In honor of Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (VRT) Appreciation Week, we are starting a series of tips developed by VRTs. The first in this series are some time-saving and safety techniques/hints used by Vision Rehabilitation Therapists/Rehabilitation Teachers throughout the United States. These are simply ideas that have been used with some degree of success by other VRTs.
If any of the ideas below do not coincide with your agency policy or procedure, do not use them. Techniques that work well for one VRT may not work well for everyone.
If you are reading about VRTs for the first time and would like to find out more about what they do, some must-reads are A Definition of Vision Rehabilitation Therapy and A Day on the Road with Vision Rehabilitation Therapist Stephanie Stephens Van.
Although these ideas were written with VRTs in mind, they can be applied by anyone who needs to organize things in their home or apartment.
Prior to Lessons
- Store handouts and frequently used resource materials in clear shoe bags. That way, you can quickly pick it up and get to your appointments.
- Get all of your equipment ready for each person you are serving in advance.
- Have a separate plastic bag for each person and use inventory tags to write the name of the consumer and tie to the handle of the bag. Inventory tags are large enough to write the name in large print and braille. Using these tags will save you time and effort locating each person’s equipment.
- Prepare lesson plans for each skill area in advance. Keep all of your lesson plans together in one file or notebook. Then you can pull out the plan that you need for each lesson. It may be necessary to tweak the plan to meet the needs of the individual learner.
- Compile a notebook with large print resource information you like to give out to the individuals you are visiting. You can make several copies of each resource and place it in a plastic sheet protector. You can put braille or large print labels on the sheet protector. Then compile/organize all of the resource information in a notebook, with a plastic sheet protector around each individual resource. Also, store important papers in plastic sheet protectors.
- If you do not already have one, compile a labeling notebook or tool kit. Provide tactile samples of the many different options available for labeling.
- Use rolling suitcases by sorting specific content area materials for vision rehabilitation teaching and assessments. Use an empty suitcase for throwing in items that are not already pre-packed according to a category. Each suitcase is labeled, so you can pull the one you need.
- See-through plastic containers also work to store equipment for each skill area. Some VRTS save the plastic containers that blankets and towels come in at the time of purchase. You can have a bag for each skill area.
- When you have some “down time,” reorganize yourself, suitcase by suitcase, as time permits. Doing so keeps you abreast of what you have or are missing. If something needs repair, then it never makes it back into a suitcase. What’s even better is that the rolling suitcases save your back and are cheap to find at second-hand stores. Zip-lock bags and clear plastic containers inside each suitcase help keep items categorized within each suitcase. Old tape cassette cases with zippers on three sides work great to keep filters/glare glasses organized on both sides of the case.
- Have a staging area in your office to help you pack ahead and keep track of equipment prior to appointments.
- Use large print, braille, or contrasting-colored stickers to keep equipment tracked as to its funding source and whether or not the item is available for demonstration and training purposes, to loan out for long-term or short-term use, or to give away.
- When you get down to two of any item, re-order. That way, you will always have one for demonstration, and one to give away.
- Keep batteries in the box with equipment that requires batteries. That way, you will have the correct battery at all times.
(Compiled from information available on the Vision Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) Listserv. Used with permission.)