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									South Dakota Board of Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired
2102 Annual Report

See What YOU Can Do with pictures of 4 individuals

Mission Statement: The mission of the Division of Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired (SBVI)
is to provide individualized rehabilitation services that result in optimal employment and
independent living outcomes for citizens who are blind or visually impaired.

Department of Human Services
Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired
Dear Governor Daugaard:

The South Dakota Board of Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired respectfully submits our
Annual Report for 2012. The mission of the Division of Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired
(SBVI) is to provide individualized rehabilitation services that result in quality employment and
independent living outcomes for citizens who are blind or visually impaired. The Board of Service
to the Blind and Visually Impaired works collaboratively with the SBVI administrative leadership to
ensure services are responsive to the needs of citizens in our state.

The Board of Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired continues to play an important role in
developing the goals and strategies that help to guide the work of the Division. The Division’s
goals are as follows:
1. Improve the earnings, benefits, and career advancement for consumers served by SBVI;
2. Develop outreach methods so that referral sources, employers, and citizens who are blind or
   visually impaired are aware of the unique services provided by SBVI;
3. Ensure that Vocational Rehabilitation consumers receive services that allow for informed choice
   and help them to improve their ability to communicate, interact, and perform to their potential in
   their community;
4. Strengthen the agency’s ability to provide quality services to the ever-changing minority
   populations that exist in South Dakota; and
5. Provide quality transition services to eligible students that facilitate the students’ movement
   from school to post-secondary education and/or employment and that result in successful

Throughout this report, I trust that you will find evidence of the quality work involving the Division of
Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired. The data, successful outcomes, and success stories
illustrate the fact that SBVI is helping to positively change the lives of South Dakotans who are
blind or visually impaired.

The Board of SBVI is committed to promoting services for individuals who are blind or visually
impaired, and we appreciate your support in that challenge.

Best Regards,

Linda Biffert

Linda Biffert, Chair
Board of SBVI

CC:    Julya Doyle, RSA State Liaison


Executive Summary………………………………………….... Page 3

Vocational Rehabilitation Summary………………………… Page 4

Independent Living Blind Program Summary…………...... Page 12

Rehabilitation Center for the Blind Summary……………... Page 17

Business Enterprise Program………………………………... Page 20

Board of SBVI Members…..…………….……………………... Page 21

Board of SBVI Activities and Priorities …………………….. Page 22

SBVI Office Locations and Contact Information………….. Page 24

Executive Summary

Activities highlighted in the 2012 Board of Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired (SBVI) Annual
Report reflect the hard work and commitment of those we serve. It is also important to
acknowledge the dedication of SBVI staff and Board Members who ensure that services are
delivered in the most comprehensive and efficient manner leading to the successes of our

You’ll find a variety of useful information in this report, from caseload data and federal review
findings to stories about how services impact those we serve. You’ll also find comments from
consumers and success stories that highlight the positive effect SBVI services have on the lives of
individuals who participate in services. 2012 highlights include:

   Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) – 564 consumers were served by the SBVI VR Program, and
    2012 marked the ninth consecutive year that the SBVI VR Program successfully closed more
    individual cases than the prior year.
   Independent Living Blind (ILB) - In Fiscal Year 2012, the ILB Program provided services to 503
    elderly blind individuals and successfully closed 281 cases.
   Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) 2012 Monitoring Review – A comprehensive
    review of the Vocational Rehabilitation program was conducted in 2012. Findings from the
    review along with positive trends are included in this report.
   Department of Human Services (DHS) Strategic Plan – SBVI is one of four designated state
    units in DHS, the designated state agency for vocational rehabilitation services in South
    Dakota. SBVI participated in strategic planning for DHS in 2012. The mission and goals of
    DHS align with goals in the SBVI state plan. The DHS statement of purpose and main goals
        o In partnership, we will optimize the quality of life of people with disabilities by:
                 Promoting self-advocacy in planning individualized services and supports that
                   result in positive outcomes.
                 Providing the highest level of service within available resources.
                 Providing education and awareness.
                 Recruiting, training and retaining a knowledgeable and prepared workforce.

The Board of SBVI provides guidance based on a wealth of experience from across South Dakota.
The selfless devotion of Board Members to advise the division to ensure optimal services makes
us a better agency. Please take a few moments to review the Board of SBVI Annual Report to
learn more about the valuable services available to citizens with vision loss.

Respectfully Submitted,

Gaye Mattke, SBVI Director

Vocational Rehabilitation Program

The mission of the Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired (SBVI) Vocational Rehabilitation (VR)
Program is to provide individualized rehabilitation services that result in optimal employment
outcomes for citizens who are blind or visually impaired.
                              Federal Fiscal Year 2012 Performance

 564 individuals were served through the SBVI VR Program during Federal Fiscal Year 2012
  (FFY 12).
 120 individuals who were blind or visually impaired were successfully rehabilitated through the
  vocational rehabilitation program.
 94.1% of the individuals whose cases were closed successfully had significant disabilities.
 For individuals who were successfully rehabilitated and placed in competitive employment
  through the vocational rehabilitation program, the average hourly wage was $11.58 and the
  annual income was $20,725.

                       SBVI Vocational Rehabilitation Caseload Summary

The chart below illustrates the increases in consumers served through the SBVI Vocational
Rehabilitation Program over the past several years. The growth of the program is due in part to
the diligence of SBVI in reaching those that need vocational rehabilitation services. The
decreased availability of jobs is likely to increase caseload sizes because as competition for jobs
increases, so does the need for individuals with disabilities to obtain vocational rehabilitation
services to compete in a tight job market.

                          FFY FFY FFY FFY FFY FFY FFY FFY FFY FFY
                          03    04    05    06    07   08   09   10   11   12
 Applications              164   186   192   181   192  253  213  236  222  197
 Eligibilities             137   162   162   151   160  233  160  193  187  152
 Successful closures         65    76    87    96  100  102  112  116  115  120
 Open Cases                233   284   304   301   303  380  369  370  369  328

Vocational Rehabilitation Program

                            Federal Program Evaluation Standards

The Federal Government measures vocational rehabilitation agency performance in part by using
six “Standard 1” performance indicators. SBVI’s performance on each indicator is illustrated on the
corresponding chart. SBVI has exceeded all six of the Standard 1 indicators in the previous eight
years (FY 2004-2011). The indicators are the Division’s “report card”; SBVI is the only agency for
the blind in the nation to meet or exceed all six Standard 1 indicators throughout this time span.

Standard 1: Employment Outcomes

1.1   The number of successful case closures compared to the preceding two years’ number of
      successful closures.
1.2   The percentage of individuals exiting the program during the performance period who have
      achieved an employment outcome after receiving services.
1.3   The percentage of consumers who exit the SBVI VR Program in competitive employment at
      or above the state minimum wage.
1.4   The percentage of individuals who have significant disabilities who obtain competitive
      employment at or above the state minimum wage.
1.5   The ratio of average hourly earnings of all individuals successfully closed to the average
      hourly earnings of all employed individuals in the state.
1.6   The difference in the percentage of individuals at application versus closure who reported
      their income as the largest single source of support.

              FY 2011 SBVI Performance on Standard 1 Performance Indicators

       Indicator           Minimum Requirement         Division Performance         National
Standard 1: Employment        Meet 4 of the 6           6 of the 6 Indicators
       Outcomes                 Indicators                    Were Met
  Indicator 1.1                      228                          231                   12th
  Indicator 1.2                    68.90%                       75.24%                   6th
  Indicator 1.3                    35.40%                       96.54%                   5th
  Indicator 1.4                    89.00%                       99.55%                  14st
  Indicator 1.5                     0.59                         0.707                  12th
  Indicator 1.6                    30.40%                       33.63%                  10th
    Performance for blind agencies is based on two years of data.
    FY 2012 official performance data is not yet available.

Vocational Rehabilitation Program

Services to Minorities
According to the 2010 Census, South Dakota’s minority (non-white) population was 14.1%. The
largest minority group in South Dakota involves American Indians from nine South Dakota
Reservations, making up approximately 9% (8.8% according to 2010 U.S. Census data) of the
state’s total population. In FY 2012, 12.7% of SBVI closures were comprised of individuals of
American Indian descent, and 19.9% of all closures reported coming from a minority background,
exceeding census data for minorities in the general population of the state.

The Board and Division work to address culturally relevant services to minority populations through
a number of initiatives. Strategies from the state plan attachment 4.11(d) for 2012 specifically
address services to minorities with the following activities:
 Annually conduct two or more activities that promote services for citizens with vision loss
   including those from minority backgrounds.
 Maintain regular contact with Native American nations and minority service agencies to
   increase awareness of services that are available.
 Collaborate with tribal VR programs to ensure that all eligible individuals are served in an
   effective and efficient manner on reservations and tribal lands.
 Provide bi-annual training to agency staff to provide tools for meeting the cultural and linguistic
   needs of culturally diverse populations.

                                     Consumer Demographics
The following graph illustrates the age groups of VR applicants. Although SBVI takes applications
from individuals from age 14 on, historically the majority of applicants who apply for services are
between the ages of 40 to 59.

                             FFY      FFY     FFY      FFY      FFY     FFY      FFY      FFY
                             05       06      07       08       09      10       11       12
 <7300           <20             10       6       15       16       8       19       15       5
 7300-10949      20-29           21      23       26       47      27       36       24      25
 10950-14599     30-39           28      20       17       34      28       29       29      23
 14600-18249     40-49           53      49       45       44      54       53       44      50
 18250-21899     50-59           56      60       61       78      63       69       75      60
 21900-25549     60-69           19      20       23       30      28       25       30      28
 25550-29199     70-79            3       2        3        4       4        5        4       4
 29200 and up    80 +             2       1        2        0       1        0        1       2
 Totals                         192     181      192      253     213      236      222     197

Vocational Rehabilitation Program

                               Source of Referrals for Applicants
The following chart demonstrates that physicians and self-referrals make up over two-thirds of the
referrals to the SBVI Vocational Rehabilitation Program.

Pie chart
Physicians 28%
Other 10%
Family or Friend 7%
Self-referral 40%
Career Centers 5%
Community Rehab 7%
Education 3%

                           Occupations of Individuals Closed Successfully
The following graph illustrates the occupations obtained by individuals who were closed
successfully in the SBVI VR Program in FY 2012.

Pie chart
Service 31%
Sales 11%
Other 2%
Professional 11%
Production/Constuction 24%
Managerial 6%
Admin Support 13%
Ag, Forestry, Fishing 2%

Vocational Rehabilitation Program

                     Vocational Rehabilitation Purchased Services Analysis
In FY 2012, SBVI spent over $1 million on purchased services for vocational rehabilitation
consumers. As shown by the pie chart below, physical restoration, assistive technology (AT),
training, and post-secondary services constitute three-quarters of the total expenditures.

FY 12 VR Payments by Service Category pie chart

Evaluation 6%
Job Placement 8%
Other 5%
Training 14%
Post Secondary School 15%
AT 11%
Physical Restoration 34%
Maintenance 7%

                SBVI VR Program – Consumer Satisfaction Survey Analysis
                                    Consumer Comments
To understand the impact of vocational rehabilitation, it is important to not only look at the
program’s performance in terms of data, but also to see the comments that individuals share.
These are quotes from consumer satisfaction surveys:
 “You guys are awesome! Your counselors helped so much along with the program. Kelli
   VanGerpen was so much help, financially and putting me at ease.”
   “With the vision impairment I had before surgery, I would have had to resign from my job.
    Thanks to the counseling and support given to me, I was able to not only continue with my
    current job, but the emotional support gave me the positive edge I needed to remain hopeful.
    Thank you so very much. PS - Lee Ann was such a positive counselor.”
   “I really love my job I have currently; it was what I dreamed of –especially the education I
    received, with all the help from Voc. Rehab.”

Vocational Rehabilitation Program

                               VR Program- Consumer Satisfaction

FY 2012 marks the fourth year that SBVI has partnered with the Board of SBVI to conduct a
consumer satisfaction survey using the SBVI Client Satisfaction Questionaire-8 (CSQ-8) survey.
The survey was sent to 169 individuals who received services and were closed from the SBVI
Vocational Rehabilitation Program in FY 2012. Fifty-five surveys were returned for a return rate of
33%. The survey consists of eight core questions and an additional seven questions that were
developed with the help of the Board of SBVI.

Found below is a summary of the 202 responses through the first four years of the CSQ-8. The
responses illustrate that the large majority of individuals are consistently pleased with the service
they receive from SBVI.

1. How would you rate the quality of service you received?
94% of respondents answered “excellent” or “good”.

2. Did you get the kind of service you wanted?
96% answered “yes, definitely” or “yes, generally”.

3. To what extent has our program met your needs?
91% answered “almost all” or “most” of their needs had been met.

4. If a friend were in need of similar help, would you recommend our program to him/her?
97% answered “yes, definitely” or “yes, I think so”.

5. How satisfied are you with the amount of help you received?
93% answered “very satisfied” or “mostly satisfied”.

6. Have the services you received helped you to deal more effectively with your problems?
95% answered “yes, they helped a great deal” or “yes, they helped somewhat”.

7. In an overall, general sense, how satisfied are you with the service you received?
94% answered “very satisfied” or “mostly satisfied”.

8. If you were to seek help again, would you come back to our program?
95% answered “yes, definitely” or “yes, I think so”.

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Vocational Rehabilitation Program

              Rehabilitation Services Administration FY 2012 Monitoring Review

Section 107 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, requires the commissioner of the
Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) to conduct annual reviews and periodic on-site
monitoring of programs authorized under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act to determine whether a
vocational rehabilitation agency is complying substantially with the provisions of its State Plan
under Section 101 of the Rehabilitation Act and with the Evaluation Standards and Performance
Indicators established under Section 106.

The Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) conducted an extensive monitoring review of SD
Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired in 2012. The Board of SBVI met with the RSA review
team via teleconference and Linda Biffert, Board Chair, was interviewed by the RSA review team.
Numerous stakeholders were also interviewed and provided input on SBVI’s policies and practices.

The focus areas for the review included: organizational structure, transition services and fiscal
integrity. This section includes excerpts from the RSA Monitoring Report; the full report is available
upon request and can be viewed on the RSA website at:

Positive Trends
The employment rate for individuals served by SBVI has been consistently high over the last five
years, ranging from 72.3 percent in FY 2011 to 82.3 percent in FY 2008. In FY 2011, SBVI’s
employment rate at 77.3 percent was higher than the 66.8 percent national average for agencies
serving individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

The quality of employment outcomes for SBVI consumers has been consistently high over the last
five years. In FY 2011, the percentage of individuals who were closed with competitive
employment outcomes was 97.4 percent, higher than the national average of 87.4 percent for
agencies serving individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Similarly, 9.6 percent of
employment outcomes were closed in Supported Employment, and this compares favorably to the
3.1 percent national average for agencies serving individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

Additionally, the percent of individuals at SBVI who had competitive employment outcomes and
worked 35 hours or more per week was higher in FY 2011 at 54.8 percent compared to the
national average of 45.3 percent for agencies serving individuals who are blind or visually
impaired. This percentage has been consistently high over the last five years, ranging from 51.7
percent in FY 2010 to 64.7 in FY 2008.

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Vocational Rehabilitation

Summary of RSA Monitoring Review Compliance Findings - RSA’s review resulted in the
identification of compliance findings in the focus areas. The complete findings and the corrective
actions that SBVI is required to implement can be found in the full report. Following are excerpts of
the compliance findings identified by RSA:

   Project Skills third-party cooperative arrangements (TPCAs) - TPCAs with three private non-
    profit community rehabilitation programs called Project Skills are not properly structured with a
    public agency. The TPCAs do not identify SBVI as the VR agency participating in the
   The SD School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (SDSBVI) TPCA funds activities that do not
    constitute the provision of VR services to applicants for, or recipients of, the VR program, and
    SBVI does not conduct monitoring of the SDSBVI TPCA to ensure that grant-supported
    activities comply with applicable federal requirements.
   SBVI has unallowably disbursed VR program income to providers that expend these funds for
    the provision of SE extended services, and SBVI does not disburse program income prior to
    requesting additional cash drawdowns from its federal VR award.
   SBVI has not applied the same policies and procedures the state utilizes for procurements from
    its non-federal funds to the purchase of client services.
   SBVI has submitted inaccurate SF-269 and SF-425 reports related to its indirect costs
    generated from a cost allocation plan, and unreported program income funds earned at the SD
    Rehabilitation Center.
   SBVI’s institution of higher education agreement is designed as a TPCA. However, the
    structure of the agreement does not meet all TPCA requirements and certified expenditures
    received from public colleges would not be allowable as match for the VR program.
   SBVI’s current agreement with the State Educational Agency does not describe procedures for
    the identification of and outreach to students with disabilities needing transition services who
    are not receiving special education services.

SBVI responded to findings from the review with assurances that all findings will be addressed
within specific timelines. A Corrective Action Plan was submitted to RSA with responses for
addressing the findings, target dates for implementation and completion. Many of the findings
were addressed prior to submission of the Corrective Action Plan. Other findings will be addressed
through amending agreements and policies.

All activities related to the monitoring review and corrective action plan will be shared with the
Board of SBVI. The Board will be provided opportunities to advise the division on changes to
policies and procedures in response to RSA findings.

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Independent Living Blind Program

                                             Skills Training
Low vision and blindness have a significant impact on the physical and mental well-being of the
affected individual. Individuals with impaired vision are less able to perform their activities of daily
living, are less mobile, and are more isolated. They may experience higher rates of depression
and report a reduced overall quality of life when compared to their normal-sighted counterparts.
People with visual impairments also are more prone to accidents and falls. Low vision is a well-
documented risk factor for hip fractures resulting from falls among the elderly.


The goal for any person who accesses rehabilitation teaching services is to attain the maximum
functioning with remaining vision, to increase their level of functioning, increase their
independence, and, as a consequence, experience an improvement in their quality of life.
Services provided by rehabilitation teachers are based on the individual’s desires and goals. The
services listed below define the training areas that are provided to individuals who are eligible for
the Independent Living Blind (ILB) Program and the number of individuals who participated in the
service in FY 2012.
   Type of Service and Description                                                     Number of
   Communication Skills – Training in the use of the telephone, handwriting               443
   guides, telling time, reading or writing Braille, etc.
   Daily Living Skills – Training in the use of adaptive aids and assistive               409
   technology for daily living.
   Low Vision Device Training – Services related to the use of optical aids and           365
   Low Vision Aids – May include items such as canes, insulin gauges,                     409
   CCTVs, magnifiers, adaptive cooking items, etc.
   Counseling – Peer, individual, or group counseling to assist with adjustment           373
   to visual impairment and blindness.
   Low Vision Exams – Evaluations to identify strategies and devices for                  350
   enhancing visual performance.
   Advocacy Training – Participation in advocacy training activities such as              254
   consumer organization meetings and peer support groups.
   Referral to Other Agencies – Information and referral to other service                 226
   providers, programs, and agencies.
   Orientation and Mobility – Travel training and learning to access public or            132
   private transportation to travel safely and independently.

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 Independent Living Blind Program

   In FY 2012, the ILB Program provided services to 503 elderly blind individuals compared to
     504 in FY 2011. Staff successfully closed 281 individual cases compared to 279 individuals in
     FY 2011.

   In addition to providing services to older citizens who have moderate to severe vision loss, the
     ILB Program provided services to 23 individuals under the age of 55 who required
     independent-living-skills training due to their vision loss.

   According to the National Eye Institute, age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) affects
     more than 1.75 million individuals in the United States. In South Dakota, ARMD was reported
     as the major cause of vision loss in 363 of the 503 individuals served by the ILB Program. The
     following is a list of functional limitations for types of eye disease:

Type of Eye        Consumer will have difficulties with:
Age-related        Reading regular print, inability to recognize faces, distortion or
Macular            disappearance of central vision, reduced color vision, reduced contrast
Degeneration       perception, walking or balance problems related to loss of depth and color
Diabetic           Tasks requiring fine-detail vision such as reading, distorted central vision,
Retinopathy        fluctuating vision, loss of color perception, walking or balance problems
                   due to loss of depth and color contrast. (In severe cases, total blindness
                   can occur.)
Glaucoma           Walking or balance problems and reading problems due to restricted visual
                   fields as well as people suddenly appearing in the visual field. (In severe
                   cases, total blindness can occur.)
Cataract           Detail vision, bright and changing light levels, reduced color vision,
                   decreased contrast perception, walking or balance problems related to
                   loss of depth and contrast cues. (However, this disease is remedied by
                   lens removal in 90% of cases.)

