Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

Helping those with vision impairments is one of the most important works of Lions Club International. Last Tuesday, the Durbin Lions Club learned about services provided through the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services.

Skills Trainer Carla Kirby, from the Lewisburg office, said she works with individuals in 16 counties, including Pocahontas.

For those who are vision impaired and over the age of 55, DRS provides items that help to improve their independence and ability to continue daily activities.

“All the services we offer are free,” Kirby said. “We come to the person’s home. We do an evaluation to see what areas they have trouble with, and then we try to provide them with adaptive aides. You don’t have to have any type of insurance. There are no income limits. Just as long as you have a permanent vision impairment, you’re fifty-five years of age or older, and a resident of West Virginia.”

Along with providing materials for individuals to use, the DRS works with the West Virginia Library Commission to provide audio books to individuals.

“If you don’t mind someone reading to you, it’s a free service through the Library Commission,” Kirby said. “They do it all through the mail. They send you the machine; they send you the tapes; you listen to the books and then you send them back. It’s all done back and forth through the mail. They pay the postage, and all you do is sit and listen to books.”

The DRS receives referrals from doctors, family members, friends and Lions Clubs concerning individuals who might need the services. Once they receive a referral, Kirby said they will contact the individual’s doctor to get any vision records which will help them assess the person’s needs.

During her presentation, Kirby showed the group some of the items offered through DRS.

For the kitchen: a cutting board with a light side and a dark side, long oven mitt, shopping list paper, timer with large numbers, a special spatula and a monitor for pouring drinks. The monitor has two prongs that are placed in a cup and when the liquid reaches the prongs, the monitor plays a song so the user will know the cup is full.

Kirby also showed the group a large button telephone, large print address book, talking clock, magnified mirror, large print checkbook register, talking watch, wallets with special slots for each denomination of bills, a magnifier with a light as well as sun shades that fit over glasses.

Kirby said those who believe they are eligible for this service or know someone who is eligible may contact her at 304-647-7515 or by email at Carla.M.Kirby@wv.gov