Winnetka home adapted for blind, visually impaired

August 26, 2010 11:20:45 AM PDT
There are a number of ways to adapt your home for family members who are experiencing significant changes in their vision. Most of the changes involve common sense and good tips from experts.

Being able to remain independent in your home is the goal as members of Hadley School for the Blind in Winnetka showcase sensory living and also gardening.

"The reason we set up the house was for low vision and we wanted to use all the senses," said Vicky Young.

Young is a former teacher for the visually impaired and wife of the president of Hadley School for the Blind.

"It can cost a lot if you want very nice dishes, or you can do a dot of blue, and you can mark things. It can be very cheap. It can be things you already have," said Young.

Young gave ABC 7 a tour of their home, pointing out different elements for people who are visually impaired.

"We have different kinds of wine you can tell by the top. This is the one -- the round one -- is the white wine. Our 'Y' on it is for red wine, so that if they're pouring wine for themselves, very discriminated. For the cheese, on the chalk board we have dark chalk board with white writing so it names the kinds of cheese," Young said.

The kitchen is the most challenging. Dawn Turco, senior staff member at Hadley School, is legally blind and spends time in the kitchen.

"Magnification is so important. I just reach for the closest one, and I'm off and running when there is a recipe in a magazine," said Turco. "Dark and light contrast...The knives, as you can see, are clearly seen, are in black and white, so regardless of where I set it you can see it."

At Hadley School for the Blind there is a sensory garden. President Chuck Young proudly talks about it.

"The sound, smells, everything is designed to appeal to all the senses so that people with low vision and blindness can appreciate the garden just as well as sighted people," said Chuck Young.

This past May, Hadley's garden and president's house were part of Winnetka's annual lifestyle housewalk.

"We just simply showed a bunch of little simple adaptations to the house that can be used by people as they experience low vision, as they age, so they can remain in charge of their lives, in their house and in their community," said Chuck Young.

Hadley School for the Blind just celebrated its 90th anniversary. To find out more about this, go to www.hadley.edu.


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