Many people I meet are not aware of what the unique position of Independent Living Specialist (ILS) is. An ILS can help with many tasks, both big and small.
An ILS can teach you braille so you are able to continue playing cards or label your spices, help you to identify and co-ordinate clothing so you don’t end up wearing stripes with plaid, organize and label your canned goods so you can distinguish the peas from the tomato soup using a Pen Friend, teach you assistive technology so you can continue emailing your friends and family, show you safe techniques for cutting foods, or using your stove so you can continue to be a gourmet chef, mark your appliances so that you can feel the dial in order to set the correct temperature on your oven or set your washing machine to the correct cycle, show you how to get toothpaste on a toothbrush or apply make-up, show you how to use your magnifier effectively to read your mail, teach you how to use a recorder or writing guide in order to write your grocery list, show you how to identify money, or mark your measuring cups so you can measure the correct amount of baby formula or bake the perfect pie. An ILS can also set you up with a DAISY player so that you can enjoy listening to talking books. An ILS can work with you on these tasks as well as countless other activities of daily living to help you in accomplishing your goals in remaining independent.
In my role as an ILS for CNIB in St. Catharines, Ontario, I travel to clients' homes across the Niagara Region. When I meet with a client for the first time, I start by completing a standard assessment with them which covers a wide range of topics and can help narrow in on difficulties or challenges that the client is having. Once the client and I have completed the assessment and our goals have been established, we can begin working to accomplish these goals. This process can take one visit or multiple weekly visits depending on the tasks the client wishes to learn. The goals clients may wish to accomplish are vast, and vary from client to client. My goal as an ILS is to show the client the adaptive techniques and/or equipment which will allow them to retain their independence.
If you are having any difficulties with any daily living tasks contact the CNIB helpline at 1-800-563-2642 or firstname.lastname@example.org to get connected to your local CNIB office.