Perkins School for the Blind

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Envision the Future…Transition from School to
Adult Life
Sat., March 29

Cosponsored by: NAPVI, NEC & Perkins

A conference on transition planning for students who are visually impaired, blind or deafblind, including those with additional disabilities. Learn more.

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Strategies for Life, Perkins Outreach Services for Ages 55+

When Agnes could no longer read the letters on her Scrabble tiles, she knew it was time to regain control of her life.

“She wanted to keep her mind sharp so she was playing Scrabble during the day,” recalls Renee Man, a Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist.

Agnes, 94, was a seamstress who had sewn her daughters wedding dresses but by the time Renee came into her Watertown home as part of Perkins Outreach Services: Strategies for Life, Agnes had given up on her favorite hobby.

Learn more.


Clean to the Touch

Book Cover. Clean to the Touch

Written for teenagers but helpful for all ages, these easy-to-use, step-by-step techniques enable people with visual impairments to undertake housecleaning tasks with ease and effectiveness. A key to independent living.

$34.95. Pre-order today, books ship in March 08. Learn more.


Please visit our website for more information on:

Braille & Talking Book Library

Blind and Visually Impaired Clearinghouse

Community Programs

International Programs

On Campus Programs

Professional Development



Elders and vision loss: Independent living is possible

Outreach Client with her daughterLosing your eyesight doesn't have to mean losing your independence.

In Massachusetts, three out of four people who are legally blind are over the age of 65. But with simple adaptations and a willingness to learn, these seniors can continue to lead independent, productive, and fulfilling lives.

Learning how safely to perform everyday tasks like cooking, taking medication, managing finances, and running neighborhood errands, is the key to maintaining an independent lifestyle. Through individualized training in the home or classes with peers who are also adapting to age-related vision loss, seniors can learn new ways to accomplish such daily activities.

Professionals can also offer training to caregivers and help people who are visually impaired access books, magazines, and newspapers. With simple adjustments to daily routines, the possibilities are endless. Learn more about resources available to adults who are losing their vision.

Download our flyer, 10 Tips to Protect Your Vision. 


Perkins Braille & Talking Book Library FY09 Budget

Nearly 175,000 people in Massachusetts are unable to read regular print in books, newspapers, or magazines due to some type of physical or visual disability.

The Perkins Braille & Talking Book Library is currently providing this vital resource to approximately 21,000 people helping them stay connected to the world through reading.

Unfortunately the library only reaches roughly 12 percent of the eligible population due to limited funding resources.

In order to provide a full range of library services to existing borrowers as well as reaching out to those who don’t know the Perkins Library exists we need your help.

We are asking the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Senate to increase the budget for fiscal year 2009 by $172,000 above the Governor’s recommendation. This funding will help the library meet current operational needs, reach out to a growing population of people in Massachusetts in need of our services, and begin the essential transition to digital talking books from outdated cassette technology.

Since the legislature is currently discussing funding issues, time is of the essence. Please act today … our library service needs your help! Click here to email Senate President Therese Murray and Speaker of the House Salvatore DiMasi.


Where in the World is Perkins?

Photo. Residents of the Majak group home in SlovakiaThe Hilton/Perkins program provided professional assistance for our Slovakian colleagues as they researched how to structure their country’s first group home for young adults who are deafblind and are no longer eligible for education services. In this group home called Majak, trained staff members help people who are deafblind, ages 18 and older to be active members of their community. The home has nationwide significance as a pilot project for deafblind adult services.

With the help of the Hilton/Perkins program, members of Slovakia’s Association of Parents and Friends for Deafblind Children were able to evaluate group homes in the United States and after seven years of development and fundraising Majak opened its doors in February of 2007. Majak means “lighthouse” and reflects the association’s motto: “Making the invisible visible.” The home has the capacity for seven adult residents with one additional bed for someone who is in need of respite care, or for family members who want to observe the program.

Prior to the establishment of Majak, adults who are deafblind had limited options after graduating from Slovakia’s boarding school for children who are deafblind. They could either live at home with their parents or go to shelters or institutions where communication with staff or peers would have been minimal, if at all.

Janka Sarisska, a graduate of Perkins one-year Educational Leadership Program (ELP), provides training for staff members at the home in effective means of communicating with the adults who live in the home and to help them to create opportunities for meaningful work and leisure activities. The result is that the people who live at Majak are able to receive the support they need to build lifelong friendships and lead fulfilling and productive lives.


Perkins to Acquire Adaptive Technology Consulting

Perkins recently announced its intention to acquire the assets of Adaptive Technology Consulting, Inc. (ATC) of Salisbury, MA. ATC is a privately-owned company whose high-technology adaptive devices, training and consulting services bring greater independence to individuals who are blind, visually impaired or have learning disabilities. The move will have numerous positive effects for people with impaired sight seeking services and products, including a broader array of assistive devices and consulting services for clients of Perkins Low Vision Clinic and 55+ Outreach Services. Learn more.

Speaker highlights services for seniors

Photo of Michael E. FestaIn December, Massachusetts Secretary for Elder Affairs Mike Festa spoke at Perkins just in time for the unveiling of a new brochure detailing the Strategies for Life program, Perkins Outreach Services for people age 55 and older. The event was co-sponsored by the Perkins Braille & Talking Book Library. “Great connections were made in the community for people to access both our services as well as being able to look at the broader elder services community,” said Beth Caruso, Perkins coordinator for Outreach Services. Festa was the lead sponsor of the Equal Choice Bill, legislation giving disabled seniors on Medicaid access to the same care from home or community services as they would receive in a nursing home. Festa was named Elder Advocate of the Year by the Massachusetts Home Care Federation in 1999 and 2006. Under the Strategies for Life program, Perkins rehabilitation therapists visit people 55 and older who are dealing with vision loss in their homes. Perkins also offers classes at the Elder Learning Center.

Download a copy of our new "Strategies for Life" Brochure.

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Perkins School
for the Blind
175 North Beacon Street
Watertown, Massachusetts 02472
Phone 617-924-3434
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