 Picture example of normal vision and Macular Degeneration

                                                - 13 -
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Independent Living Blind Program

                      Primary Types of Eye Disease for People Served – ILB
Pie chart
Macular Degeneration 363
Glaucoma 40
Diabetic Retinopathy 31
Cataract 5
Other 64

Age Range of ILB Individuals Served in FY2012
Age 55-59 = 12
Age 60-64 = 25
Age 65-69 = 22
Age 70-74 = 40
Age 75-79 = 54
Age 80-84 = 97
Age 85-89 = 131
Age 90-94 = 92
Age 95-99 = 27
Age 100+ = 3

The target population for the ILB Program is individuals over the age of 55; 70% of the 503 people
served in 2012 were over the age of 80 with 3 of them over the age of 100.

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Independent Living Blind Program

                                       Consumer Satisfaction

ILB consumers have the opportunity to provide feedback through a consumer satisfaction survey,
which assists SBVI in understanding if the consumer felt the services were effective in assisting
them to maintain or regain their independence.
Frequently the survey responses include statements expressing gratitude for services and SBVI
staff that provided training. Below are some comments received from consumers’ surveys:

   “I really like the check templates. Loved working with Erin. She was so helpful and patient.”
   “Your resources have been extremely helpful in finding and installing equipment and aids that
    allow me not to depend on others.”
   “Dawn and her office crew printed a lot of my recipes into large print for me. This was a big
    help. Also the lighted magnifying glass was a help for me to read.”
   “The services I received were excellent, above and beyond what I anticipated. Thank you.”
   “Nancy was most understanding and extremely helpful. It was very nice to have her call on
   “Mary M. is so professional, pleasant, and knowledgeable. I appreciate all the help.”
The survey respondents were asked if they would have considered moving into a facility with a
higher level of care without services from the ILB Program. 61 of 171 respondents (36%) stated
that they had considered moving to a facility, but were able to remain in their home because of
services from Rehabilitation Teachers.

                                Independent Living Blind Peer Support

Peer support groups offer a valuable opportunity to talk with others and share common concerns,
frustrations, and stories. A peer support group can be a vital link for an individual who may be
struggling with vision loss. Peer support services to elderly individuals with vision loss are
available through 12 community-based groups across the state. The majority of the peer support
groups are led by volunteers; they meet monthly throughout the year in settings agreed upon by
the members. Speakers may be invited to present on a variety of topics or to share relevant
information about things such as magnification devices. In addition, group members share their
challenges and successes related to aging and vision loss.

Picture of lady playing cards

                                                - 15 -
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Independent Living Blind Program

                                      Solutions for Vision Loss

In the summer of 2011, I received a phone call from Betty who contacted Service to the Blind &
Visually Impaired (SBVI) to inquire about services for her father. Ron has macular degeneration
and had been told by his ophthalmologist that there was no treatment to improve his vision. During
the conversation, Betty mentioned that her mother, Clara, also has macular degeneration and
struggled with some of her daily living tasks. The couple lived in their own home on the family farm
and worried that they may not be able to remain independent.

The following week I traveled to Ron and Clara’s home and began working with them on their low
vision needs. Ron attended a low vision exam where a lamp, handheld magnifier, and Closed
Circuit Television (CCTV) were recommended for him. Ron was able to obtain a CCTV through
the SBVI lease/loan program; with that CCTV he is now able to read the newspaper, complete
word search puzzles, and write his own checks. One of Ron’s biggest goals was to balance his
checkbook on his own; he is now able to do this by using a large print check register and a dark
marking pen. Ron also has a lamp that provides the proper lighting for him and he is now able to
sit and read in his recliner with a handheld magnifier. In addition to vision loss, Ron has a hearing
impairment so I assisted him with requesting an amplified telephone from the Equipment
Distribution Program. With the amplified phone Ron is able to hear conversations and talk with
neighbors and family on the telephone.

Clara also benefits from using the CCTV. This device has allowed her to resume completing the
newspaper’s daily crossword puzzle. Clara is able to continue with her hobby of crocheting by
using a hands-free crafter magnifier. TV glasses allow her to enjoy watching television and the
handheld and stand magnifiers are helpful for Clara to read various items, such as the newspaper
and her mail. I taught Clara how to use bold paper, writing guides, and dark pens in order to write
letters and address envelopes so that she can keep in contact with friends and family.

Both Ron and Clara benefit from tactile markings that I placed on some of their appliances.
Orange bump dots were used to mark the controls on the air conditioner, and I marked the stove,
oven, and microwave with bump dots so that Clara can continue to use these appliances to cook
meals for her and Ron.

Ron and Clara continue to use their devices and low vision techniques to enjoy their retirement
years in their own home. Because of Ron and Clara’s increased confidence in their independent
living skills, their children are now more comfortable with their living situation as well.

