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for the Blind

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Blindness: Learning in New Dimensions, Inc. - AFB Directory Profile

General Information

Blindness: Learning in New Dimensions, Inc.
100 East 22nd Street
Minneapolis, MN 55404-2514
(612) 872-0100 (Local)
(612) 872-9358 (Fax)
info@blindinc.org
http://www.blindinc.org

Brief Description

BLIND, Inc. is a new style rehabilitation and training center for the blind. It is based on the idea that blind people are the equals of sighted people, can run their own lives, and can compete successfully in employment. We practice what we preach; for that reason, most of our staff members are blind, and the sighted ones are trained using blindfolds so they can think and function nonvisually. Unlike many other programs, BLIND, Inc. has a career center that helps students decide on careers and prepares them to find and interview for jobs. Over 85% of our graduates go into employment or higher education, and from there to employment. We go on fun recreational activities that build self-confidence and self-esteem. If you want training in a place that genuinely believes in blind people and treats them as equals rather than as children, you will love BLIND, Inc.

Hours of operation: Mon.-Fri. 8:00 AM-4:30 PM.
Clients served on average per year: 90
Number of staff: 15
Staff description: The majority of our staff are blind. All instructional staff are certified. They teach using the Structured Discovery Method.
Geographic area served: Minnesota, U.S., International
Publications: See website www.blindinc.org. We are also on Facebook and Twitter.

Staff

Anya Avramenko, English Language Learning Assistant Instructor, aavramenko@blindinc.org
Becky Bergman, Home Management & Independent Living Instructor, bbergmann@blindinc.org
David Brown, Technology Assistant, dbrown@blindinc.org
Dick Davis, Project Coordinator, (800) 597-9558, ddavis@blindinc.org
Brian Dulude, Assistant Director, bdulude@blindinc.org
Chelsey Duranleau, Braille & Assistive Technology Instructor / Webmaster, cduranleau@blindinc.org
Mark Erickson, Travel Instructor, merickson@blindinc.org
James Gagnier, Network Administrator, jgagnier@blindinc.org
Quinn Haberl, Travel Instructor, qhaberl@blindinc.org
Martha Harris, Braille & Assistive Technology Instructor, mharris@blindinc.org
Rob Hobson, Coordinator for Professional-Development and Outreach, rhobson@blindinc.org
Chase Holladay, Industrial Arts Instructor, cholladay@blindinc.org
Kotumu Kamara, English Language Learning Instructor, kkamara@blindinc.org
ShaQuantaey (Taey) Mack, Residential Manager/Home Management & Independent Living Instructor, tmack@blindinc.org
Briley O’Connor, Senior Services Instructor, boconor@blindinc.org
Sidonia Starnes, Secretary, sstarnes@blindinc.org
David Starnes, Facilities Manager, dstarnes@blindinc.org
Dan Wenzel, Executive Director, dwenzel@blindinc.org
Jennifer Wenzel, Admissions Coordinator, jwenzel@blindinc.org

