Social Work Services
(English and Spanish)
Coming to terms with vision loss can be difficult. The challenges it poses can seem overwhelming at times and may result in feelings of anxiety, frustration, sadness, anger or depression. Our licensed social workers can provide short-term counseling to help you work through these challenges and learn to cope more effectively, leading you toward a greater level of independence. VISIONS social workers can also assist by providing benefits counseling and resources, in applying directly for benefits and services, and by providing advocacy and assistance in addressing related problems. LGBTQ+ people are welcome.
In addition to individual and family counseling, VISIONS offers support groups to work through issues along with peers. Support groups are offered at VISIONS at Selis Manor, VISIONS Older Adult Center and VISIONS Center on Blindness both in person and virtually.
Individual counseling and groups that are funded by the New York State Commission for the Blind will require a medical eye report establishing legal blindness, an application and authorization for services and an assessment. Counseling may be provided virtually.
No insurance is required. All social work services are provided at no cost to the participant or their family.
Individual Social Work Services
For children under 10 or children up to 21 with multiple impairments VISIONS team will receive authorization from the NY State Commission for the Blind (NYSCB) to provide social casework services. Once we start services the child will be assessed for age-appropriate interventions. VISIONS licensed social workers will seek input from the family on what benefits and services are important to the family and work with the parent or guardian and child to meet those goals. These services are authorized by the NYS Commission for the Blind for children that meet the legal blindness definition.
Youth services are for children who are at age-appropriate developmental level ages 10-21. Services must be authorized and referred by the NYS Commission for the Blind for youth that are legally blind. Youth services focus on school-age goals including transition from high school to work, vocational training, or college. Service can include social work and/or referral to the after-school program, pre-college program, summer transition program, pre-vocational program, and paid internships. Special sessions are available for youth who are blind with developmental disabilities.
Adult services are for adults 18 and above planning to enter or re-enter employment. Social casework includes assistance with benefits, services, resources, and short-term counseling to ensure adults have the necessary supports in place while job seeking or employed in the job market. Authorization and referrals are made by the NYS Commission for the Blind for legally blind adults. An assessment will be conducted to determine where the participant is experiencing challenges due to their vision loss and what assistance would be beneficial. This is a collaborative process with the participant’s full input in determining which challenges and issues they are experiencing and how to best address them.
Counseling is available for legally blind individuals 55 and over who are not planning on working. VISIONS can start services with them directly. Once we receive their medical eye report verifying legal blindness and eligibility for services funded by the NYS Commission for the Blind, VISIONS will conduct an intake via the phone. Participants can choose which services they need including vision rehabilitation therapy (skills to manage at home with vision loss), orientation and mobility (skills to move around their environment safely in their neighborhood and citywide) and/or social work services to determine possible benefits and/or counseling to address challenges such as adjusting to vision loss. You may also be referred to VISIONS Center on Aging Older Adult Center or VISIONS Center on Blindness in Spring Valley, Rockland County for social connections, physical fitness, and other activities.
Group Social Work Programs
Pre-Vocational Enrichment Program Socialization Skill Building Group (for participants ages 14 to 18):
The goals of this discussion group is to collaboratively engage in ways to manage the general stress and anxiety related to adjustment to vision loss, and transitioning into the workplace. These will include enhancing socialization skills, honing one's skills, boosting awareness and confidence.
The group currently meets every other week on Friday at 5 pm for approximately 1 hr. Each session will open with a check-in offering time to discuss unresolved concerns from the previous session, homework review, and thoughts and feelings from the past session. Sessions may include mindfulness exercises to build coping skills, specific techniques and practices related to the topic of the day and a similar check-out will be taken at the end of the session.
Although session topics are subject to change, the typical session topics include:
- Awareness of Stress and Anxiety
- Self-care and Covid19
- Self-esteem and Self-confidence
- Communication and Socialization
- Self-advocacy, Independence, and Responsibility
- Perception of your Disability
- Relationship Building skills
- Safe space and Healthy Working Environment
- Organization Skill and Review Session
Managing Vocational Stress: Virtual Social Work Support Group
Managing Vocational Stress is a ten-session psychoeducational group offered to adult participants (18 years or older) in the VISIONS workforce department. The group meets virtually once a week on Zoom. The main goal of the group is to assist participants in managing stress and anxiety as they look for gainful employment and transition into the workplace. Each 90-minute session follows a format that is focused on anxiety and stress: the signs, causes, and effects; how to disclose your vision loss to your employer; coping skills; and gaining comfort in dealing with and making changes.
Open to NYS Commission for the Blind participants with authorization from their counselors (assessment and voucher hours)
Unpaid Caregiver Support Group
Unpaid Caregivers (family, friends, neighbors) caring for someone age 60 or older where one or both people are blind or partially sighted meet as a group with a counselor to discuss the impact of being an unpaid caregiver For more information about the Unpaid Caregiver Support Program contact Elizabeth Lee firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a special group for parents of children with disabilities. Small groups of parents and caregivers meet for 2 hours a week for 12 weeks. The program includes activities, discussions, in-person family-style meals, and complimentary in-person childcare. Through a combination of hands-on activities and guided discussions, participants develop knowledge and skills that support their parenting and allow them to become role models.
For more information about this group, contact Krystal Findley, LMSW email@example.com and Kimone Coley, LMSW firstname.lastname@example.org
Social Work Programs at VISIONS at Selis Manor
A support group for visually impaired adults of all ages. A safe, confidential place to discuss frustrations, concerns, and daily living as it relates to vision loss. In this group, members can provide each other with encouragement, comfort, advice and even share personal experiences. Through conversations members can also learn about resources and additional assistance and systems in place to navigate issues related to vision loss. New members are always required to meet with the group facilitator prior to attending the group. There are 3 sections of Moving Forward (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday). Currently the Thursday section from 10:30 to 12:00pm is open to new members. At this time all sections are virtual only.
Between Us Men
Peer led support group for adult men only. A safe confidential space where members can share anything on their minds. Conversations can include but are not limited to the following topics: family relationships, stressors, hobbies, dating, parenting and more. You can expect support, humor and wisdom among men. This group is open to new members. Interested parties will need to meet with the group facilitator prior to entry. This group is hybrid. Tuesdays 1:30pm to 3:00pm.
Supportive space and group where women can share life's ups and downs and everything in between. This is a safe confidential space where women can explore various roles they have and how that plays out in life. Women are able to talk about their roles as mothers, daughters, friends, partners, caregivers and more. This group is sure to include ongoing issues in the world with women in a general sense. The group is virtual and meets on Thursday from 4:00pm to 5:00pm. The group is open to new members. New members are required to meet with the group facilitator prior to entry.
To Learn More/Apply
To request additional information on any of the programs and services provided above, please contact Taisha Ortiz, LMSW, Director of Social Work, by e-mailing email@example.com.