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FLORIDA REHABILITATION COUNCIL FOR THE BLIND
PUBLIC FORUM

FLORIDA REHABILITATION COUNCIL FOR THE BLIND
PUBLIC FORUM

Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort
100 North Atlantic Avenue
Daytona Beach, FL 32118 
Thursday – October 23, 2014

Bruce Miles, Chair called the meeting to order at 5:00 PM.

Council Members Present:  (14)

Bruce Miles, Dan O’Connor, Robert Kelly, Donté Mickens, Sandra Martin, Patricia Lipovsky Sheryl Brown, Leanne Grillot, Lenora Marten, Sylvia Stinson-Perez, Jesus Garcia, Ben Grzesik, Vicky Magliocchino and Robert Doyle, Director. 

Council Members Present via Teleconference: (2) Dwight Sayer, Christopher White

Council Members Absent: (2) Joe Minichiello, Gloria Mills
 
Council Staff: (1) Alise Fields

DBS Staff Present: Tom Austin, Michelle Sampson.

Attendees: (2)

Paul Edwards, Becki Forsell (FRC)

Bruce Miles opened the Public Forum with a video on the Art of Rehabilitation Counseling by CRCC.

10 consumers were in attendance.

First consumer Comments:

  • Client at the Conklin Center.
  • Currently going through 2 week evaluation.
  • Lives in the dormitory.
  • Currently going through some independent living training.
  • Conklin Center has been a great experience.
  • Taking cooking classes at the Rehab Center to learn how to cook meals.
  • Learning how to clean up living space through independent living training.
  • Became visually impaired through a car accident about 8 years ago.
  • Suffered a traumatic brain injury that has caused the loss of peripheral vision.
  • The Conklin Center has also helped with other impairments.
  • The Conklin Center has a great staff. 
  • Appreciative for all of the support, patience and work that both the Rehab Center and Conklin Center does.
  • Happy to be a part of the program and encourages other individuals to utilize the services at the Conklin Center.

Second Consumer Comments:

  • A client at the Conklin Center.
  • Goal was to improve mobility skills.
  • Conklin Center has helped with the improvement of mobility skills.
  • Works in the workshop, which equips clients with employability skills.
  • Working in the workshop helps clients who want to enter the workforce upon leaving the program. It also helps with clients who are going to live on their own or returning home.
  • Conklin Center also has a budgeting class that helps with budgeting.
  • Training is really good and independent skills have improved.
  • During the past one year I have learned braille and sign language.

Third Consumer Comments:

  • Visually Impaired mobility instructor with the Conklin Center for twelve years.
  • Every day is a new experience.
  • Each individual is different and has very unique needs, so the Conklin Center works to meet the needs of each individual.
  • Individuals are learning sign language and braille.
  • Individuals are also helped with learning different technology i.e., the iPhone and iPad.
  • Thanks the Council for their time.

Response:

Bruce Miles asks how if one of the consumers has a hearing impairment
The consumer responds that they have a hearing impairment.
Bruce Miles comments that the FRCB has a deaf/blind Council Member Victoria Magliocchino that may be able to offer some assistance with resources. 

Fourth Consumer Comments:

  • Student at the Daytona State College.
  • Has been to almost all rehabilitation centers in the Daytona Beach area.
  • Resides at the DBS rehabilitation center and also a client at CVI.
  • Volunteers at the Conklin Center.
  • Has been able to accomplish a lot of things that seemed impossible to do, through the rehab center.
  • Lost sight three years ago while going through a Master’s Degree Program.
  • DBS has helped with everything.
  • Thanks Counselor and appreciates DBS, the Conklin Center and CVI.

Fifth Consumer Comments:

  • There is no way that she could have been as successful without the DBS.
  • Developed a new impairment recently and all of the resources that are provided through DBS and the Conklin Center help with future development.

Response:

Paul Edwards comments that the FRCB is happy to see consumer five doing so well and congratulates her on a job well done.  

Donte Mickens asks what the consumer’s thoughts about the FRCB are with holding public forums. Donte comments that the FRCB is constantly trying to improve outreach.
          Consumer comments that they are hearing of the public forum through the mail outs, emails and word of mouth. Consumer thinks that the FRCB is doing a good job with outreach about the Public Forum.

Sixth Consumer Comments:

  • As a past client and now an employee, DBS taught him to be an advocate.
  • Developed an attitude to be helpful to the community.
  • Would like to bring to DBS attention is voting. In 2007 the legislature decided that electronic equipment was not to be used but that visually impaired individuals could use devices that were comfortable for them. The legislature has moved the reviewing of the voting bill from 2016 to 2020. This needs to changed and more awareness should be brought to the legislatures attention.
  • The concern about pets as opposed to legitimate service animals. The State of Florida needs to start weighing in on the problem. 

Response:

Bruce Miles comments that the FRCB submitted a voting resolution that was drafted by Paul Edwards, to the legislature.

Paul Edwards read the FRCB’s voting resolution also submitted to the legislature.

Becki Forsell read the FRC’s voting resolution also submitted to the legislature.

Seventh Consumer Comments:  
  • It seems that many visually impaired individuals are having difficulty with obtaining a college education.
  • Has met many people that have not received their high school diploma.
  • It seems that many people are having difficulty with enrolling in college because they have not received a diploma.
  • Individuals that have lost their sight as an adult are having a difficult time with entering the workforce.
  • What are the solutions through DBS?
  • The job readiness program needs to be improved. For those that have worked before would like to have competitive jobs.

Response:

Mr. Doyle thanks the consumer for their comments. Mr. Doyle responds that he is familiar with the programs challenges and that DBS is working to initiate a H.S. equivalency or other programs to bridge the need for a special diploma.

DBS employee responds that there was a GED program that was offered through a partnership through Daytona State College that was very successful.

Sheryl Brown asks how many people completed the GED program.

DBS employee says that she currently does not have the figures but the program was very successful. There was a 90% success rate.

Sheryl Brown asks that there a report be prepared for the next FRCB meeting to discuss special diplomas.

Paul Edwards comments that the issue being raised is a very good one. When training at the Rehab Center was discontinued the FRCB had extensive discussion. The Rehab Center raised the primary issue to the DBS and the FRCB in which both concurred that the discontinuing of training because of the conversions of the programs and the dollars being allocated to adult education and other programs throughout the state, there were not viable alternatives offered.

Paul Edwards comments that the FRCB proposed that DBS and organizations of visually impaired individuals throughout the State of Florida collaborate to gradually make GED programs more accessible statewide. The proposal lost all of the action elements when sent to Tallahassee for review. The idea was to gradually work to create a situation to develop and implement ways of becoming more accessible.

Sylvia Perez comments that the DBS should consider the collaboration with other organizations to make obtaining a GED more accessible. There should be other alternatives and advocacy for other programs and resources.

Robert Doyle comments that the DBS has been hearing issues related to the challenges of gaining more access to the GED program. There needs to be a determination of viability through DBS or through collaborative efforts with other organizations.

Sylvia Perez that the new regulations are in place for no more special diplomas and this will not change, students will now receive certificate of completions.

Paul Edwards comments that exams are not accessible for students to take to pass the assessments.

Eighth Consumer Comments:

  • The GED and Job Readiness Program go hand in hand.

No other consumers gave comment.

Public Forum adjourned at 6:30 PM