We Know You Can, So Will You Help Restore Daily Living Skills to Blind Adults and Seniors?

21 Jan
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Edward Bell, Ph.D., CRC, NOMC

Edward Bell, Ph.D., CRC, NOMC

Dr. Bell is the Director of the Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness at Louisiana Tech University.

The other day, my friend and colleague Pam Allen said something profound: “It’s really hard for people who have just lost their vision to imagine how they could ever live on their own in a new city when they have trouble going about the most basic daily tasks like cooking, shaving, or reading.”

Fortunately, right now, we are preparing a new group of people—and hopefully you—to teach these most basic daily tasks to people who are losing or have lost their vision.

We have believed for many years that, when people lose their vision, they deserve to have the skills to live independently. While a few university programs offer degrees in rehab counseling, very few offer a series of classes that will prepare a teacher to help blind people learn to cook, clean, and read for themselves in the comfort of their own homes.

Our newest, 33-credit-hour master’s degree program at Louisiana Tech is the only experiential learning program in which you will benefit from hundreds of hours of teaching experience with real blind people. Whether you are blind, sighted, or somewhere in between, you and your classmates will use sleepshades to prove to yourself and to those whom you’ll teach that blindness doesn’t have to be the characteristic that defines you or your future.

Your training in the five core areas of daily living skills will set you apart from the competition.

  1. Braille is the reading medium used by the blind to read and write.
  2. A long, white cane is the fundamental tool that allows a blind person to go where and when they want.
  3. Home management skills facilitate safe, non-visual methods to cook and clean independently.
  4. Assistive technology enables the blind to use a computer just like a sighted person through audio—rather than visual—feedback.
  5. Daily living skills serve as the foundational techniques for handling home and personal management, home maintenance, and troubleshooting day-to-day challenges.

A unique certification

There is no certification like the one you will attain in rehab teaching from Louisiana Tech University.

As a result of our confidence in the capacity of blind people to live full, productive lives, we immediately teach the skills of personal safety to students on day one. The teaching environment at the university and in the field is safe not because we have sighted instructors; rather the research-based techniques are what keep you and your students in control of your own safety. We call these techniques “structured discovery,” which you can read more about elsewhere on our blog.

For years, blindness agencies and training centers have said that they have trouble finding qualified industrial arts or home management teachers. They know how to find certified braille and cane travel instructors, but—until now—there has not been a national standard for these positions. Training as a rehab teacher provides a broad and rich diversity across all of these skill areas.

Seniors losing vision are depending on teachers like you

As you may know, Pam Allen directs the Louisiana Center for the Blind and oversees the Techniques for Living Competently (TLC) Senior Living Program. Last week, she talked about a gentleman whom she met a few years ago. He had saved money and time to enjoy his retirement. An avid woodworker, he also loved fishing. And then, rapidly, this senior adult began losing vision. He thought that these dreams were just that: dreams.

After getting connected with a mentor in the TLC program he learned that there were blind fishermen who used non-visual techniques to find a fishing location, cast their lines, and reel in their catch. After being handed a click-ruler, a device used by blind people to accurately measure to one-sixteenth of an inch, he learned that woodworking, too, could be a reality for him. In short, he learned that blindness didn’t have to hold him back all thanks to a competent rehab teacher.

We invite you to be among this inaugural group of nationally certified, highly experienced rehab teachers for the blind. Merit-based scholarship funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Call us and learn how to plan your enrollment at (318) 257-4554, or send an email for more information to dreed@latech.edu.

Photo: “Kitchen” by Arpit Gupta, on Flickr

The following two tabs change content below.
Edward Bell, Ph.D., CRC, NOMC

Edward Bell, Ph.D., CRC, NOMC

Dr. Bell is the Director of the Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness at Louisiana Tech University.

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