                                                                                By: Jennifer Geuther

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Rehabilitation Center for the Blind

                                    Skills of Blindness Training

Picture of blind folded person using computer

The South Dakota Rehabilitation Center for the Blind (SDRC) teaches specialized techniques to
individuals who are blind or visually impaired to rebuild self-confidence and improve their quality of
life. Skills of blindness training assists individuals in overcoming obstacles so they can live
independently and return to work. Training includes independent travel, computers, assistive
technology, cooking, Braille, money identification, communication, and alternative non-sighted
techniques to help individuals meet life’s challenges.

In 2012, the SDRC Skills of Blindness classes served 64 people. The center strives to meet the
needs of each individual and teach the skills of blindness so that students have the best chance at
living independently and obtaining gainful employment. Secondary disabilities often accompanied
students with vision loss; during FFY 2012, 46 students had secondary disabilities such as
diabetes, hearing loss, brain injury, learning disabilities, physical disabilities, cardiovascular
disease, and mental illness.

The Rehabilitation Center for the Blind is the only training center in South Dakota to assist people
with visual impairments. As the only state agency with the specialty and certification in the skills of
blindness, we often train new teachers or counselors hired by Service to the Blind and Visually
Impaired and working in the field offices throughout the state. All new staff must attend training at
SDRC in the skills of blindness. The center works cooperatively with South Dakota State
University to assist with internships and practicums for several students earning their master’s
degrees in rehabilitation counseling. SDRC also provides educational tours to businesses in Sioux
Falls to demonstrate various types of assistive technology and skills of blindness that people with
visual impairments can use to perform work tasks.

       People Served at the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind

                     Services                      FY 2012         FY 2011        FY 2010
        Skills of Blindness                                64            45             33
        Employment Specialists                             38            50             35
        Transition Students                                7             10             10
        Low Vision Clinics                                 99            96             86
        Employment Skills Training                        125           130            126
        Total Served                                      333           331            290

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Rehabilitation Center for the Blind

Rehabilitation    Transition Week July 17-22, 2012

Picture of Transition Week participants

A variety of work experiences were developed to allow seven students attending the SDRC
“Transition Week” an opportunity to try different entry-level work experiences. Transition Week
provided high school students with experiences to help them learn about training provided at the
Rehabilitation Center for the Blind. Activities during the week included real work experiences, job-
seeking skills, and knowledge about workplace etiquette. Job experiences were provided at a
hotel, an equestrian center, and an organization that provides free meals to local citizens.
Students enjoyed the opportunity to try a variety of jobs and learn how to find work related to their
interests, as well as spend time with peers.

                                           Low Vision Clinic
Low vision exams were provided to 99 people at the SDRC low-vision clinic in 2012. Clinics were
held twice a month, and people attended from a 100-mile radius. The 90-minute low-vision
assessment is a thorough eye examination that provides information on the degree of vision loss,
prescriptions for magnifiers, and recommendations for adaptive equipment. In addition, viewing
techniques and training are provided with the recommended devices. Patients who attend the low-
vision clinic are thankful to learn about the variety of devices that can help perform a variety of
tasks with limited vision.

Picture of low vision devices

                              South Dakota Vocational Resources
South Dakota Vocational Resources (the vocational component of SDRC) provides training in
employment skills and job-development services. Employment Skills Training (EST) provides
assessments and training to individuals with disabilities to help them prepare for competitive
employment. In FY 2012, EST served 125 people. The employment specialist provided job-
placement services to 38 individuals in 2012. The employment specialist provides assistance with
résumé development and job-search skills. Other services include setting up situational
assessment opportunities, job coaching and training on interview skills and other job related tasks.

Picture of 2 students using assistive technology equipment at Rehabilitation Center for the Blind.

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Rehabilitation Center for the Blind

Larry, an SDRC graduate, shares his story:
Larry lost his vision suddenly in August 2010 during heart bypass surgery, which stopped blood
flow to his optic nerves; as a result, he awoke after surgery with no vision. He reported it was
“blacker than black.” Larry was referred to SBVI and worked with a rehabilitation counselor. He
came to the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind (SDRC) to attend skills of blindness classes in July
Before losing his vision, Larry used a computer and drove all types of vehicles. Once his vision
was lost, he lost access to his world. Orientation and mobility taught at SDRC added a lot to his
life, allowing him to get around independently. He really enjoyed learning about and using GPS
that is designed to assist people who are blind to navigate independently. He learned non-sighted
techniques to access his computer, using special software and hardware. He learned to use a
digital recorder to record messages, as well as his cell phone to call family, friends, and business
contacts. He continued to learn a variety of skills until September 2011.
Like many people in Larry’s situation, he was somewhat reluctant and “wasn’t excited about going
back to school.” At first, Larry did not know what to think; but after three to four days, Larry’s
attitude changed. He expressed that the instructors were helpful, kind, comforting, and a big
influence to motivate learning. He was at a place where he could learn in a relaxed atmosphere,
have fun with teachers and students, and enjoy himself. Janeen, Larry’s wife, reports she is
thankful the staff allowed her to be involved, as she learned a lot. She appreciated seeing Larry’s
independence increase and his confidence become stronger.
Larry’s goal was to return to selling farm machinery and stay active on his farm. He began
employment skills training in January 2012; he continued learning computer access skills and
tested his ability to return to work until March 23, 2012.
Larry was excited to return home early enough in the season to help around the farm and to get
back into selling farm machinery. He and his wife started an Internet machinery consignment
business, which has grown and is now covering a four-state area. He is in partnership with his two
sons, and together they farm about 6,000 acres of corn, soybeans, and sunflowers. Larry’s
responsibility is to keep farm records regarding what crops are in which fields, type of crop,
chemical usage, and yields per acre. He also figures profits and keeps insurance records.
Last fall Larry was thrilled when he drove the tractor to haul grain in the field from the combine to
the grain hauler. The combine operator told him when to turn so he could drive to the unloading
zone. Larry had no fear and felt happy to be a part of the harvest. His family is amazed with
Larry’s accomplishments in overcoming changes in his life caused by his vision loss. Larry worked
to replace fear and uncertainty about his future by participating in training, resulting in increased
independence and the ability to work as a productive partner in the family business.

