Since its inception in 1974, the Nebraska Center for the Blind has been transforming the lives of blind Nebraskans, helping them to be productive, contributing members of society. Students not only learn the skills necessary for independence and employment, but they also learn the importance of accepting challenges, setting goals, holding high expectations, and having a true understanding of blindness. Classes at the Center include instruction in Cane Travel, Braille, Home Management, Computers, and Woodshop.
The Center uses a method of training called Structured Discovery. This method of instruction has become nationally recognized as one of the most effective models for providing rehabilitation training, and is now being adopted by other Centers for the blind around the country. Read the Article Understanding Structured Discovery for an explanation of this teaching methodology.
- In Braille class, students learn to read and write effectively using the Braille code making it possible for them to access books and other written materials. Using the Braille code, students take notes, label items, organize appointments and schedules, and maintain records and files. They can also use the Braille code to use iOS devices like the iPhone and assistive devices for the blind.
- In Home Management, students learn how to select recipes, plan meals, shop for groceries, and label and organize food and household items. Students develop alternative techniques for cooking, cleaning, and crafts, and they learn skills such as budgeting, using a talking calculator, handwriting, and other activities of daily living.
- In Computers, students learn to use the keyboard non-visually to navigate programs without using a mouse. Using alternatives, students gain experience with word processing, spreadsheets, e-mail, and social media. They learn to use adaptive software promoting maximum productivity and efficiency on the job.
- In Woodshop, students learn alternative skills for operating power tools and equipment found in a typical woodworking shop. Non-visual techniques are used to design and build a project. Students also work on essential home maintenance and repairs. Woodshop helps students understand that blindness need not be a barrier to learning new skills.
- In Travel, students learn to navigate safely and independently using the long white cane and environmental information and cues to go wherever they want. Students learn how to cross busy streets, access public transportation, locate addresses, and solve problems along the way.
During Center training, students live in separate apartments in downtown Lincoln, providing opportunities for incorporating the non-visual skills they’ve learned into everyday life.
In addition to skills training, students participate in weekly seminars promoting a more positive understanding of blindness and self-awareness. Seminars focused on blindness raise personal expectations and self-confidence in preparation for later employment and full participation in community life. Students also explore possible career choices, learn how to write resumes and cover letters, and practice and refine their interviewing and employment-related skills.
Greater use of community resources is fostered through participation in a wide range of activities within the community to demonstrate that the world is accessible to blind people. Activities provide opportunities to plan events, interact with the public, and pursue a variety of exciting challenges. Students are pushed beyond their comfort zone, educating themselves and the general public about the true abilities of blind people.
QUOTES from past students:
- "My Center training has given me the confidence to fulfill my dreams and live my life to the fullest.” Staci Cloyd
- “Center training helped me learn the foundational skills for using the computer nonvisually. It provided me with problem-solving skills and techniques to learn new technologies.” Wes Majerus
To learn more about our program, please call the Nebraska Commission for the Blind at (877) 809-2419. You can contact Greg DeWall, Center Supervisor, at (402) 440-4915, or you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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