October 31, 2013

WBRC Welcomes New O&M Instructor

Ms. Hass & Guide Dog Puppy Hawthorne

WBRC is proud to announce that Ms. Lindsay Hass has accepted the position of WBRC Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Instructor.  Ms. Hass started on October 7th.  Ms. Hass completed her Master’s degree in Special Education with emphasis in Guide Dog Mobility and Orientation & Mobility at San Francisco State University in 2010.  She also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations and Spanish from the University of California, Davis.  Ms. Hass completed her Graduate Level O&M internship at the WBRC in 2010 and is an ACVREP certified O&M Specialist (COMS).  Ms. Hass previously worked for the San Diego Center for the Blind and Vision Impaired, where she served as an O&M Specialist.  She also participates in the Guide Dogs for the Blind puppy raising program and is currently raising Hawthorne, a male Yellow Labrador Retriever, which is her 5th guide dog puppy.  Welcome to the WBRC Team Lindsay!

October 17, 2013

2013 WBRC White Cane Awareness Walk a Huge Success

Photo: Chris Kliks and Brian Higgins walk at the event [Photo via Bookshare]

The 2013 White Cane Awareness Walk hosted by WBRC on October 16, 2013 was a huge success with over 60 marchers!  WBRC Students and Staff members were joined by participants from Bookshare, the VISTA Center, and the Palo Alto Host Lions Club on a stroll across El Camino Real and along South California Ave in Palo Alto, CA.  This event, designed to celebrate the ability of persons with vision impairment to lead full and independent lives, also included public education of the White Cane Law. 
The White Cane Law states that pedestrians who use a white cane or dog guide have certain rights.  Only persons who are legally blind are lawfully allowed to carry a white cane.   Legal Blindness is defined as someone who has best corrected visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye; or a visual field limitation of 20 degrees or less.  Some people with vision loss do not fall under the legal blindness definition but can still benefit from use of a long cane in a different color, such as yellow.

The California Vehicle Code 21963 states that a person carrying a predominantly white cane or using a dog guide shall have the right-of-way, that the driver of any vehicle approaching this person who fails to yield, or take all reasonable precautions to avoid injuring this pedestrian is guilty of a misdemeanor.  This is punishable by imprisonment for up to six months, a $500 to $1,000 fine, or both. 

Bookshare and VISTA center (both located along the route) hosted meet and greets for the group which involved education about services and community resources.  WBRC would like to thank everyone who planned, volunteered, hosted, and marched in this event.  

October 10, 2013

WBRC Hosts Visitors from the Blinded Veterans of the UK

Photo: Mrs. Vanessa Young and Mr. Steve Boswell of the Blinded Veterans of the United Kingdom Organization

WBRC was happy to host visitors from the Blinded Veterans of the United Kingdom (UK) recently.  The visitors, Vanessa Young and Steve Boswell, spent a week at the WBRC with a primary focus of learning about our Comprehensive Neurological Vision Rehabilitation (CNVR) and Orientation and Mobility (O&M) programs.  The visit also allowed them time to get acquainted with all of the WBRC departments, attend a graduation ceremony, and to get to know our staff members and veterans.  Mrs. Young and Mr. Boswell reported that the common purpose between the Blind Veterans of the UK and the VA Blind Rehabilitation Services (BRS) and WBRC was very much the same.  They did note some differences, such as the WBRC programs for persons with traumatic brain injury and the power mobility program, which helped highlight new directions for their program.  Persons interested in more information or a site visit of the WBRC can contact us at (650) 614-9952.

October 2, 2013

WBRC to Celebrate White Cane Awarness Day October 16th

Photo of a person's feet and long white cane tip
October is White Cane Awareness Month.  WBRC is celebrating White Cane Awareness by hosting a Walk in Palo Alto, CA on Wednesday October 16th, 2013.   Participating agencies include WBRC, VISTA Center, Bookshare, and the Lions Club. 

On October 6, 1964, a joint resolution of the Congress was signed into law authorizing the President of the United States to proclaim October 15 of each year as "White Cane Safety Day". Within hours of the passage, then-President Lyndon B. Johnson publicly recognized the importance of the white cane as a symbol of independence for individuals who are blind. Today there is a variant of the White Cane Law on the statute books of every state in the nation and White Cane Safety Day is nationally recognized with marches and celebrations.

Please feel free to come join us on October 16th and participate in the walk to spread awareness of the White Cane Law. 

All are welcome --- white cane users, yellow cane users, sighted guides, power mobility users, 4WW users, dog guide users, blindfolded sighted folks {with cane skills or a human guide} ---on an approximate half mile walk on South California Ave.

Please call (650)493-5000 x24611 for event details.

October 1, 2013

Service Status

All VA medical centers and clinics -- including all facilities within the VA Palo Alto Health Care System -- will remain fully operational and will continue to provide health care services to our nation’s Veterans during the government shutdown.  VA health care appointments will not be affected. 

For more information, please visit www.va.gov

If you have questions, please join the conversation at www.facebook.com/vapahcs.