San Luis Obispo, California Resources for the Blind

Here is a list of resources for blind and visually impaired individuals particular to San Luis Obispo county. For a list of blindness related resources available anywhere in the United States check out my page of “Free national Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired.”

California Office of Services to the Blind

From their website: “Under the Office of Special Services, the Office of Services to the Blind (OSB) provides information and referral on services, programs, entitlements, and products of benefit to individuals who are blind or low vision and their families or service providers. OSB staff assists such individuals in understanding the availability of services, their eligibility for services, and the purpose and scope of the various service programs.”

Blind Services has put together an extensive handbook of resources for the blind: Handbook of Resources and Services For Visually Impaired

Social Services

They should help you obtain Medi-Cal benefits, Social Security benefits, and In Home Supportive Services.

In Home Support Services

This is a program under Social Services that can help you get and pay for in home care such as food prep, personal care, house cleaning, laundry, and so on.

Department of Rehabilitation

“The goal of Blind Field Services is to increase employment outcomes and enhance the independence and self-sufficiency for consumers in California who are blind and visually impaired through a team of counselors and supervisors who understand the barriers faced in achieving meaningful employment and independent living.”

Runabout Paratransit – San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority

This is a bus service that you can call at least two business days in advance to schedule a ride within the county. They will pick you up at your home and help you get to the door of your destination. Fares run anywhere from $2.50 to $4.75 or more.

VTC Enterprises- Independent Living Services

May be able to direct you to get help with obtaining Social Security benefits, training for independent living skills, mobility training, job development, and more. They work with Department of Rehab, Central Coast Assistive Technology, and the Braille Institute.

Braille Institute Santa Barbara

Offers Consultations in kitchen confidence, using technology, and orientation and mobility. They have classes through out California and also will have times for out reach to other cities.

Independent Living Resource Center

Offers assistance attaining accessible and affordable housing, help with personal care through In Home Supportive Service, find accessible technology, and more.

Central Coast Assistive Technology

Helps individuals find assistive technology such as computers, screen reading software, canes, and more. Also they provide training and have a technology lending program.

Deaf & Disabled Telecommunications Program

Offers accessible phone technology like phones with large, tactile buttons that are easier for ones with low vision or blind to use. The phones are offered as a long-term loan.

GO See Foundation

The Central Coast has so many wonderful activities such as kayaking, biking, hiking, and more. The Go See Foundation empowers ones with vision loss to get out and enjoy them all! From the Go See Foundation’s website: “Our mission is to encourage, inspire and empower those going through vision loss to remain active and engaged with their world.”

Free National Resources for Blindness and Visual Impairment

The diagnoses of legally blind comes as a shock. A foggy cloud of devastation and helplessness may come over you. But learning about the many resources out there will help you feel more empowered and hopeful. As you see ways of adapting and gaining independence.

First start by contacting your local Social Services office. They should be able to help direct you to government assistance programs in your local area. Each county and state are different so just Google the contact info for your local Social Service office. They will probably give you some of the resources I am about to list too.

In Home Support Services (IHS)

– California Only

depending on circumstances and income, you may be qualified to receive aid from a person of your choice to help you with tasks such as laundry, food preparation,personal care needs, cleaning or other things you need a little help with. They will assess your needs and allot you a number of hours they will pay for to have someone assist you. You may choose a friend or family member or choose from there list.

Social Security

The Social Security Administration has special benefits and allowances for individuals who are blind. They have an online estimator to see if you may qualify for benefits. But be sure to contact them as soon as you can because determination of qualification and applying can take some months.

National Federation for the Blind – Free White Cane

The National Federation for the Blind has a program to receive a free white cane. This is a simple cane that is good for identifying you as having trouble seeing so people can be more helpful and cautious towards you. The white cane does not collapse, making it very cumbersome to carry around. But it is a quick, free way to try out what a white cane feels like. This cane is will not give you any balance support, rather is meant for you to extend out to feel what is around you. To pick a a good length of cane the general guideline is that if it is straight up, pareille to you, it should reach the top of your shoulder.So measure from the ground to the top of your shoulder to find the right length in inches for you.

Maxi AIDS Products for the Blind

This online store is great for all kinds of accessible products. You can find items to help you identify things, better white canes, lights and magnification devices, kitchen tools, even games. Plus free shipping!

Hadley Institute For The Blind and Visually Impaired

Hadley offers courses on adapting to vision loss, braille, hobbies, business, and more through the mail or online. Allot of the classes are free for the blind. This is a great way to get started learning braille. The first course in braille literacy helps you develop your sense of touch and at least knowing the alphabet in braille is very useful for labeling items for identification. Check back soon for an article about Why to learn braille.

National Library of Congress for The Blind

Borrow audio or braille books or magazines from the National Library of Congress. They can lend you a digital talking book reader as well. Personally I love their ap, BARD, which lets you download audio books very easily. And again this is all freee.

United States Postal Service – Free Matter for the Blind

Mailing material in large print, braille, or sound recordings is heavy and bulky. Fortunately the USPS has a provision for sending these materials free of charge. This is very helpful for receiving and receiving materials from the Hadley Institution r the National Library of Congress.

National Parks and Federal Recreational Land Access Pass

This access pass gets you into national parks for free and gives you a significant discount for camping and other features. Check if your state has another access pass for state parks.

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