spirituality

Here are some tips to increase resiliency:

1.  Get connected with others:  Those with strong positive relationships with others weather adversity better than those who are isolated.

2.  Make every day meaningful:  Find something that gives you a sense of accomplishment and purpose every day.  Set short and long term goals for yourself.

3.  Take care of yourself both physically and emotionally by doing things you enjoy; physical exercise daily; get plenty of sleep and rest; eat healthy foods; find ways to relax through music, deep breathing, meditation or prayer.

4.  Learn from experience:  Think of how you have dealt with difficulties in the past:  What has worked and what hasn’t helped.  Try to rely on the strategies that have worked well for you as you respond to life’s current challenges.

5.  Be proactive:  Those who are resilient don’t avoid their problems, they problem solve, figure out what needs to be done, make a plan and take action.  People who cope actively fare much better than those who avoid.

6.  Maintain a sense of hope:  Remind yourself you cannot change the past, but you can use what you have learned in the past as you look toward the future.  By anticipating changes and planning for them you will be better able to meet the challenge when it comes.

November 14, 2011

WBRC Welcomes New Guide Dog Puppy in Training

Photo: Cactus the Guide Dog puppy in training sitting in WBRC's Rec Room

WBRC would like to welcome 'Cactus', a new Guide Dog puppy 'in training'.  Cactus is a 12 week old female yellow Labrador who is being raised and trained by Laura Koehler, WBRC Orientation and Mobility Specialist.  Cactus will accompany Mrs. Koehler to work and in the community for about 18 months to become acclimated to a variety of environments, people, and situations prior to returning the Guide Dogs for the Blind for evaluation and additional training to become a Guide Dog. 

Photo: Cactus the Guide Dog puppy in training laying down at
the feet of Laura Koehler, O&M Instructor and Puppy Raiser

Cactus is the 12th Guide Dog puppy that Mrs. Koehler has raised for Guide Dogs for the Blind.  Her last Guide Dog puppy, Pedro, is currently an active Guide Dog in Texas. 


November 10, 2011

Veterans Day 2011

Photo: American Flag
WBRC would like to honor the men and women of our country that have served and are serving in our armed forces.  Thank you for your service to our fine country and it's people.  the following is an excerpt from the 2011 Veterans Day Presidential Proclamation:

'Today, our Nation comes together to honor our veterans and commemorate the legacy of profound service and sacrifice they have upheld in pursuit of a more perfect Union. Through their steadfast defense of America’s ideals, our service members have ensured our country still stands strong, our founding principles still shine, and nations around the world know the blessings of freedom. As we offer our sincere appreciation and respect to our veterans, to their families, to those who are still in harm’s way, and to those we have laid to rest, let us rededicate ourselves to serving them as well as they have served the United States of America.'

CLICK HERE to read the Full Presidential Proclamation

November 9, 2011

WBRC Receives Move Dates

Photo: Cardboard Box with words 'Moving Day' written on
side, sharpie marker, and packing tape.

WBRC received news of the dates for our move to our new site at the Menlo Park VA Hospital Campus.  The planned dates for the move are from December 2nd to December 6th.  WBRC will be moving into a newly constructed 42,000 square foot facility.

The move to the Menlo Park location will be temporary while a new Polytrauma and Blind Rehabilitation Center is built on the Palo Alto VA Hospital Campus.  The anticipated start date of that construction is May 2012 with anticipated completion in March 2014.

CLICK HERE to learn more about our New Menlo Park Location

CLICK HERE to learn more about the plans for the New Rehabilitation Center at Palo Alto

CLICK HERE to read the News Release regarding the contract to build the New Rehabilitation Center at Palo Alto

November 7, 2011

Stanford School of Medicine Website Reviews VA Palo Alto Construction Projects

The Stanford School of Medicine website has written an article reviewing the numerous construction projects at the VA Palo Alto Hospital campus and how these projects will impact their students.  Excerpts from the article follow below:

Image: Rendering of the front of the new Blind Rehabilitation
Center and Polytrauma Building planned for the Palo Alto Campus

'Huge VA Project to Boost Med School Mission'
October 24, 2011

'A dozen state-of the-art buildings that will advance the medical school’s clinical, educational and research missions are beginning to rise, but Stanford isn’t leading the effort.

With a construction budget of more than $1 billion, the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, or VAPAHCS, has launched an ambitious building project on its flagship campus on Miranda Avenue in Palo Alto, leaving almost no spot of the 93-acre site untouched. The plan includes a new mental health center; the Department of Veterans Affairs’ largest rehabilitation center, which will combine polytrauma and blind rehabilitation; additional research space; and additional lodging facilities for veteran patients and family members.

The project is driven by an emphasis on patient-centric care and concerns about seismic safety. The project is also part of a broader shift by the VA and health care in general toward more outpatient services, concentrating the most advanced tertiary care services at flagship facilities, such as the Palo Alto site. VAPAHCS, in addition to revamping and expanding its outpatient facilities outside the Palo Alto campus, is taking steps to ensure that its main campus continues to offer the latest treatment modalities and meet new and pressing needs, such as those of the increasing numbers of veterans who have suffered multiple injuries, including traumatic brain injury. As part of that process, VAPAHCS is enhancing its 50-year affiliation with the School of Medicine, adding space for the education of Stanford doctors who treat veterans and the research by Stanford faculty on injuries and illness that affect veterans and others.
“Our success is predicated in part on the success of Stanford medical school,” said Jason Nietupski, the VAPAHCS director of planning and development. “The more successful Stanford is, the more successful our programs are.”

VAPAHCS spans a 10-county, 13,500-square mile region encompassing 275,000 veterans. It had research expenditures of approximately $75 million in 2010, the second- largest research program in the national VA network, supporting 200 principal investigators, including about 90 faculty members from the medical school. This year, VAPAHCS is training 750 residents and fellows and 211 medical students from the School of Medicine. It has more Centers of Excellence — programs with special emphasis — than any other VA health-care system nationwide, and thousands of veterans are referred each year from outside its catchment area to benefit from the expertise, and specialized services it offers...

The Palo Alto campus is one of five facilities in the country designated by the VA to provide intensive rehabilitative care to veterans and service members who have multiple traumas. At 174,000 square feet, the new building will be the largest rehabilitation center in the federal government, with 24 beds for polytrauma/physical medicine and rehabilitation, or PM&R, patients; 32 beds for the blind rehabilitation program; and 12 beds for the polytrauma transitional program, which teaches disabled veterans such daily activities as driving and cooking. The new facility will co-locate inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation programs including PM&R, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and polytrauma and blind rehabilitation within a single state-of-the-art treatment center.

This new rehabilitation center will consolidate providers of polytrauma and vision rehabilitation, who are now distributed around the Palo Alto campus into the same facility.

“The entire system of care for polytrauma and vision-loss patients will be in one building, and that in itself will augment the care we provide,” said Odette Harris, MD, an associate professor of neurosurgery and the VAPAHCS associate chief of staff for polytrauma, who is also director of the Palo Alto site of the Department of Defense-supported Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center...

When completed in 2014, the building will also impact the Stanford trainees in the physical medicine and rehabilitation residency, who provide care for the polytrauma patients. “It’s a top-notch residency, and this building will only make it better,” said Harris.'

CLICK HERE for a link to the FULL ARTICLE

CLICK HERE for more information about the Rehabilitation Center Plans

November 4, 2011

WBRC Digs Up 1998 Time Capsule in Preparation for Move

Photo: The WBRC time capsule buried in 1998 has been
dug up in preparation for the move to Menlo Park
The Staff of WBRC were surprised last week at their staff meeting by the presentation of the time capsule that had been buried on the grounds around the WBRC in 1998 by staff and students.  The time capsule was filled with items and buried in 1998 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of VA Blind Rehabilitation.  The plaque that marked the location of the time capsule reads "In Recognition of the 50th Anniversary of VA Blind Rehabilitation and the 23,000 blinded veterans who have been served by the VA Blind Rehabilitation programs, a time capsule was dedicated on October 23, 1998.  To be opened October 23, 2098".  WBRC will honor the plan, moving the time capsule to be displayed at the temporary Menlo Park location and then burying it underground once they return to their permanent location in Palo Alto. 

