LOUISIANA CENTER FOR THE BLIND

DESCRIPTION OF SERVICE DELIVERY

AND PROGRAM OPERATIONS

Ruston, Louisiana

318-251-2891 or 800-234-4166

Contact: Pam Allen, Executive Director

louisianacenter.org

 

I. OPERATING SCHEDULE

 A.  Operating Hours: The Louisiana Center for the Blind is a 24-hour residential training facility.  Scheduled classes are delivered from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Required and optional activities are routinely scheduled in the evenings and on weekends.

B.  Major holiday breaks, including Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, are observed.  In addition, a summer break is scheduled for one week in July.  Student apartments are closed for Thanksgiving, Christmas and summer break.  Please consult with the Louisiana Center for the Blind for specific holiday dates.

II.  SERVICE DELIVERY

 A.  Intake Procedures: The Louisiana Center for the Blind accepts referrals/requests for services from Louisiana Rehabilitation Services, out-of-state agencies for the blind, and private sources.  Individuals requesting services from the Louisiana Center for the Blind directly are referred to their respective appropriate state agencies serving the blind.  The referring agency initiates services by scheduling an interview (either by telephone or personal visit) between the prospective client, his/her counselor, and the director of the Louisiana Center for the Blind.  Referring counselors are encouraged to arrange a tour and personal interview for individuals and their families, particularly when a question may exist concerning the appropriateness of the services offered for a particular referral.  On-site tours and visits are welcomed, and a representative is available to visit by phone with prospective students, their families, and agency personnel.  An enrollment application is then submitted to the Center, including current eye and medical reports, as well as other pertinent medical/ psychological information.  Upon notification of admission, referring counselors should provide a current copy of the IPE and verification of funding. 

 Upon acceptance of an applicant as a student, the Louisiana Center for the Blind, the referring agency, and the applicant select an entry date based upon availability.  In the event that the student does not arrive on the scheduled starting date, the director of the Louisiana Center for the Blind will attempt to contact the individual and the referring agency counselor to determine the reason for the failure to arrive and to reschedule the entry date.

 During the first complete day of services, the student is given a comprehensive orientation to the facilities and program, introduced to the staff, provided a class schedule and materials, and advised of policies and guidelines.  Also, intake information is completed and students have the opportunity to shop for personal items and groceries; set up cable, internet and banking services; and address any other personal errands associated with relocating.

 B.  Service Provision: The Louisiana Center for the Blind provides residential orientation and adjustment training to legally blind adults.  Students remain in training generally from six to nine months depending upon individual needs.  The full training curriculum includes Braille, cane travel, computer literacy/keyboarding, home management, industrial arts, independent living skills, seminar, job development and college placement, and HiSET exam and standardized test preparation (if needed).  All classes emphasize the development of self-confidence and a positive attitude toward blindness.  On average, the Center services approximately thirty students in the general program. 

 Throughout their training, students live in apartments located eight blocks from the classroom facility.  The furnished apartments are two-bedroom duplexes owned and operated by the Louisiana Center for the Blind.  Students can expect to have a roommate during training.

Philosophy

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.

Methodology

A number of very important components are incorporated in the successful program of training at the Louisiana Center for the Blind:

(1) 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.

(2) 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.

(3) 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. 

(4) Students are treated with respect as adults, not children; and are expected to behave as adults.

(5) 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 them both attitudinally and in their overall confidence.

(6) All students - whether partially or totally blind - are required to use long (non-collapsible), white canes at all times, which are issued to the students by the Center.  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 are welcome to bring their dog guides, but they must be kenneled or put on tie-down during class hours.  Students may work with their dog guides during lunch and after hours.]

(7) Students with residual vision and/or any light perception must use learning 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 learning 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 learning shades for classes or activities.

(8) 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.

(9) 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.

(10) 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.

Staff

A majority of the highly qualified and certified administrative and direct services staff are blind persons who serve as effective role models for those in training.  All staff members promote a positive philosophy about blindness and set high expectations for all students.

Criteria for Client Selection

Individuals who have been medically determined to be legally blind (and whose primary disability is blindness) are eligible for admission to the Center.  Upon applying for admission, the individual and/or sponsoring agency will provide current eye and medical examination(s) by an ophthalmologist or optometrist stating that the individual is legally blind, or visually impaired with a progressive, non-corrective eye condition.

 No individual will be refused admission based upon race, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), parental status, national origin, age, disability, family medical history or genetic information, political affiliation, military service, or other non-merit based factors. 

 Individuals enrolling in the adult program must be eighteen (18) years of age; individuals enrolling in the summer training program for teenagers must be at least fourteen (14) years of age; children enrolling in the summer children’s program must be at least nine (9) years of age.