Services Offered

Services for Adults

  • Assessment
    • Assesses client's skill levels and readiness for employment.
  • Computer Training/Assistive Technology
    • Many people believe that you cannot use a computer if you cannot see the monitor, but this just is not true. We teach our students to use screen-reading software that speaks the information that is printed on the screen. When a blind person knows how to use this software, she/he can use Microsoft Windows and any Windows-based application including: Internet Explorer, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and many more. For those who use Apple products, including Mac computers, iPads and iPhones, we teach our students to use VoiceOver, a built-in screen reader, along with popular applications, including: Numbers, Safari, Pages and Keynote. We teach our students how to use screen readers, refreshable Braille displays, Braille notetakers, accessible PDAs, and other access technology. While our students learn how to use the popular devices and applications listed above, our main objective is to teach our students how to teach themselves. Technology is always changing and new applications are constantly being developed. We want to produce graduates who can cope with this change. We teach people the fundamental concepts underlying what they are doing so that they can use this information to reason their way out of problems and figure out the new software they will encounter in the future.
  • Counseling
    • Offers support in adjustment to blindness, advocacy training, and advocacy on individual basis.
  • Daily Living Skills/Independent Living Skills Training
    • Provides full-time comprehensive classroom and residential training in braille, cane travel, home management, life skills, industrial arts, and computer skills. Speaking specifically of home management services: Home and Personal Management teaches the alternative techniques that allow blind people to become effective and efficient household managers. We teach our students how to perform these and all the tasks necessary to sustain themselves and their families and properly manage their homes. We teach the alternative techniques that blind people use to measure ingredients, label and set ovens, determine doneness and freshness of food, fry and grill food, hand sew and use a sewing machine, operate small and large kitchen appliances, do all types of cleaning, label clothes and do laundry, and much more.
  • Employment/Job Training
    • Offers classes emphasizing use of technology and other basic employment skills and instruction in specific systems, software and procedures used by employer partners. Speaking specifically about Industrial Arts: Industrial Arts builds self-confidence, teaches practical manual skills, enhances creativity, and fosters the development of problem solving skills. When students conquer their fears of working around machinery and come to realize that they can design and make anything they want, their self-confidence grows in leaps and bounds. In addition, the projects they make serve as a tangible example to themselves and others of their competence and their ability to meet the challenges of life. In addition, by doing common home repairs around the center building, they learn the practical skills needed for home maintenance. A limited number also choose to go into manual occupations as a result of their industrial arts experience.
  • Information and Referral
    • Provides information on blindness and referral to appropriate resources.
  • Reading Services
    • Some people think that Braille is slow and difficult to learn, but with instruction and concentrated practice, Braille can become an effective and efficient communication tool. Students as young as 9 years old and older than 80 years of age have learned to read and write Braille in our program and gone on to use Braille to enhance their personal and professional independence. That is why teaching Braille is an important part of our curriculum and the use of Braille is integrated into all of our classes. Statistics show that ninety-three percent of employed blind people read and write Braille. Braille has a wide range of practical uses for blind people. Braille can be used to read books, documents, or recipes. Braille can be used to label groceries, clothing, video tapes, file folders, and much more. Braille can be used to take notes or write down phone numbers and addresses. We also provide radio reading services through Newsline for the Blind.
  • Recreation Services
    • Operates summer camp.
  • Travel/Orientation and Mobility
    • Offers instruction in cane travel for adults and seniors. Cane Travel Class allows students to develop the skills and self-confidence they need to travel independently anywhere they need to go. Some people think that blind people can only get to where they need to be by following a set route that they have memorized in great detail. Some people think that blind people cannot use public transportation or find their way around unfamiliar places. Some people believe that blind people should not go places by themselves at all. However, at BLIND, Incorporated, we know that these notions just do not hold up. We teach our students to use a long white cane to travel safely and freely to wherever they wish to go. Our travel lessons are very functional. Students learn to travel by accomplishing the daily tasks that everyone needs to accomplish such as going to the bank, post office, grocery store, pharmacy, hardware store, etc. They learn to use the address system to locate businesses, they learn to use the transit information line to plan their trip, and they learn to use customer assistance to shop for what they need. As students develop their skills and become more comfortable with those skills, they begin going out on solo lessons. They start by taking short walks around the neighborhood and gradually work their way up to more advanced assignments. This allows students to think independently and develop their problem solving skills. They learn that they do not need to wait around for someone to take them somewhere, they can get there themselves.

Services for Children

  • Assessment
    • Assesses client's skill levels and readiness for employment.
  • Braille and Reading Instruction
    • Offers 12 group sessions in which people over 55 learn braille.
  • Employment/Job Training
    • Offers the Post-secondary Readiness & Empowerment Program (PREP), which allows teenagers to learn the skills they need to keep up with their peers and prepares them to attend college or join the workforce.
  • Summer/Day Camps and After-school Programs
    • The Buddy Program, a 4-week summer camp for children ages 9-13, offers an opportunity for blind children to make friends and have fun in a comfortable and secure setting as well as to learn and practice alternative techniques.

      Life 101 is two programs:

      • Summer College and Employment Readiness Training Program for Blind High School and College Students
      • "Life 101" College and Employment Readiness program, an eight-to-ten-week training program, prepares college- and employment-bound high school and college students who are blind with skills and information to promote academic, employment, and social success during post-secondary education.
  • Support for Parents
    • Provides assistance to parents of blind children.

Services for Professionals

  • Professional Training
    • Offers 6 weeks of adjustment-to-blindness training for professionals working in the field of blindness.
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