November 1, 2011

November VIST Group Meeting Scheduled for Palo Alto Only

Image: VIST Logo
The Visual Impairment Services Team (VIST) group is open to all veterans, Active-Duty Service Members, family members and those interested in promoting the community of B/VI veterans in the region are welcome. We have varying presentations and discussions of new technology, special training and many subjects relevant to B/VI persons.

The next Palo Alto VIST group meeting will be held on Thursday November 17th from 1 pm to 2 pm at the address below:
VAPAHCS Palo Alto Hospital
Building 48 (WBRC) Room A208
3801 Miranda Ave
Palo Alto, CA 93401

There will not be a Stockton VIST group meeting scheduled in November due to Thanksgiving.

October 28, 2011

White Cane Awareness Walk 2011 a Big Success

Guest Post by: Brian Higgins, WBRC CATs Supervisor

Photo: The WBRC Group walked down University Ave in matching
White Cane Awareness Shirts and handed out flyers to bystanders.
WBRC had a successful 2011 White Cane Awareness Walk!  We would like to thank everyone for their participation including Veterans, WBRC Staff, and Lions Club Members.  Without your help the event for the veterans and the blind center would not have been a success.  While I was walking around downtown Palo Alto an expression came to me “It takes a community to support a veteran”. 

Photo: Some of the WBRC Group crossing University Ave
on the green light.  Staff and Loins Club volunteers ensured
everyone's safety and Palo Alto provided a police escort
to cite drivers if they did not yield to the white cane users.
The WBRC staff participating in the walk helped to guide veterans along the route, and some staff walked the route with blindfolds on while using long white canes.  The Lions Club provided us with volunteers to ensure our safety as the WBRC group crossed at busy intersections in downtown Palo Alto.  The city of Palo Alto also supported us in our effort.   Palo Alto provided us with a police officer to escort the group along our route.  He was watching the traffic and public along the whole route at every stop light, ready to write tickets to any drivers that violated the White Cane Law and failed to yield to white cane and guide dog users. 

Photo: Yurika Vu (left) and Susan Marshall,
both WBRC CATs Instructors, during the walk.
Susan walked the entire route under blindfold
using a long white cane.
The Mayor of Palo Alto greeted us at the end of our walk in front of City Hall and gave a speech to the group about advocacy and his support towards educating the public about the white cane law.  He read the white cane day proclamation and then posed with the group for pictures.  After a comment from one of WBRC staff last year the Mayor of Palo Alto has added Braille to his business card and has received a lot of positive feedback for adding Braille to his card.  All in all it was a very positive experience and I think we did well educating the community about the white cane law.  Thanks again to everyone who contributed to the White Cane Awareness Walk, your efforts really do make a difference. 

October 12, 2011

VA Website Posts Press Release Regarding New Polytrauma & Blind Rehabilitation Center

Rendering of the planned Polytrauma and Blind
Rehabilitation Center at Palo Alto, CA
VA to Build Polytrauma-Blind Rehabilitation Center in Palo Alto
$98.8 Million Contract Awarded

October 11, 2011

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded a $98.8 million contract to build a new rehabilitation facility located on the campus of the VA Palo Alto Health Care System.

“This new Polytrauma-Blind Rehabilitation Center will allow VA to better serve our Veterans and active duty Servicemembers in a state-of-the-art facility, which will support the exceptional clinical care currently delivered through both programs,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. 

In 2005, the VA Palo Alto Health Care System was designated a Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center. Since then, the program has been housed in an existing facility originally constructed in 1960. The Western Blind Rehabilitation Center, which began in 1967, has been housed in a building constructed in 1977.

The $98.8 million contract was awarded to Walsh/DeMaria Joint Venture V of Chicago, Ill., on Sept. 30. Construction is scheduled to be completed in spring 2014. The three-story facility will be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver equivalency.  

This will be VA’s first and only Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center to be combined with a Blind Rehabilitation Center. At 174,000 square feet, this new facility is the largest consolidated rehabilitation center in VA. The Rehabilitation Center includes 24 beds for the polytrauma program, 32 beds for the blind rehabilitation program, and 12 beds for the polytrauma transitional rehabilitation program.  

The center will also have an outpatient physical therapy/occupational therapy clinic, an outpatient physical medicine and rehabilitation clinic, and clinical programs for Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom Veterans.