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Business Enterprise Program

Picture of BEP vendor by coffee machine
The Business Enterprise Program (BEP) is designed to provide self-employment opportunities for
qualified legally blind individuals. In South Dakota, Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired is
the state licensing agency (SLA). The SLA recruits, trains, and licenses legally blind individuals
interested in and eligible to participate in BEP. There are currently of six vendors in the program.

Through an agreement with the Department of Transportation, the BEP is responsible for vending
at the South Dakota interstate rest areas. Current contracts with vendors for designated rest areas
expire on May 31, 2013. Bids will be sought prior to expiration of the current agreements with
contracts awarded to the vendor who bids to contribute the highest percentage from sales to the
BEP. Current commissions paid to the BEP range from 20% to 60%. Rest area funds assist with
expenses of operating the program such a replacement and repair of equipment and vendor

Following is a breakdown of sales and net profits earned by BEP vendors as a whole in FFY 2012:

Earnings and Expenses                                    2010          2011             2012

1) Gross Sales (total income)                            $535,063      $529,422          $515,430

2) Merchandise Purchases                                 $277,291      $266,135          $272,422

3) Gross Profit                                          $257,722      $263,287          $243,008

4) Total Operating Expenses                              $166,182      $174,040          $158,999

5) Net Proceeds                                          $108,196      $112,655          $104,668

6) Levied Set Aside Funds                                 $15,091        $13,804          $15,026

7) Net Profit to Vendors                                  $93,105        $98,851          $89,642

Vendors experienced a decrease in gross sales for a third year in a row. Gross profit was down
by $20,279; total operating expenses were $15,041 less in 2012 resulting in a net profit to vendors
for FY 2012 of $89,642, $9,209 less than in 2011.
Options to increase sales and contain cost of merchandise will be explored to address the trend of
decreasing sales and net profit to vendors.

The BEP manager continues to work with vocational rehabilitation counselors to identify individuals
interested in BEP food service and vending as a vocational goal.

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Board of Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired

The Board of SBVI is the State Rehabilitation Council for SBVI as defined in the Rehabilitation Act
as amended. Board members provide advice to improve services for South Dakota citizens served
by SBVI. Requirements for composition are defined by the Rehabilitation Act and include a
minimum of 15 members, of whom 50% must be blind or visually impaired*. Members are
appointed by the Governor of South Dakota.

Name                                    Hometown                Representation

Linda Biffert– Chair                    Volga             Disability Advocacy Group
Marilyn Steffen– Vice Chair             Yankton           Business and Industry
Karla Bucknall– Member At Large         Rapid City        Business and Industry
Robert Kean                             Pierre            Client Assistance Program
Gaye Mattke                             Pierre            SBVI Director– Ex Officio
Steve Kelsey                            Aberdeen          VR Counselor– Ex Officio
Angela Boddicker                        Pierre            State Education Agency
Ken Rollman                             Rapid City        Statewide IL Council
Charles Fullenkamp                      Rapid City        Community Rehab Program
Lyle Cook                               Eagle Butte Native American VR
Bill Molseed                            Pierre            Workforce Development Council
Bruce Micheel                           Cavour            Business and Industry
Julie Briggs                            Sioux Falls       Business and Industry
Ed Pinkman                              Aberdeen          Disability Advocacy Group
Joleen Schaffer                         Aberdeen          Parent Connection
Eric Rippentrop                         Dell Rapids Disability Advocacy Group
Daniel Weischedel                       Sturgis           Disability Advocacy Group
Dave Miller– Term Expired               Sioux Falls       Business and Industry
Wesley Scholl– Term Expired             Rapid City        Disability Advocacy Group

* Seven members of the Board have been consumers of services. Nine members are blind or
visually impaired or have a family member who is blind. The experience of Board members brings
insight to improving services and addressing gaps in service delivery.

