Hawaiian Residential Training Center Invites New Students to Enroll in Its Adjustment-to-Blindness Program, New Visions

Date Posted: 01/10/2019

It is common for people who are blind to choose to attend a comprehensive adjustment-to-blindness program at a residential training center. One such program is the New Visions program at Ho'opono Services for the Blind, a branch of the Department of Human Services, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, which is located in Honolulu, Hawaii. Given the agency's reduced numbers of new vocational rehabilitation cases, the primary source for students for the New Visions program, it recently announced that it has spaces available to accommodate not only new students from Hawaii, but also those from other U.S. states and territories, provided a funding source is able to pay for out-of-state individuals wishing to attend the training program. The New Visions program is one of the six Structured Discovery programs accredited by the National Blindness Professional Certification Board.

Although the New Visions program requires students to attend classes and participate in other instructional activities as they would a full-time job, on the weekends, students are encouraged to participate fully in the many leisure activities the island of Oahu has to offer including swimming at beaches, hiking mountain trails, visiting cultural centers, and attending sporting events. In addition, because of the agency's foundational belief in exposing its students to successful blind role models and mentors who can help them in their growth and adjustment to blindness, it maintains relationships with local affiliates of the American Council of the Blind and the National Federation of the Blind and requires students to attend functions organized by these blindness organizations.

The training center of the Ho'opono Services for the Blind is housed in a former sheltered workshop. When the agency transitioned its scope of services, relics of the old sheltered workshop were retained such as a stack of broom handles from the agency's previous manufacture of mops and brooms, and signs remain on the walls that are related to work blind employees used to do in stacking forks, spoons, and knives as part of the agency's previous disposable cutlery operations. The work benches from the sheltered workshop now serve as the work benches in the agency's industrial arts class, where students with visual impairments now independently design and build their own projects rather than perform work to serve corporate interests. Keeping reminders of the sheltered workshop allows staff members the opportunity to teach people about the rising expectations for people who are blind.

For more information, contact: Justin M.H. Salisbury, M.A., NOMC, NCRTB, NCUEB, orientation and mobility therapist, Adjustment Section, Services for the Blind Branch (Ho'opono), Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Department of Human Services, State of Hawaii, 1901 Bachelot Street, Honolulu, HI 96817; e-mail: jsalisbury@dhs.hawaii.gov; website: http://humanservices.hawaii.gov/vr/hoopono/new-visions-program.

Contact: (Contact information is listed in the news item.)

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