“We had a case worker refer a client to us back in 1992. He still is an active client and employee of The Seeing Hand. This client resides in Rayland, Oh with his mother because he needs supervision and care. He is totally blind and has been since he was about 8 or 9 years old. He was diagnosed with retinal disease which caused massive scars in the retina. He also has other developmental disabilities and only completed school to the 7th or 8th grade. He does not have a GED. He states due to his problems he was placed in Special Education. He further has a diagnosis of depression which is very common among blind people.
He cannot recite his address or telephone number and keeps the information on a piece of paper in his wallet. Additionally, he cannot tell his right hand from his left hand.
Given the fact that he does not use any assistive technology and his capabilities are very limited it is quite the challenge to employ this person. Prior to his employment with us he worked unloading trucks at the Goodwill in Steubenville. The unemployment rate among individuals who are blind with additional disabilities is 90%. This client is blessed because he found employment with The Seeing Hand .
He has been with us for 25 years and really has never been productive. Because a large part of our mission is employment we have created many simple tasks for him to complete over the past 20 plus years. Although the tasks kept him busy he really was accomplishing very little. That is until now!
Our fire extinguisher project is designed to secure employment for our workers. Once the extinguishers are filled and processed through the hold stations they need to be cleaned. We thought this would be a good job for the above client. At first we had him removing old stickers and washing down the canisters. However, removing the stickers proved to be too difficult of a task for a totally blind person. We then partnered him with a worker with limited vision. She removes the stickers and then he cleans the product. This has worked out very well.
The benefit to his involvement with the project is he now belongs to part of a team. He plays a valuable role in the success of this new service. It has been a difficult journey because he was not used to being pushed or driven for results. For the first time in 25 years he has a list of essential functions for his job. He now has gone from being a challenge to employ to having a purpose. This new project has given him job security and new skills. This is a win for The Seeing Hand and for him.”
– The Seeing Hand Association