[nabs-l] The Carroll Center for the Blind

Rania Ismail CMT raniaismail04 at gmail.com
Sun Aug 14 23:14:20 UTC 2011

Bism was a good center as well.

-----Original Message-----
From: nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf
Of Arielle Silverman
Sent: Sunday, August 14, 2011 6:16 PM
To: National Association of Blind Students mailing list
Subject: Re: [nabs-l] The Carroll Center for the Blind

Hi all,
When deciding which training center to go to, there are lots of
factors to consider. Training centers differ in what skills they teach
and how they teach them (i.e. with or without sleepshades) and it's
important to evaluate their teaching philosophies to determine which
one is best for you. However, there's another dimension that sometimes
gets missed and that's the "feel" of the center-and in particular how
the staff feel about their students and their jobs. This is one area
where I think NFB likely beats them all. I went through the adult
program at LCB and I've talked to lots of students and staff at CCB
and BLIND, Inc. and it's clear that with few exceptions, the staff at
all three of our centers (1) love their jobs and (2) actually care
about their students. These things seem obvious, but you'd be
surprised. When I was growing up I went to a local day summer program
for blind kids. This wasn't a center per se, but they had lots of
social activities for the kids and attempted to teach some skills,
like assistive tech. Anyway, I remember overhearing staff members at
this program talking to each other about how they couldn't wait for
the program to end or to get time off. Staff were often irritable and
got frustrated with kids who cried or got upset or kids with
intellectual disabilities who took longer to catch on. Furthermore, it
was made clear the adults were in charge and attempts by kids to
mentor other kids were discouraged. I liked the program because of all
the friends I made there, but the attitudes of the staff always got to
me. I was quickly impressed when I got to LCB, and even before that
when I worked one of the kids' science camps at the Jernigan
Institute, by how patient and loving and dedicated our teachers are. I
recall one of the LCB instructors waiting a half-hour past closing
time for a student to find her way to the classroom door on her own.
This is an easy task for many of us, but for someone who has always
been guided without a cane it can be very challenging. The teacher
could have just guided her to speed things up or yelled at her for not
being independent enough, which is probably what would have happened
at my old summer camp, but he didn't. He was willing to spend the
extra time so a student could learn a new skill and gain confidence.
It is clear the instructors at the centers are not just working there
for a paycheck. Many of them will talk freely and sincerely about how
much they enjoy their jobs, but it is also apparent in their demeanor
and actions. Even though I graduated from LCB in 2008, my instructors
still come up and hug me and ask how I've been when I see them at
convention or Washington Seminar, and they do so for other students as
well. I think this kind of affection and genuine caring is really
important. It helps students trust their teachers and be willing to
take on challenging assignments, and it helps the teachers trust their
students enough to give them those challenges. I think the warmth,
positivity, and belief our instructors have in their students is the
real ingredient that makes our centers so exceptional-even more so
than the curriculum.

