Philosophy and Methodology
The Louisiana Center for the Blind is committed to a strong, positive, constructive philosophy concerning blindness. Based upon the personal experience of thousands of blind persons, the Center believes that given proper training and opportunity, blind people can compete effectively and on terms of equality with their sighted counterparts in employment, in their communities, in their families, and in society in general.
A number of very important components are incorporated in the successful program of training at the Louisiana Center for the Blind:
Blindness is discussed and the word “blind” is used and stressed. If students are expected to accept themselves as blind people, they must understand that it is respectable to be blind. Students are encouraged to regard themselves as competent blind persons using alternative, not inferior or substitute, techniques.
Discussion and activities are designed to help develop problem solving skills and positive attitudes toward blindness and self-confidence. Students gain positive attitudes through seminar discussions and confidence-building activities.
The Louisiana Center for the Blind is located in the heart of downtown Ruston near restaurants, stores, and theaters to give students an opportunity and a reason to leave their apartments. In order to assist students in becoming a part of society, training must be conducted in the midst of society. Much confidence building occurs simply by venturing out into the world.
Students are treated with respect as adults, not children; and are expected to behave as adults.
A core training curriculum is required of all students at the Center. Some centers have one type of training for those with residual vision and another for those who are totally blind. To fully convince students that blindness can be reduced to a mere inconvenience given the proper training and techniques, all students are taught skills which will benefit their attitude toward blindness and confidence.
All students - whether partially or totally blind - are required to use canes at all times. In some training centers, canes are only required during travel class; however, if a blind person is to be independent, he or she must use the cane over and over until it becomes a reflex action. In addition, use of the cane helps to build confidence and respect as a blind person who is able to travel confidently and independently. The cane says to the public, “I am blind.”
Students with residual vision and/or any light perception must use sleep shades at all times during training classes and activities. It is a great temptation for those with residual vision to try to rely solely upon inefficient vision when alternative techniques may be more effective for particular tasks. A combination of techniques may be arrived at once students have been exposed to and truly learn the alternative techniques of blindness. The use of sleep shades throughout training provides students with the full belief in blindness and the alternative techniques of blindness that are essential for success. At times, the Center may require all students – regardless of their vision – to wear sleepshades for classes or activities.
All students will be trained in Braille. While those with residual vision may argue that they do not need Braille, only through exposure to it can they determine its eventual usefulness. The student may learn that it is more efficient than reading large print or magnified material.
Staff members are available at all times to assist in solving problems, to provide counseling, and to talk about blindness. There is supervision at the apartment complex at all times by qualified staff.
Students are introduced to organizations of the blind and to successful blind persons. Scheduled activities at the Center include attending conventions, seminars, meetings, and activities representative of various organizations of the blind.
To find out more about the LCB Adult Training Program, click any of the links below.