Thursday, August 13, 2015

Colorado School for the Blind

Several of us from our homeschool group went on tour of the Colorado School for the Blind. It was fantastic! Everyone there had such a positive attitude and I think I learned as much as the kids.

Students complete a six to ninth month training program in which they learn domestic arts, technology, Braille, shop arts, and movement. We visited the kitchen first. This lady was one of the cooking teachers.

Here is our tour guide, yikes, I forgot his name already!

We watched a blind woman cut onions and learned some of their safety procedures. The masks you see on some of the students or teachers are for those who can see some light or color. It trains them not to rely on that but rather on their other senses which are generally much better than their sight sense.

We learned how they use the microwave and stove. There are raised dots on the microwave buttons to help them find the right one. Students have to make a complete recipe from scratch for sixty people in order to graduate. That includes reading the recipe, getting to the store, shopping, and all the cooking, alone. I'm not sure most of us can do that sighted!

In the shop the students learn to use saws and other tools. They also learn how to fix common household appliances like vacuum cleaners. The young man in the mask has been blind only two years. He was 33. I wanted to ask what happened but didn't want to be rude. He had a great attitude.

Technology is very big and is really making so much more of the world accessible to them.

The kids were soooo good on this long tour (hour and a half). It helped that none of the speakers could see them so they could fidget and move around as they needed. This was a public tour, not just for our group.

We got to hear automatic readers.

The next room was the Braille room. Here, students learn to read Braille in its various forms, literary, math and music. They typed or punched everyone's name out in Braille. They also passed out cards with the Braille alphabet. Mia took some home for her friends.

Our last room was the movement room. Here they learn to get around town by foot, car, bus and taxi. They use the feel of sunshine to determine the direction they are going in as well as other techniques. We found out that they don't like the bird noise at traffic lights because it is inconsistent from town to town. They prefer to study the traffic flow with their ears. To graduate they must find their way back after being dropped off somewhere in the city. They are alone and can ask only one question of one person but are encouraged to not ask any. Again, could a sighted person do that?

Fascinating is all I have to say.

No comments: