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Braille Institute of America, Inc. - AFB Directory Profile

General Information

Braille Institute of America, Inc.
741 North Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90029
(323) 663-1111 (Local)
(323) 663-0867 (Fax)
(800) 272-4553 (Toll-Free)

Brief Description

Braille Institute is committed to eliminating blindness as a barrier to fulfilling life. We offer programs to families of infants, and young children, as well as a youth program and on adult educational programs.

Hours of operation: Mon.-Fri. 8:30 AM-5:00 PM.
Clients served on average per year: 75,000
Number of staff: 310
Geographic area served: Southern California.
Publications: Special Collections (catalog of free brailled children's fiction), Scene (quarterly newsletter), Light (annual report), Librarian (quarterly newsletter for library patrons), and Solutions in Sight (newsletter for prospective clients).


Rancho Mirage Center
70-251 Ramon Road
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270

Anaheim Center
527 North Dale Avenue
Anaheim, CA 92801-4820

San Diego Center
4555 Executive Drive
San Diego, CA 92121

Santa Barbara Center
2031 De La Vina
Santa Barbara, CA 93105

Laguna Hills Neighborhood Center
24411 Ridge Route Drive, Suite 110
Laguna Hills, CA 92653

Los Angeles Center
741 N. Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90029


David Burkhardt, Vice President, Development,
Gloria Coulston, Executive Director, Anaheim, (714) 821-5000,
Jay Hatfield, Executive Director, San Diego Center, (858) 452-1111,
Lisa Jimenez, Executive Director, Rancho Mirage, (760) 321-1111,
Michael Lazarovits, Executive Director, Santa Barbara, (805) 682-6222,
Gene Mathiowetz, Vice President Regional Programs, (714) 821-5000,
Peter Mindnich, President,
Nancy Niebrugge, Assistant Vice President, Programs and Services,
Anita Wright, Executive Director, Los Angeles Center,

Services Offered

Services for Adults

  • Assistive Products
    • Sells adaptive devices, talking watches, cooking utensils, large-print items. Products for sale on site at the Vistas store in Los Angeles and through catalog.
  • Braille/Electronic/Audio/Large Print Production
    • Produces free braille books and reading kits for Special Collections, braille literature for ages 0-18.
  • Community Outreach Programs
    • Conducts community outreach programs in English and in Spanish (El Poder Sin Ver or Ability without Sight)in more than 200 locations throughout southern California.
  • Computer Training/Assistive Technology
    • Offers mainstream and assistive technology training, demonstrations and seminars. Visit Connection Pointe and see all the newest in technology and how to use it.
  • Counseling
    • Provides short term counseling as it relates to issues of adjusting to vision loss and referrals to mental health professional for long term counseling. We also offer family and peer support groups.
  • Daily Living Skills/Independent Living Skills Training
    • Provides training in independent living skills on site an in outreach settings. Core skills such as kitchen confidence, home management, personal management, sensory awareness, independent living skills, orientation and mobility are offered every day of the week in English and Spanish.
  • In-Home Services
    • Our Orientation and Mobility staff come to your home to provide training on how to get around your residence, neighborhood and town. Our Independent Living Skills and Technology Instructors come to your home to provide training for living independently and using assistive technology. In Home Counseling is also provided by our staff.
  • Information and Referral
    • If you are a participant of our services, we refer you to other agencies for a myriad of services. Also, you can call our toll free number 1-800-BRAILLE (272-4553) to receive local and national referrals.
  • Library Services
    • Operates the NLS regional library for Southern California to provide braille, audio books and digital books and downloads to blind and physically handicapped persons. Offers volunteer reading and tape recording services.
  • Low Vision Services
    • People who are visually impaired or blind, but have light perception, are provided demonstrations of magnifiers, lighting and non-optical devices that could assist them with the use of their remaining vision in completing daily tasks. We also provide internal and external referrals for related services.
  • Reading Services
    • Our volunteer program in Los Angeles provides reader services. People who cannot read their mail or other items can make an appointment and a volunteer will read these items to them. We also have the Telephone reader program through the Library in which newspapers and other items are read daily and library patrons can call in and listen to the latest information.
  • Recreation Services
    • Offers summer experiences for youth and teens (swimming, sports, arts and crafts, physical education, and music activities).
  • Support Groups
    • Some of our five regional centers offer peer and family support groups. We also have parent groups that meet quarterly for the child development program.
  • Travel/Orientation and Mobility
    • Provides orientation and mobility training in and around your residence, in your neighborhood and around town. Learn how to use local public transportation as well.

Services for Children

  • Assessment
    • Our Child Development program provides assistance to parents in understanding how their child's visual impairment may affect their child's overall development. We work as a team with your child's medical and educational specialists to help you identify how your child may be using their residual vision in play, as well as ways to adapt your child's play environment to support their development.
  • Braille and Reading Instruction
    • Our Special Collection is children's literature titles in print and braille. Dots for Tots is a multi-sensory kit designed for children age 2-6 years old. Each kit includes a popular picture book with braille overlays, a descriptive audio tape of the story, and a toy representing a character or concept in the story. TacTales are unique multisensory kits for beginning readers. They contain a high quality children's book in large print and contracted braille, a descriptive audiotape, a toy or manipulative related to the story and a series of tactile illustrations that show the evolution of the drawing one shape at a time. We also offer Children's Classics, selected titles from our collection of more than 1,850 childrens books, both classic and contemporary, that apppeal to children of all ages and interests. We are home to the National Braille Challenge, a unique competition of 1st through 12th grade students who compete in braille reading and writing skills their local regional level. The finalists of the regional competition come to the National Finals, held here in Los Angeles each year to compete with their age and grade peers. Please visit Braille Challenge, listed in this directory for more information.
  • Community Outreach Programs
    • We offer parent groups and workshops in southern California. Please contact our office for specific dates and locations.
  • Daily Living Skills/Independent Living Skills Training
    • Our Child Development and Youth Services programs are committed to encouraging age appropriate independence in young children with visual impairments. Programs offered incorporate daily living skills with special emphasis on developing social skills.
  • Early Intervention/Infant Services
    • We provide early intervention services for families of children under the age of three, inclusion support to community-based infant/toddler programs, preschools and collaborative services with local school districts.
  • Education Services
    • Youth and teen after school programs include independent living skills, socio-recreational skills and pre-vocational skill services.
  • Information and Referral
    • We provide referrals to external entities that can assist parents and their children.
  • Library Services
    • The National Library service is housed with Braille Institute. All participants are eligible to use these services.
  • Preschool Programs
    • We offer collaborative support for parents seeking a community-based program for their child's preschool experience. This service includes assisting the preschool staff with classroom adaptations and general inclusion support.
  • Recreation Services
    • Youth and Career Services Programs offers a variety of activities that support the independence and overall development of school- age children and young adults.
  • Summer/Day Camps and After-school Programs
    • Youth and Teen Program offers a variety of activities emphasize independence and enhancing the student's overall development.
  • Support for Parents
    • Child Development services offered in our direct service area include home visits, collaboration with other service providers, and referrals to community resources.
  • Support Groups
    • We offer parent groups during the school year, in our areas of direct service designed to provide parents opportunities to share concerns and successes. Please contact our office for specific dates and locations.

Services for Professionals

  • Professional Training
    • Offers internship and fieldwork for college students, in-service training programs and seminars for professionals in allied fields.
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