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Broken phone brought Bruce Roberds to Envision; caring atmosphere kept him here

Angela Cato - Feb 28, 2019

Tags: EVRC    Low    Rehabilitatin    Vision   
Bruce Roberds is a big fan of Envision, and he isn’t shy about sharing his story with others.
“I try to tell everyone I run into about Envision and what Envision has done for me,” he said. “If need be, I would bring them by the hand, because I know how intimidating it can be to try something new.”
Bruce was diagnosed with macular degeneration roughly 40 years ago at the age of 17. Up until two years ago, he had accepted the fact that his days of being independent were well behind him, and he wasn’t interested in seeking additional help from eye doctors. The strongest connection he had to the outside community came from a talking phone. The day his talking phone broke ended up being the best day of his life.
“I came to the Envision Everyday store just to buy a new talking phone,” he said. “But I was also told about the Envision Vision Rehabilitation Center (EVRC) and its Medical Director Dr. Donald Fletcher. I was apprehensive at first thinking, ‘I really don’t need that,’ but I decided to see what Envision could do for me.”
That decision paid off in ways Bruce couldn’t have imagined as he discovered Envision’s priority was to maximize his remaining vision to enhance his overall quality of life. Since then, he has taken advantage of orientation and mobility services, assistive technology training that gave him the courage to trade in his flip phone for a smart phone, participated in Envision Research Institute studies, faithfully attended Adult Support Group meetings and signed up to volunteer in the Envision Everyday store, assisting with the same Telecommunications Access Program (TAP) that gave him his replacement talking phone for free.
Bruce particularly valued the assistance he received from EVRC staff in applying for paratransit services through the City of Wichita Transit Department. No longer having to depend on someone else to go places, Bruce is making the most of what Wichita has to offer, taking tai chi classes through the Wichita Park and Recreation Department, visiting the farmer’s market and adding a second volunteer gig at the Sedgwick County Extension Office.
“I’m able to do a lot of things around the city that otherwise would have been so restrictive that I just wouldn’t have done them,” he said. “I’ve gained an awful lot from Envision.”
Envision’s programs and low vision rehabilitation services are offered to youth through adults who are blind or low vision regardless of their ability to pay. More information is available online at envisionus.com or by calling 316-440-1600.