[nabs-l] The Carroll Center for the Blind

Anjelina anjelinac26 at gmail.com
Tue Aug 16 00:44:38 UTC 2011

Hi Liz,
I'm glad you mentioned this aspect of blindness skills training. I have a few friends who have struggled with figuring out how to balance when to use alternative techniques, and when using remaining vision may be more suitable. Vision is a hardwired sense, and I doubt it's always easy to just not use what one has. Does anyone know if NFB philosophy-based centered have addressed this issue?

Sent from my iPhone

On Aug 15, 2011, at 6:57 PM, Liz Bottner <liziswhatis at hotmail.com> wrote:

> Hi all,
>    Personally, my view is that if you have some remaining vision, you
> should be taught how to effectively use that (visual efficiency) as well as
> nonvisual techniques so that you have both tools in your toolbox. There may
> be times when using your remaining vision for a task is preferred and
> totally fine, and yet others where employing a nonvisual technique is more
> feasible. My concern is that NFB centers do not focus on teaching those with
> low vision how to use their remaining vision effectively alongside nonvisual
> techniques. If I am wrong in this assertion, someone please feel free to set
> me straight. I realize and completely agree that the value of sleep shades
> to a person with low vision is of crucial importance because it builds
> confidence and instills the idea that vision isn't everything, but as I said
> earlier, if someone has usable vision, they should be encouraged to use it
> if it will end up helping them. 
> Just my view, for what it's worth.
> Take care.
> Liz Bottner
> Guiding Eyes Graduate Council
> GEB Voicemail:  800-942-0149 Ext. 2531
> e-mail: 
> liziswhatis at hotmail.com 
> Visit my LiveJournal: 
> http://unsilenceddream.livejournal.com 
> Follow me on Twitter: 
> http://twitter.com/lizbot 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf
> Of Salisbury, Justin Mark
> Sent: Saturday, August 13, 2011 8:58 PM
> To: nabs-l at nfbnet.org
> 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 with 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 O&M
> 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 learn all
> of the skills I need non-visually.  Also understand that I have a stable
> visual field and acuity.
> I am much better off having gone to the Carroll Center than I was before 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 students
> 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 the end
> of their adult program, which runs during the regular school year.  They
> 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 in 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, but 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 MEAD
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