Orientation and Career Center for the Blind
The Orientation and Career Center for the Blind (OCCB) is an
in-depth, residential training program located in Portland. Eligible
clients are referred to the training program by their Vocational
Rehabilitation Counselor. Clients from outside of Portland participate
in the program while living in a nearby apartment provided by the
agency. The program is designed around independent living and
pre-employment skills. The majority of the Center's participants are
people who have become blind in adulthood, and must learn new methods of
performing everyday activities.
Living With Blindness
The Living With Blindness (LWB) class is designed to assist clients
with the process of mental and emotional adjustments of living with
sight loss. Using peer and staff support and by working through a
comprehensive and deep curriculum which includes discussion and
homework, clients move towards adjustment. The class provides a place to
discuss how vision loss impacts every aspect of life - i.e.
employment, relationships, social interactions, self -esteem, self-
confidence and more. The opportunity to share with others the issues
that they face on a daily basis is extremely beneficial.
Worlds of opportunity open to clients as they learn to use an
iPhone/iPod or iPad. The touch screen is now accessible through the use
of VoiceOver, Apple's built-in accessibility answer for blind or
visually impaired individuals. clients can create documents, send and
receive email, surf the internet, and read mainstream books. Clients can
also use these devices to give them GPS and travel information. All
these applications help our clients in furthering their independence.
Adaptive devices also include refreshable Braille displays and
Braille notetakers. Through the use of a Braille display, the content
of a computer or Apple device can be read and edited. Notetakers with a
Braille display offer the functionality of an all-in-one unit with word
processing, calendar, calculator and a host of other applications.
These devices truly provide portable options for Braille readers who
want access on the go.
There are other miscellaneous small devices such as, Barcode Readers,
color identifiers, audio labeling tools and more. In many situations,
the Apple iOS devices can replace most of these, but in some
circumstances, a designated device may be preferable.
For those who are unable to effectively read print, we offer courses in reading braille as well as using braille equipment.
The objective of this course is to help clients establish and maintain the tools
necessary for effective career preparation. This will be accomplished through exploration
of various areas in the career process. Throughout the course, meaningful assignments
will be given to further reinforce learning and maintain accountability. The course
will end with a discussion around what clients have learned throughout the course
and how they can apply that learning to the future.
This class is designed to give clients strategies for enhancing their
professional and social lives. The class is highly individualized to a
client’s particular needs. The goal is to enhance self - confidence so
that clients can become comfortable in social and professional
Some types of skills/strategies include:
- Making introductions and shaking hands
- Making eye contact
- Reading a room; i.e. entering and joining conversations comfortably.
- Learning about self-perception/self-image – how we see ourselves - the image we present
- Blending in to a sighted world
- Exploring job interview behavior and appropriate dress
- Acknowledging feelings and fears that arise from sight loss
- Learning how to make a good first impression.
- Asking for, or declining help easily
Low Vision Assessments
Low vision assessments are provided for Oregonians experiencing sight
loss which is causing difficulty with independent living, school or
work. The goals of the assessments are:
1. Identify correct amount of magnification needed
2. Identify skills or tasks that need to be addressed
3. Evaluate different types of tools - optical, electronic or general - appropriate to the task or tasks
4. Provide training on use of tools identified to meet client needs
5. Provide purchase information as needed
Meal Preparation class is designed to teach a wide range of
alternative kitchen skills to people with vision loss. Our clients learn
essential skills for working non-visually, including techniques for
kitchen organization, grocery shopping, recipe gathering, food
preparation and cleanup. Emphasis is on learning safety skills and
increasing competency in the kitchen.
The stamina class is provided to clients who, due to sight loss, have discontinued
or greatly reduced their physical activity. The class works to increase stamina
through a series of floor exercise, use of free weights and traditional gym equipment.
Orientation and Mobility
Orientation and Mobility (O&M) teaches people adaptive travel
skills to safely navigate through their everyday environments. Often
vision loss comes with a belief that everyday travel is limited to
traveling with friends or familiar routes causing a lack of confidence.
Using a nationally standardized curriculum as a model, we
individualize the training program starting with the client's current
skills and comfort level. Our curriculum includes use of a long cane,
orientation skills, intersection analysis and crossing, route planning,
bus travel, problem solving, and use of electronic aids. As the client
gains confidence we branch out allowing the individual to fulfill their
daily functional travel needs, whether it's going to the grocery store,
visiting friends, or going to work. Each lesson continues to build on
the skills and confidence of previous lessons.
With full belief in the abilities of our clients, the goal of travel
instructors is to maximize the safety, confidence and independence of
each person; learning the skills to travel independently can often
transform a client’s belief about vision loss in all areas of life.
Techniques of Daily Living
This class is designed to teach clients independent living skills
which they have identified as barriers to living independently in their
homes. Classes are taught one on one and geared to the type of learning
most useful for the client - such as auditory or kinesthetic. Types of
skills which may be taught include: use of washer/dryer and clothing
care and management; personal hygiene; cleaning - such as vacuuming,
cleaning bathroom, sweeping, mopping, etc.; organizing and identifying
medications and many other skills as identified.
Our technology center was created to enable Oregonians who are blind
or visually impaired to achieve independence and a richer life through
technology, whether for home or the work place. To reach this goal, we:
1. Assess an individual's adaptive needs.
2. Train individuals in one-on-one sessions to use adaptive technology
3. Work with employers and employees to optimize adaptive software and hardware and software at a job site
4. Provide technical support for adaptive software and hardware
5. Participate in public awareness and education programs
The Center contains workstations with commonly used current adaptive
and general Windows software and hardware to help us meet our training
and assessment goals.
This Center is a resource for both our clients and the community.
The core of our software includes screen-reading, optical character
recognition, and magnification software as well as several brands of
refreshable braille displays.
We encourage clients to develop confidence in their abilities by
completing a tangible, finished woodworking project. This process helps
our clients realize that they can accomplish their goals through
adaptive techniques and use both hand and power tools safely and with