Schedule of Activities

A typical daily schedule of classes runs from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and includes: one hour of Braille instruction, one hour of computer literacy/keyboarding, two hours of home management/independent living skills instruction, two hours of industrial arts, and two hours of cane travel instruction.  Students are assigned to independent study classes according to their individual needs and levels of progress.  These classes include HiSET exam and standardized test preparation, job development, and college preparation/placement.  Lunch is scheduled between 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m.  Twice each week, two hours are set aside for seminar discussions.  On field trip days, ordinary classes are replaced by activities designed to provide students with community experiences, exposure to organizations and agencies for the blind, and confidence-building activities in which they may use their skills such as hiking, white-water rafting, rock climbing, shopping trips to malls, trips to Mardi Gras, community activities, etc.  All classes and activities are supervised.  A relaxed and informal atmosphere designed to facilitate the building of students’ self-esteem and positive attitudes is maintained by the staff.  Every opportunity for both formal and informal interaction and communication with students is pursued by the staff.

GENERAL INFORMATION AND GUIDELINES

Students attending the Louisiana Center for the Blind should bring the following items as these items are not provided in the apartments.

·       Sheets and pillow cases, blankets and bedspreads (beds are twin size), pillows

·       Clothes hangers

·       Towels and washcloths

·       Clothes (neat, appropriate attire for classes; casual clothes for exercise, swimming, or hiking; clothes for activities such as church, theater, parties, etc.)

·       Rain gear (umbrella, coats, boots)

·       Shoes (comfortable walking shoes and dress shoes)

·       Toiletries and grooming items

·       Medications (must be able to self-administer)

·       Personal household items (kitchen utensils, pots and pans, dishes, glasses, silverware, storage containers, broom, mop, dish drain, laundry and dish detergent etc.)

 Suggested optional items: small kitchen appliances (coffee pot, microwave, blender, slow cooker, etc.), laptop and/or tablet, television, smart speakers, lamp, books, Braille writer, digital recorder, funds to open local checking account if desired, initial supply of groceries, and backpack. 

 NOTE:  Many of the above items can be purchased locally stores.  If a student chooses to ship items prior to arrival, please confirm shipping information with Center.  [Note:  All student mail and packages need to be sent to the training center.  The apartments do not have mail receptacles.]

The following information is needed for intake paperwork.  Medical insurance cards

·       Social Security number

·       Emergency contact numbers (family)

·       Contact information for physicians

·       List of current medications, if applicable

·       Information on pre-existing medical conditions, if applicable

The Center is not responsible for loaned, lost, or damaged items in the residential or training facility.

Washers and dryers are provided free of charge and located in the Student Activity Center; students must provide their own laundry detergent.  Cleaning supplies are also provided for student use.

Cable and internet services may be installed in apartments at the student’s expense; however, satellite dishes are not allowed.  Complimentary Wi-fi is provided at the classroom buildings and the student activity center.

Since the Center solely focuses on the alternative techniques of blindness, personal vehicles are not permitted.

 Pets are not permitted.

Visitation

Students may not return home during the first month of training, except in emergencies, and in cases where a major holiday falls within that time period.  Should such an instance occur, the period in which a student may not return home will begin upon the return of the student.

 Unauthorized overnight guests are not allowed and may jeopardize enrollment.  (Note:  No alcohol or illegal drugs/drug paraphernalia are permitted in either the apartment or the Student Activity Center.)

Policies and Procedures

It is strongly recommended that students remain in training for a period of six to nine months.  During that time, the procedures below will be followed:

Classes will meet Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Students are expected to be punctual and attend all classes, unless they have a medical excuse or prior approval from the director. Consistently poor attendance may jeopardize enrollment.  Generally, evenings and weekends will be free; however, on occasion, activities may be scheduled during these times.  Learning shades will ALWAYS be worn during Center classes and required activities.  Proper use of learning shades during designated times is a critical part of training and a requirement for the program.

Required courses include: Braille, cane travel, computer literacy/keyboarding, home management, seminar, and industrial arts.  Additional classes offered include: advanced computer training; HiSET exam and standardized test preparation training; independent living skills (one-on-one assistance in personal grooming, apartment maintenance, laundry and ironing skills, money management, handwriting, and sewing); work experience; vocational planning; college readiness skills, or college classes at Louisiana Tech University (additional funding required); and field trips.

Students will participate in seminar, cane travel, Braille, and computer literacy throughout their entire training; however, they may complete other required courses in a shorter time once proficiency is demonstrated and enroll in other course options. 

