This is wonderful news for those that have visual impairments in Portland. Great place to learn skills, coping methods and take part in your ability to accomplish tasks on your own.- MDA
by:  Colin Ellis
PORTLAND — The city may soon be home to the only training and rehabilitation center for the visually impaired north of Newton, Mass., after the Iris Network received a $1.1 million grant from the federal government.

The funding was secured by the state Department of Labor’s Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

The new immersion facility, which will be called the Vision Rehabilitation and Vocational Training Center, will be built at Iris’s existing location in the William J. Ryan Building at 189 Park Ave. The division is part of the state Bureau of Rehabilitation Services.
James Phipps, Iris Network executive director, said the current service delivery model is one-on-one, and the staff drives more than 175,000 miles a year to see patients all around Maine.
He said building the immersion facility will instead bring small groups of clients to Portland.
“It’s certainly possible to provide a comprehensive vision rehabilitation program on an itinerant model, but it takes a lot of staff time to deliver those one-on-one services, especially in a very rural state like Maine,” Phipps said.
He said an added benefit of the “immersion model” is the economics, because there is no staff travel time, and one person can work with a group.
“But the benefits to the clients are significant because they move through the vision rehabilitation process much more quickly if they receive six or seven hours a day of intensive training for a number of weeks at a time,” Phipps said….more:
Source: The Forecaster