The Iowa Blindness Empowerment and Independence Center (IBEIC) is an important stop on the road to competitive employment and independent living. In the center, blind and low vision adults learn:

  • Non-visual techniques for accomplishing tasks and for solving problems they may encounter
  • More self-confidence and a new, positive way to view their vision loss
  • How to overcome the misconceptions they and the public have about their blindness

Students take each of the following classes, which are designed to meet their individual needs:

  • Braille
    Using the Code Master curriculum, students learn to write, and later to read, Braille. Braille becomes an essential part of daily life, since ninety percent of employed blind people use it on the job.  Students learn to use a slate and stylus to take notes, jot down a recipe or phone number, label items and read articles and books.
  • Computer and Technology
    Students learn how to access the range of technology they will need for future education and/or employment using screen reading software and braille displays. They learn to create, edit, format and spellcheck documents, navigate web pages to locate and submit information, and scan documents to access printed material. Students may also learn Excel, PowerPoint, and any other software they might need for their future endeavors. They also explore using smart phones and any other technology they might need. Whether a student has never typed before, or is quite comfortable with technology, there is always something to learn.
  • Home and Personal Management
    In this class, students learn non-visual ways to cook, clean, mend clothes and do laundry.  They write recipes and grocery lists in Braille and travel to the supermarket to purchase ingredients.  They use the organizational and measuring skills they develop here for the rest of their lives.  Students learn how to manage their money by not only learning how to budget, and furthermore nonvisually identifying and then creating their own individualized system to uniquely fold their money so that at all times they know the difference between bills and can identify these bills efficiently. Students learn different ways of labeling I.E. in braille and identifying different items such as food and clothing, and general everyday items so that they may identify these items quickly and efficiently.
  • Travel with the Long White Cane
    With the long white cane in hand, students learn to walk confidently, cross streets, locate businesses and use public transportation. They soon discover that their vision loss need not prevent them from going anywhere whenever they want. Read one former student's account of learning to travel around "home block."
  • Industrial Arts
    Here, students learn tactile methods for measuring and for operating power tools. They develop tremendous self-confidence and trust in nonvisual techniques by making a picture frame and then a large project of their choice.  Past students have made such items as desks, clocks, entertainment centers and game tables.
  • Jobs Class
    The jobs class aids students in discovering, mapping, and starting upon a fulfilling career path guided by personal preferences and goals rather than blindness.  From career exploration to addressing workplace accommodations, this class helps build the confidence and knowledge needed to achieve meaningful, gainful employment.  Emphasis is placed on job seeking as a blind person, as well as resume writing, networking, interviewing skills, job shadowing, and proper workplace behavior.  For the college bound student focus is placed on college exploration, applications, dealing with student disabilities offices, working with instructors on accommodations, as well as alternative techniques that can be utilized and how to do so.
  • The Business of Blindness
    In this discussion-based class, students learn how to deal with the problems they encounter because of their vision loss.  Topics range from developing nonvisual methods for handling everyday tasks to dealing with negative attitudes family members, employers, and the genral public may have about blindness.