On 8/14/11, David Dodge <daviddod at buffalo.edu> wrote:
> Chris,
> I have visited the Louisiana Center before and know several people that
> gone there. Generally, they describe it as one of the most extraordinary
> experiences.
> When I visited the staff was very kind and full of information. They are
> proud of what they do there.
> David
> ----------------------------------
> David Dodge
> Doctoral Degree Granting Institutions Rep.
> State University of New York Student Assembly
> English Major
> University at Buffalo
> 306 Clemens Hall
> Buffalo, NY 14260
> daviddod at buffalo.edu
> On Sun, Aug 14, 2011 at 10:50 AM, chris nusbaum
> <dotkid.nusbaum at gmail.com>wrote:
>> Hi everyone,
>> This is an interesting discussion, and one which I was planning to
>> start in the near future. I agree with Peter's sentiments about
>> attending an NFB training center (although I wouldn't recommend
>> BISM... well, maybe they've changed as their leadership has changed,
>> from Loretta White to Amy Phelps) and I'm planning to attend a center
>> next summer. I'm trying to decide which I will go to, Minnesota,
>> Louissianna, or Colorado. So, I'd like to know what all of you thought
>> were the pros and cons of each program. What did you like about each
>> program, and what did you not like about it? What are the differences
>> in the programs, as they're all NFB training centers? I'll most likely
>> be going to the middle or high school program, I don't know which. I'm
>> going into 8th grade at the end of this month, so will be going into
>> 9th next August. So, which center would you recommend? Thanks!
>> Chris
>> On 8/14/11, Peter Donahue <pdonahue2 at satx.rr.com> wrote:
>> > Hello Justin and everyone,
>> >
>> >     For the reasons you point out below I wouldn't mess with the
>> > Center under any circumstances. I'm originally from Massachusetts and
>> > saw
>> > the same kind of results you mentioned from students who went there.
>> > What
>> > can you expect from an agency whose founder viewed blindness as a
>> "Dying."
>> > If you want good blindness training go to an NFB center. Get what you
>> need
>> > once and it will last you a life time.
>> >
>> > Peter Donahue
>> >
>> >
>> > ----- Original Message -----
>> > From: "Salisbury, Justin Mark" <SALISBURYJ08 at students.ecu.edu>
>> > To: <nabs-l at nfbnet.org>
>> > Sent: Saturday, August 13, 2011 8:57 PM
>> > Subject: [nabs-l] The Carroll Center for the Blind
>> >
>> >
>> > I attended the Carroll Center for the Blind for two consecutive summers
>> with
>> > Justin Young, and I would like to give my personal take on it.
>> >
>> > Justin and I had this joke where we started the Justin Corporation, an
>> > underground mafia meat market.  It was an amazing social experience
>> all
>> > of the other students involved.  If only considering the social
>> > frontier,
>> I
>> > highly recommend it.
>> >
>> > I attended the Youth in Transition (YIT) program in 2006 and then the
>> Real
>> > World Work Experience (RWWE) in 2007.  I valued every bit of the
>> experience
>> > both years, but I want to first make clear a fundamental disagreement
>> that I
>> > now have with the training that I received.  I lost my vision in 2005,
>> > so
>> I
>> > was newly blinded when I went to the Carroll Center.  They taught me to
>> use
>> > my remaining vision as much as possible and taught me ways to use my
>> > remaining vision.  I wish that they had taught me how to do everything
>> > non-visually.  I wish that they had occluded (blindfolded) me during
>> > lessons and other lessons in general.  I learned a lot of great things,
>> but
>> > blindness skills should be about knowing how to do things non-visually.
>>  I
>> > am now planning to attend an NFB training center (Louisiana Center for
>> the
>> > Blind, Blind, Inc, or Colorado Center for the Blind), where I will
>> all
>> > of the skills I need non-visually.  Also understand that I have a
>> > visual field and acuity.
>> >
>> > I am much better off having gone to the Carroll Center than I was
>> I
>> > went there, but it wasn't the best possible program that I could have
>> > chosen.
>> >
>> > In the Youth in Transition program, they worked with us on our
>> > confidence
>> > and social skills.  They taught us some basic cooking skills, how to do
>> > laundry, a lot of O&M, housekeeping skills, how to use low vision
>> devices,
>> > and they had a class called "personal management," where they taught us
>> > about shaving, tying a tie, sewing a button, and things like that.  If
>> > we
>> > already knew how to do something, they would watch us do it and suggest
>> > modifications in technique if necessary.  They also had a class called
>> > adaptive technology, where they introduced me to ZoomText and other
>> students
>> > with less vision than me to Jaws.  We had a lot of great group
>> > activities
>> > and social opportunities that I will remember for a long time.  We also
>> saw
>> > a counselor while we were there on a weekly basis to make sure that we
>> were
>> > adjusting well to the environment.  Another activity, called "people
>> talk,"
>> > was a time that we all gathered to talk about certain issues that often
>> led
>> > to self-awareness and confidence building.
>> >
>> > In the Real World Work Experience program, we were evaluated on our
>> skills
>> > for a week and prepared for a month of work.  Once we started work, we
>> > worked for three days per week in volunteer positions, and we were paid
>> by
>> > the Carroll Center.  The other two days were used for field trips and
>> > training days.  Again, it was an amazing experience.  Different
>> > were placed in different positions in the Boston area.  We were
>> responsible
>> > for using public transportation to get to and from our work sites.  We
>> had
>> > two job coaches in charge of about 10 or 12 students in the program, so
>> they
>> > weren't with us all the time.  They were sighted people who watched us
>> > at
>> a
>> > distance while we were in the environment.
>> >
>> > At the beginning of the RWWE program, I met a few adults who were at
>> end
>> > of their adult program, which runs during the regular school year.
>> > spoke well of their program, but they told me that there wasn't an
>> > aggressive Braille standard that they had to meet in their program.
>> > They
>> > studied it a little bit, but they didn't become what an NFB training
>> center
>> > would push them to become.  Also, students at the Carroll Center live
>> a
>> > dorm and eat at a dining hall, which gives them a comfortable crutch,
>> > but
>> it
>> > does not push them to really be independent.  When you walk into the
>> dining
>> > hall, you are expected to put your cane in a docking station and
>> > navigate
>> > the dining hall without it by walking in either a clockwise or
>> > counter-clockwise direction.
>> >
>> > The Carroll Center is a good training center with good people in it,
>> it
>> > is not the very best option available.
>> >
>> > I'd be happy to answer specific questions on- or off-list.
>> >
>> > Justin
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > Justin M. Salisbury
>> > Undergraduate Student
>> > The University Honors Program
>> > East Carolina University
>> > salisburyj08 at students.ecu.edu
>> >
>> > "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can
>> change
>> > the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."    -MARGARET
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > _______________________________________________
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>> --
>> Chris Nusbaum
>> Sales and Advertising Coordinator
>> Arianna's Art Inc. Paintings for the Blind and Sighted!!!
>> Like us on Facebook! Search for Arianna Lipka Art for the Blind!
>> Visit the I C.A.N. Foundation online at: www.icanfoundation.info for
>> information on our foundation and how it helps blind and visually
>> impaired children in MD say "I can!"
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