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SELF Weeks Accelerate VR Clients Training

Primary Tasks

    Secondary Tasks

      While coming to the center is the most efficient and comprehensive method for mastering the skills that blind people need to be successful in employment, there are a variety of reasons why people can’t attend the center. This is why we have Vocational Rehabilitation Teachers (VRTs) who travel the state to work with VR clients in their communities. While this is very helpful to clients in moving forward toward their vocational goals, the lack of community and time between teacher visits are definite downsides to this training model. In order to give VR clients the opportunity to come together for a week of intensive training, the Education and Training Team created SELF Weeks. DuringSELF Weeks, VR clients get as much in person instructional time with VR Teachers and Rehabilitation Technology Specialists as they could get in a year of home visits. SELF Week participants work on their training goals daily, join in evening activities, and attend daily blindness discussion seminars with Center students.

      clients come to SELF Week with a wide range of skills and abilities. They also bring a lot of things they want to work on. For one person, ordering your own coffee at a downtown coffee shop might be something totally new and challenging while for someone else it might be making a soup or conquering a tech challenge. As one participant put it: “I appreciate how the staff is able to recognize the different levels each of us is at and help us grow at our own pace.” one of the staff instructors shared the observation: “One of the coolest things to see were the relationships that developed between people. Another instructor commented: ”The growth I saw in the individuals from the beginning to the end of the week was HUGE and each of the clients I worked with could identify that they had accomplished things during this week that they never dreamed they’d could accomplish .. When they left they held their heads higher and saw themselves as a more independent person."

      Some of the other highlights that participants have reported include:

      • “Finding out how quickly I picked up some of the skills and staff support on growing those skills.”
      • “Finally being able to get over stairs during cane travel.”
      • “listening to everyone’s stories”
      • “My Braille class where I got progressively faster at reading compared to before this week and even at the beginning of this week. I’m honestly very proud of myself for improving as fast as I did, even though it’s only been though a week.”
      • “Meeting more people with blindness”

      March 15–19, 2021 IDB held our fourth SeLF Week trainings. Ten clients attended. We anticipate that the number of participants will continue to rise as COVD–19 becomes less of a challenge. During the pandemic, clients have stayed in hotels to allow for better distancing. We are hopeful that clients will be able to return to staying in the IDB building during the first fall session. In 2022, we will be adding a fourth session in the summer. If you are a VR client and would like to participate in an upcoming SELF Week, speak with your VR counselor or teacher.