Students are required to use the long white cane at all times throughout training (class times, noon hours, evenings, and weekends).  Use of folding and telescopic canes is not permitted at any time during training.  Dog guide users may work with their dogs outside of class hours; however, they will be expected to participate in some specified activities using their cane and not their guide dog.  The initial learning shades, cane, and Braille supplies will be supplied free of charge; however, in the event that these are damaged or misplaced, the student will be responsible for purchasing replacements.

Smoking and the use of all tobacco products, including but not limited to cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, pipe, hookah-smoked products, and e-cigarettes is not permitted in the Louisiana Center for the Blind training or residential facilities, including apartments and Student Activity Center.  Outdoor designated smoking areas are provided.

Apartment instruction is conducted twice a month.  Instructors accompany students for an on-site apartment review to address any instructional needs and to familiarize the student with policies pertaining to apartment maintenance.  Students are responsible for maintaining a clean and organized apartment.  Students are expected to be respectful of their roommates and/or neighbors. Additional instruction may be added if needed. Repair or replacement of damaged property, such as furniture or fixtures, will be the financial responsibility of the student.

No alcoholic beverages are permitted on the premises of the Louisiana Center for the Blind, including the student apartment complex and Activity Center. 

The use or possession of illegal drugs/drug paraphernalia will result in immediate termination from the program.  If the use of an illegal substance is suspected, students must submit themselves for drug testing.  In the event an individual tests positive for illegal substances, said individual will be terminated from the program.  Students engaging in any unlawful activities under any circumstances are subject to immediate dismissal from the program.

Physical injury or verbal abuse inflicted by one student upon another student or staff member may result in immediate termination from the program.   Sexual harassment among students or staff is not tolerated and may result in immediate dismissal from the program.

Any other conduct representing significant risk of imminent harm to the student, to others or to the program may be grounds for dismissal from the program. 

Violation of program policies may result in probation and/or termination.

Expenses

There is no charge for rent and utilities.  The cost of groceries and miscellaneous items will be assumed by the student.  Cost of the program: $3,660/per month for in-state and $3,900/per month for out-of-state.  A monthly activity stipend of $210 is given to the student at the beginning of each month, provided that they have adhered to attendance policies.  The Activity Stipend is designed to supplement costs for evening and weekend activities and field trips.  The stipend is not designed to cover costs of food and other incidentals.

For further information, please contact Pam Allen at 800-234-4166.

LOUISIANA CENTER FOR THE BLIND

DRESS CODE:  STUDENTS

 

          The Louisiana Center for the Blind is an adult training program.  As such, its dress code is intended to encourage students to dress neatly and in a style which promotes learning and concentration in classes.  This dress code hopes to also prepare students for appropriate dress in the work place.  Dressing neatly and in a manner that reflects self-pride is a key factor in attitude, and a good attitude increases student learning.

 1. All clothing should be free of stains, tears or rips, frays, and wrinkles. 

 2. Clothing that is sheer or revealing is inappropriate, such as low-cut or tight blouses.  Bare midriffs, crop tops, bare backs, spaghetti straps, tank tops, and muscle shirts are not allowed.  Stomach area should remain covered at all times. 

 3. Oversize shirts are acceptable as long as shorts or skirts extend below the shirt.

 4. Logos on clothing should reflect a positive message.  Messages advertising tobacco, alcohol, or banned substances are not allowed.  Messages with obscene language are also not allowed.

 5. Shorts, long pants, skirts or dresses should fit appropriately so that undergarments are not visible.  A belt is required for low-slung or sagging shorts or pants. Shorts, skirts and dresses should be at least fingertip length.

 6. Students are strongly encouraged to wear well maintained and comfortable shoes, as several hours of walking will be required each day.

 7. Cell phones are allowed but cannot be turned on during class hours unless given permission from an instructor.

 8. It is expected that good bodily hygiene and hair cleanliness will be observed and that appearances will be neatly maintained. 

 Students arriving to school dressed inappropriately will be sent home to change. 

 Staff members are available to assist with any questions concerning wardrobe.

 

Physical Addresses for GPS Driving Directions

LCB Training Center

101 South Trenton

Ruston LA  71270

318-251-2891

If you will be arriving at the Center during regular hours, Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, you may come directly to the Center to get your apartment keys.

LCB Apartments

501 East Mississippi

Ruston LA  71270

Apartment Manager 318-497-1567

                                                     

If you will be arriving at the Center after 5:00 pm on a weekday or on the weekend, you may go to the LCB apartment complex to get your apartment keys.  The Apartment Manager is on call during the week.  On the weekends, a staff member will be on duty.  The staff member on duty or on call can also be reached at 318-497-1567.