Blindness: Learning In New Dimensions (BLIND), Inc. is a nationally-renowned training center for blind individuals of all ages. We were founded in 1986 by the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota because of the failure of traditional, charity-based blindness agencies to meet the real needs of the state’s blind residents. We have grown rapidly since that time.
We offer vocational rehabilitation programs for blind adults, an English Language program for blind immigrants and refugees, training and employment programs for blind teens, a summer training program for blind children, an independent living skills training program for blind senior citizens, blindness immersion programs for professionals working with blind people, and public education programs about blindness.
Our principles are simple but powerful: blindness is just the physical loss of eyesight, nothing more. Blind people are like everyone else, and can be expected to perform on a par with everyone else, as long as they get effective training – the kind we offer – and public understanding and acceptance. Our graduates work in every conceivable form of employment.
Watch a video about Adjustment To Blindness Training at BLIND Inc. (Opens in a new Window)
Many of our staff are blind and serve as positive role models to the students. Our sighted instructors have undergone 6 weeks of intensive adjustment to blindness training under sleep shades in order to become adept at the skills they must teach. We feel very strongly that we should not ask our students to do anything that we have not done ourselves.
At BLIND, Inc., we use hands-on classroom instruction, but we also believe that the community is our classroom. Our students are taught to function independently in a variety of real-life settings. To facilitate this process, students in our comprehensive and Transition programs also live self-sufficiently in individual apartments with a resident staff advisor on hand to answer questions, provide assistance as needed, and ensure a safe and positive environment. All students are encouraged to participate in the community, using public transportation and traveling independently with a white cane. As part of our training, we have several planned activities.
Adventure learning is an integral part of all of our programs. We encourage students to be physically active and to feel free to participate in leisure activities they enjoy. These may include mall shopping, rock-climbing, and water skiing.
Because our focus is on independence, BLIND, Inc. does not sponsor a
sheltered workshop. We believe our students can achieve much more by setting their own educational goals and seeking meaningful careers in the broader community.
Through effective training, high expectations, peer support, and public education, we will bring about a world in which blind people live independent lives, work in competitive employment, raise their own families, and contribute their skills and talents to the community. BLIND, Inc.’s goals are to:
- Provide training that enables graduates to function competitively alongside sighted peers in education, employment and life;
- Teach our clients the skills needed to find lifelong employment commensurate with their education and experience;
- Provide an ongoing support network of other successful blind people; and
- Educate employers and the public about the abilities of blind people (including debunking stereotypes.
Blindness can and does happen to anyone. Our student body is a broad cross section of all ages, races, creeds, and members of minority groups. The only criterion for someone to be Eligible to receive our services is that an individual’s eyesight be so bad that they have difficulty functioning. BLIND, Inc. has developed programs that serve blind individuals at every stage of life. Some have been blind for a very long time, while others have more recently (and sometimes suddenly) lost their sight. Through our English Language Learning (ELL) program, we reach out to blind immigrants and refugees, an often overlooked group, but one that desperately needs our help. We treat everyone equally, and seek full integration of blind people into society.
Our training programs for adults, children, teens, and seniors combine hands-on classroom instruction in topics such as Braille, home management, industrial arts, and the use of technology with community-based lessons in, for example, navigating public transportation independently and travel with a cane. We teach alternative (nonvisual) techniques that have been developed by blind people in an environment in which our students are supported by peers and mentored by blind people who have made the same journey, and are living and modeling successful lives.
Our largest program is our 9-month Comprehensive Program. Comprehensive Program students attend classes 40 hours a week for six to nine months. The idea that students will get good jobs is integrated in all of our programs. For example, students attend classes in our Career Center twice or three times a week to access job listings and job placement services, learn job search and retention skills, and write resumes. Dressing for success – especially for employment success – is taught in home management classes, and cane travel classes teach students how to utilize public transportation to get to and from work.
We believe that blindness changes how we do things, but should not stop us from doing them. For example, Challenging recreational projects in which students take field trips such as rock climbing and water slides are an integral part of our programs, showing by example that blind people can be physically active and participate in the same kinds of leisure activities as sighted people.
Graduates of BLIND, Inc.’s comprehensive program receive a “Freedom Bell” as a graduation gift. This bell symbolizes the freedom and independence each
student has gained as a result of his or her training. Graduates are encouraged to ring the bell as they celebrate successes or personal achievements in
For more information about us pleas call 612-872-0100, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.