While much of the Polus Center’s U.S. focus is on helping people with disabilities find meaningful competitive work, and youth to prepare for the world of work, we also offer opportunities to build relationships, enjoy social activities, and live life to the fullest at home and within the community.
Two new programs that help adults who are blind or visually impaired learn independent living skills include:
Getting Settled is a 6-month community-based personal and home management training and support program for adults who are about to live independently in the community for the first time. These intensive services complement and augment initial MCB assistance, for people who need additional support and more intensive training. This includes home and community-based independent living skills, O&M, assistive technology, peer mentoring, and assistance with accessing community services and social activities. The training occurs during weekly training sessions in the home and throughout the community where the person lives, and it includes a weekly check-in with a peer mentor who has learned to successfully navigate independent living.
For more information about “Getting Settled” contact Kathy Bull, kaxianna [at] yahoo.com.
Independent Living Toolbox: Communication and Technology Skills
This 3-month bi-weekly virtual training series, including follow-on individualized support, provides training on assistive technology, organization, and written communication skills. The focus is on basic skills applicable to daily life such as email correspondence, MS-Word processing, internet navigation, letter-writing, corresponding with vendors, using Zoom and other videoconferencing applications, etc.—skills needed by everyone, but transferrable to cover letters, resumes, online interviews and other business communications should the person choose to enter the workforce.
The training and follow-on support also includes organizational skills through learning technology such as smart home technology, apps, using calendars and reminder systems, and other tools to foster executive functioning skills. This Assistive Technology and Computer Training is provided through “distance learning” to trainees/consumers who have basic computer skills.
Each lesson is approximately 2 hours, offered via a webinar platform, offered every other week, followed by up to 2 hours of 1:1 follow up support on the off weeks. Class size is limited to 10-12.
For more information or to register, contact Josh Pearson, jpearson [at] poluscenter.org.
Independent Living and Money Management
This 3-part seminar series and follow-on support, includes budgeting, saving, bill-paying, credit score, purchasing practices, and blindness tools and techniques for money management. We include a presentation about the Able Account and Benefits Planning, and then recommend that the participant set up a personal, confidential meeting with a Benefits Counselor. If they don’t have a bank account, we encourage them to do so after the presentation by the bank, and then we help coordinate Orientation and Mobility support if they have not already accessed their local bank independently.
For more information about the Money Management training, contact Theresa Kane, tkane [at] poluscenter.org.