White Cane User Sitting on Park Bench



The foundation of a healthy personal adjustment to blindness is comprehensive training and counseling provided on an individualized basis. Drawing from the comprehensive array of life skills services offered at WSB, a personalized training schedule is designed to ensure each person achieves a well-rounded and healthy personal adjustment to visual disability.

Our philosophy maintains that effective and total rehabilitation can only be achieved in the therapeutic, multi-disciplinary environment of a comprehensive residential rehabilitation center.

Comprehensive Life Skills Services

  • Techniques of Daily Living
  • Assistive Technology
  • Basic Communication/Adult Education
  • Braille
  • Low Vision
  • Keyboarding
  • Orientation & Mobility
  • IT Fundamentals

Techniques of Daily Living
Techniques of Daily Living (TDL) is a rehabilitation-style course designed to acquaint clients with the ins and outs of daily life, such as identifying different types of household items, food and clothing, and learning to use them effectively and efficiently. Clients will complete a variety of tasks that will impart essential skills like setting a table, laundry, hanging and folding clothes, ironing, sewing, making a bed, organizing a dresser drawer, sweeping and mopping.  In the kitchen, clients will learn to wash dishes, use different kitchen appliances, center a pot on the cooktop and in the oven, apply seasonings to food, chop vegetables and much more.

Each client at WSB must complete the TDL course. The amount of time a client spends in the course depends upon their performance. Clients must pass a proficiency test in this area before they are allowed to enter another subject area for the class period.

Assistive Technology
The Assistive Technology (AT) pre-vocational program requires new clients to undergo an evaluation in which an AT instructor works with the client to assess their current abilities with handling and using technology. The client must demonstrate basic skills using his/her preferred assistive technology to complete basic tasks with Microsoft Office 2013 and Internet navigation with focus on talking about the vocational programs offered by WSB. WSB’s career training programs have specific AT requirements as well as deadlines in order for clients to be accepted into them.

Clients who attend WSB for life skills training are allowed to attend AT classes to get help with devices such as iPhones, computers and Dolphin Guide, or simply to learn how to send emails. The goal of AT class is to build the clients’ knowledge of basic technology, and how to make technology not only accessible, but to encourage WSB clientele to use technology to become more self-sufficient in a wide array of areas throughout their daily lives.

Basic Communication & Adult Education
In Basic Communication, clients must demonstrate capabilities that are, for the most part, used on a daily basis in society. Clients are introduced to or reacquainted with how to make calls, using both land- line and cellular telephones; how to set an alarm; composing notes or producing signatures for sighted people when required; what the different identifiers are on currency and how to properly identify them in the proper setting; the difference between a debit and credit card and how to use each; how to access and/or set up a bank account; and many more life skills.

A written summary of an article is asked of the client in order to gauge their reading comprehension, grammar, spelling, punctuation and word usage skills. If a written summary is not possible, an oral summary will suffice. Basic Communication intends to prepare WSB clients for daily life interactions in public as well as provide them with the skills and abilities they need to gain more independence.

Only clients who have demonstrated a deficiency in academic areas are scheduled into Adult Education to help strengthen their skills in math, spelling, vocabulary, writing issues or reading comprehension, and to get their GED.

In Calculator classes, which are an aspect of Adult Education, clients are expected to pass a basic math test using a calculator of their choice. Clients are asked if they are comfortable with the calculator processes as well as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of whole numbers, decimals and percentiles before testing. If they are not, Braille and large-print study materials are available for as long as it takes them to gain an understanding.

Clients also have the option to have the material explained to them orally in the classroom. Tests for Calculator are offered in large print, Braille and on tape, and practice tests are also available. Clients are expected to make a 90% or better on a 10-point test until they pass and test out of the class.

The goal of the Braille course at WSB is to introduce or reacquaint incoming clients with Braille for use in daily life to fulfill their needs. Clients are taught to read the alphabet, numbers, punctuation and some abbreviations.  Typically, Grade 1 and Grade 2 Braille are taught at WSB. Clients are also taught to use a Perkins Brailler, which allows them to write in Braille.

Not all clients are required to take Braille classes. Those with some usable vision may be placed in Low Vision classes rather than Braille. However, use of Braille displays and e-Braille are covered in WSB’s Braille class for those who want to use them. WSB is current with Unified English Braille standards.

Low Vision
The mission of Low Vision is to determine what type of low vision aids will be most beneficial to the client in assisting them to read print, and how to acquire the proper aids for use. Testing the client’s reading comprehension, speed and accuracy while they use the aid determines whether or not they test out of low vision classes.

Career track clients have a goal of at least 100 words per minute with at least 75% comprehension. Multiple attempts may be made until the client achieves a satisfactory speed. The goal for life skill clients is to find out what and where clients want to read, and finding the one aid to recommend for client use in order to allow them to practice and achieve their goals.

Keyboarding uses a program called Typability in conjunction with JAWS software to teach clients the layout and proper technique for typing. Typability uses a non-typist approach for teaching typing, and clients learn where to position their hands, which fingers to use for certain keys and how to make proper key strokes. The lessons begin with basic letters, and progresses to making words and sentences, using function keys, and incorporating numbers and symbols. The goal of keyboarding is for clients to attain the desired speed and accuracy they need to enter into the career training program of their choice, all of which have different standards for typing speed and accuracy.

Orientation & Mobility
The goal of Orientation & Mobility is to allow clients to gain independence while traveling in a variety of settings and through differing modes of transportation.

Upon arrival to WSB, clients are oriented to the campus in order to be able to navigate using proper cane techniques around their rooms, the cafeteria, the courtyard and where to go during emergency situations.

After mastery of the campus is attained, lessons involving the surrounding area are implemented, with clients learning how to navigate residential and small business areas on foot, learning proper methods for traveling safely using cross walks, intersections and sidewalks that contain stop signs and traffic lights.

After a certain level of competency is met in foot travel, bus travel is taught, which consists of where bus stops are located, how to plan bus routes, which buses should be taken, how to set up Links bus pickups and drop offs, and how to obtain bus passes.

Mobility lessons to the downtown area as well as the nearby shopping mall are also given. The downtown trip helps clients learn to navigate more heavily trafficked areas, using the techniques learned in the residential and small business lessons immediately surrounding campus. The mall trip teaches how to use escalators, elevators and how to ask people for help if needed.

Throughout all the lessons, cane technique and orientation are evaluated to ensure the client is on track to become more independent regarding their mobility. The course is tailored to each client and their specific goals upon entry. Guide dogs will be incorporated into training for any client who uses them.

IT Fundamentals
The IT Fundamentals class is based around the CompTIA certification of the same name. It is designed to be a stepping stone to more advanced certifications such as the A+, and covers software, hardware, networking and security basics, as well as fundamental IT literacy. Preparing for the IT Fundamentals exam is a great activity for anyone who wants to gain a better understanding of how computing technology works—information that is beneficial to every modern PC or mobile device user.