Home and Personal Management teaches the alternative techniques that allow blind people to become effective and efficient household managers.
Some people believe that blind people cannot cook their own food, iron their own clothes, or vacuum their own floors. However, at BLIND, Incorporated, we teach our students how to perform these and all the tasks necessary to sustain themselves and their families and properly manage their homes. We teach the alternative techniques that blind people use to measure ingredients, label and set ovens, determine doneness and freshness of food, fry and grill food, hand sew and use a sewing machine, operate small and large kitchen appliances, do all types of cleaning, label clothes and do laundry, and much more.
The experiences of countless successful blind household managers have taught us that very few modifications need to be made in order for a blind person to cook safely and efficiently. Oven and stove controls, washer and dryer dials, and measuring cups and spoons are labeled with raised dots, but nothing else is altered from what might be found in any ordinary kitchen. We do not use unnecessary and inefficient specialized equipment such as liquid level indicators or cutting guides.
Students begin with relatively simple home management lessons that enable them to learn the basic alternative techniques involved in various aspects of home management. As they develop their skills and gain confidence, assignments become more elaborate. It is not uncommon for a student to come into the center unable to fry an egg, and after a few months, prepare their favorite recipe.
Many of our full time students live in the student apartments. This allows them to put into practice the skills that they have been learning in Home Management class. They cook their own breakfast and dinner at their apartment and prepare lunches to be brought to the center. They also clean and care for their apartment and do their own laundry.
As students progress toward graduation, they cook and serve a
small meal. This is a sit down dinner for themselves and six guests. They also prepare and serve a buffet-style meal for 20 to 40 people. These meals enable students to put together and utilize all of the alternative techniques they have been learning. They also develop their organizational and time management skills. After the meals are completed, students feel a great sense of accomplishment and know that if they can prepare a meal for 40 people, they can face any culinary challenges that the future may hold.
Students learn many practical techniques for accomplishing a variety of daily tasks. They learn to read Braille watches, fold their money so that they can identify it later, and keep a Braille address/phone book. They learn to use letter, envelope, and check writing guides. They learn to use labeling tape to create Braille labels for file folders, canned goods, video tapes or any other items they choose. Students learn that with a little bit of creativity and a few low-cost, low-tech aids and devices they can be organized and in control of their time and personal papers.
Students are also able to focus on and improve other skills on an individual basis. For example, spelling, literacy, personal care, and many other areas that they feel may need improvement.