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Board of Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired

                                          Board Activities

Meetings – The Board meets as often as necessary (determined by the Chairperson in
cooperation with the Director of SBVI), but at least four times per year. Meetings during the report
period were held on the following dates and at the following locations:

December 9, 2011: Pierre, SD
March 23, 2012: Pierre, SD
June 22, 2012: Fort Pierre, SD
September 21, 2012: Sioux Falls, SD

Meetings are open to the public and held at accessible locations. Meetings are announced via the
SBVI website, in the VISIONS newsletter, on the State of South Dakota news website, and through
a variety of publications throughout the state. Meeting dates are determined by the Board;
agendas and minutes are posted on the SBVI website at: http://dhs.sd.gov/sbvi/boardsbvi.aspx

Governor's Awards for Employment of People with Disabilities –The annual Governor's
Awards recognize the efforts of individuals, employers, and organizations for their contributions to
the employment of people with disabilities. This event is a joint effort of the Board of Service to the
Blind and Visually Impaired, the Board of Vocational Rehabilitation, and the Department of Human
Services. A member of the Board of SBVI serves on the committee that reviews nominations and
selects award recipients.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month Activities – The Board of Vocational
Rehabilitation (BVR), the Board of SBVI, and their respective divisions in the Department of
Human Services plan activities in communities across the state to increase awareness of the
capabilities of individuals with disabilities to work. The Board of SBVI voted to contribute to the
events in 2012. A member of the Board of SBVI has been invited to serve on the BVR committee
that approves the activities and funding for the events.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Activities – The Board of SBVI voted unanimously to
support the ADA celebration in Sioux Falls by making a contribution to help defray costs for the
event that celebrated the capabilities of people with disabilities and promoted public awareness of
the ADA.

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Board of Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired

Public Meetings: The Board of SBVI recommends dates, locations, and formats for annual public
meetings to solicit input on services and to discuss service options with current and former
consumers, as well as the public. In 2012, SBVI board members facilitated meetings held on April
5 (videoconference/ teleconference with sites in Aberdeen, Pierre, Rapid City, and Sioux Falls),
April 13 in Rapid City, April 26 in Lower Brule, and September 21 in Sioux Falls. Over 600
individuals were notified by mail of these opportunities to offer input on SBVI services and the
SBVI state plan, and announcements were included in all local papers. Total attendance was over
150 for the four events. A variety of topics were discussed during the meetings including the
     Goals and strategies related to employment, earnings, benefits, and maximizing the
       potential of citizens who are blind;
     The value of the older blind peer support groups;
     The importance of the CCTV lease/loan and Computer Information Access programs;
     The ongoing need for assistive technology and training for past consumers of SBVI
       services; and
     The benefits of mentoring relationships for people who are blind or visually impaired.

                                       Board Committees

Executive Committee – The Executive Committee consists of the Board Chair, Vice Chair and
Member at Large. The Executive Committee plans agendas for Board meetings and handles
decisions between regularly scheduled meetings and other activities assigned by the Board.
Strategic Planning and Policy Development Committee – This committee provides input on
strategic planning and policy development. The committee evaluates state plan updates,
consumer satisfaction surveys, and SBVI policy revisions, and then brings recommendations to the
full Board.
Public Relations Committee – The Public Relations Committee recommends activities to
promote the programs and services offered by SBVI and assists SBVI in designing and conducting
outreach activities.
Assistive Technology Advisory Committee (ATAC) – ATAC is comprised of individuals who are
knowledgeable about the latest innovations in assistive technology. In conjunction with the Board,
ATAC advises SBVI in matters concerning assistive technology for SBVI consumers and staff.

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SBVI Offices

        SBVI State Office                        South Dakota Rehabilitation Center for
        Gaye Mattke, Division Director           the Blind
        3800 E. Hwy 34,                          Dawn Backer, Rehabilitation Manager
        c/o 500 East Capitol                     2900 West 11th Street, Suite 101
        Pierre, SD 57501-5070                    Sioux Falls, SD 57104
        Phone/TTY: (605) 773-4644                Phone/TTY: (605) 367-5260
        Fax: (605) 773-5483                      Fax: (605) 367-5263
        Toll Free: 1-800-265-9684                Toll Free: 1-800-658-5441

        Aberdeen Office                          Rapid City Office
        1707 4th Avenue SE, Suite A              Time Square Plaza,
        Aberdeen, SD 57401                       111-A New York Street
        Phone/TTY: (605) 626-2395/626-2398       Rapid City, SD 57701-1196
        Fax: (605) 626-3089                      Phone/TTY: (605) 394-2253 / 394-2261
        Toll Free: 1-800-439-3417                FAX: (605) 394-1824
                                                 Toll Free: 1-800-439-8861

        Sioux Falls Office                       Pierre Office
        811 East 10 Street, Dept 22              912 E Sioux Ave
        Sioux Falls, SD 57103-1650               C/O 500 E Capitol
        Phone/TTY: (605) 367-5330/367-5323       Pierre, SD 57501-5070
        Fax: (605) 367-5327                      Phone/TTY: (605) 773-3318 / 773-3318
        Toll Free: 1-800-265-9679                Fax: (605) 773-5390
                                                 Toll Free: 1-877-873-8500

       To find the office that serves your county, go to: http://dhs.sd.gov/sbvi/county.aspx

                                           SBVI Logo

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                                       State seal

         The SBVI Board Annual Report may be accessed electronically at:

Contact the SBVI state office to request additional copies or alternative formats of this

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