Rehabilitation Program Assists Visually Impaired Woman

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MCALLEN – A grant awarded to the McAllen Independent School District will fund a new program in the district geared at helping students who are visually impaired. The program teaches students, who are blind, how to be self-sufficient one recipe at a time.

One of the certified teachers, Adriana Maldonado, is tasked with taking the students through a cooking lesson from beginning to end. She says this process teaches students how to cook for themselves and gain confidence in doing tasks on their own.

“It goes with the independence in mind, being able to go home and do little tasks on their own, which are your basic chores, cleaning, washing dishes and not asking for too much help,” said Maldonado.

The teachers eventually want their students to go to college on their own, then transition into their dream job.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS looked into additional assistance offered to people who are lost their eyesight later in life or are older and visually-impaired.

The Texas Workforce Commission-Vocational Rehabilitation Services, formerly known under the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services, DARS, offers services to minors and adults with disabilities including blindness.

They help with everything from how to prepare for, obtain, retain or advance in the workplace.

A local woman who used those services says they were a blessing for when she started losing her eyesight to glaucoma. Elvia Hernandez was diagnosed with the disease over four decades ago and is now legally blind.

Even after undergoing eight surgeries to relieve the pressure on her eyes, on her eyes said he's helped her file for disability.

“And I said 'No way! Not little old me.’ I have the will to continue to work, I’m going to find a way to continue to work,” said Hernandez.

Hernandez is an administrative assistant at Easter Seals in McAllen. She says the support from the program helped her retain her sense of independence by providing her with equipment that allows her to see and read in the workplace.

Hernandez says she’s grateful for the Texas Workforce Commission-Vocational Rehabilitation Services and the support the agency provided her.


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