Industrial Arts builds self-confidence, teaches practical manual skills, enhances creativity, and fosters the development of problem solving skills.
Blind people have traditionally been discouraged from working with power tools and performing other manual tasks because of negative public attitudes about their abilities. In reality, they can operate power tools safely and accurately by using a few simple alternative techniques and following some practical safety rules.
Our wood shop contains all the power and hand tools one would expect to find in a wood shop such as a table saw, joiner, planer, compound miter saw, drill press, lathe, etc. None of our equipment has been significantly altered for use by blind people. Instead of modifying the machinery, we teach our students alternative ways of operating the same equipment that they or their friends and family might use in their homes. The only tool that we use that is made especially for blind people is the click rule. A click rule is a tactile measuring device that can measure in increments as small as one sixteenth of an inch.
When students conquer their fears of working around machinery and come to realize that they can design and make anything they want, their self-confidence grows in leaps and bounds. In addition, the projects they make serve as a tangible example to themselves and others of their competence and their ability to meet the challenges of life. In addition, by doing common home repairs around the center building, they learn the practical skills needed for home maintenance. A limited number also choose to go into manual occupations as a result of their industrial arts experience.
Listen to Marc Barlow Industrial Arts instructor talk about the class.