CLICK HERE to read the original PRESS RELEASE


October 1, 2011

October VIST Group Meetings Scheduled for Palo Alto and Stockton

Image: VIST Logo
The Visual Impairment Services Team (VIST) group is open to all veterans, Active-Duty Service Members, family members and those interested in promoting the community of B/VI veterans in the region are welcome. We have varying presentations and discussions of new technology, special training and many subjects relevant to B/VI persons.

The next Palo Alto VIST group meeting will be held on Thursday October 20th from 1 pm to 2 pm at the address below:
VAPAHCS Palo Alto Hospital
Building 48 (WBRC) Room A208
3801 Miranda Ave
Palo Alto, CA 93401

The next Stockton VIST group meeting will be held on Thursday October 27th from 10:30 am to 11:30 am at the address below:
Stockton Community Center for the Blind
Conference Room
130 W Flora St
Stockton, CA 95202
(209) 466-3836

September 30, 2011

Save the Date: 2011 White Cane Awareness Walk

Graphic: Person Walking with
a long cane.

Please save the date for the
2011 White Cane Awareness Walk
Wednesday October 19, 2011

Downtown Palo Alto
Palo Alto City Hall
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA


10:15 AM        Assemble at Palo Alto City Hall
10:30 AM        Walk from City Hall Palo Alto
11:00 AM        Photo & Proclamation at Palo Alto City Hall

All are welcome --- white cane users, sighted guides, V-1 scooter users, dog guide users, blindfolded sighted folks {with cane skills or a human guide} ---on a half mile walk around downtown Palo Alto. 

For more information contact Brian Higgins at 650-906-9412

September 28, 2011

WBRC Staff 'Walk Through' New Menlo Park Building

Photo: Exterior view of new WBRC building and outdoor Recreation
Therapy area including golf putting green and horseshoe pits.
Wednesday September 14th - A small group of WBRC staff completed a walk through of the Menlo Park temporary WBRC building.  The current WBRC building on the Palo Alto Campus is scheduled to be demolished, and a new state of the art facility will be built over the same site which will house a significantly larger WBRC facility and a new Polytruama facility.
Photo: WBRC staff review building plans prior to walk through.
The temporary Menlo Park structure is made up of 52 modular sections arranged on one level and covers 42,000 square feet.  It will provide the WBRC with much needed increased training, office, and storage space while the permanent Palo Alto location is constructed.

Photo: WBRC Staff tour the basic shop area.
Currently construction consists of mostly finishing work with painting, trim, and flooring being installed.  The construction is expected to be completed near the end of 2011 with the WBRC move pending shortly after final inspection and approval of the site. 

September 16, 2011

CAT Skills: Browsing Websites and Forms with JAWS

Photo: Web page and Links List displayed using Insert + F7

 Website designers try to make websites visually appealing and easy to navigate, but often don’t take into account those utilizing accessible software, like JAWS (screen-reading software).  Additionally, there are some basic rules for Website design, but no real standards which again, can make navigation frustrating and time consuming.  To make Website and Form navigation more efficient and less frustrating, following are easy to use tips for JAWS users:
Quick and Easy Website Navigation
Ø  INSERT + F7 brings up a List of all Links on a current page.  The List of Links can be explored by using the Up and Down arrow keys.  Then, press the Enter key to activate the chosen link.  Additionally, using the first character in a Link, like C for Contacts, is a quick way to find the desired link (see example).
Ø  INSERT + F6 to display a list of all headings on the current page.  Likewise in the links list, use Up and Down arrow keys to explore the list and the ENTER key to jump to the beginning of the chosen heading.
Ø  INSERT+ F5 to display a list of all form fields on the current page.  Use the arrow keys to select an item and press ENTER to jump to that item.
Ø  INSERT + F9 to display a list of all frames/content on a current page.
Quick and Easy Table and Spreadsheet Navigation
Ø  ALT + CTRL + RIGHT or LEFT ARROW takes you from Column to Column, Cell to Cell or Item by Item. 
Ø  ALT + CTRL + UP or DOWN ARROW takes you from the Cell Above or Below in a Column or Cell.

Ø  CTRL + WINDOWS KEY + SHIFT + J returns to the previous cell.
o  These keyboard strokes are particularly helpful for navigating through Bank Statements, Telephone Bills, Bus and Train schedules or most anything in a table format.