Monday, July 23, 2012

New Program for the Blind Receives Prestigious Certification

Hawaii’s Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and Services for the Blind Division has received national recognition for a unique training program called “New Visions,” which is offered to people who are blind and low vision.

In June 2012, the National Blindness Professional Certification Board (NBPCB) recertified Hawaii’s New Visions program as a Structured Discovery Cane Travel (SDCT) program.

Hawaii is one of only three state agencies to hold this prestigious certification. The others are Nebraska and New Mexico. There are three private certified centers in Louisiana, Colorado, and Minnesota.

”This is a rigorous certification process. I am pleased to say we passed with flying colors!” said Lea Grupen, Administrator of the Hoopono Branch, which oversees Hawaii’s New Visions Program. “Evaluators were complimentary of Hawaii’s center, staff and students, and to quote from their report,” she said, “It is training centers like yours that lend essential credibility to the Structured Discovery Process.”

Launched in November 2002, New Visions offers a curriculum of effective blindness skills, methods and techniques that lead to increased self-confidence, empowerment and competitive employment.

The curriculum includes classes in Braille (alternative communication), computer and assistive technology, orientation and mobility, personal and home management, and woodworking.

New Visions serves clients with a range of visual disabilities ranging from no light perception, to reading only large print at a comfortable distance.

The New Visions program requires students to commit to full-time participation in classes that run between 6 and 9 months in duration. Students may request additional skill-building time if it is necessary.

New Visions classes are held on site at Hoopono so consumers can share experiences and engage in peer mentoring and support. Hoopono also leases several nearby apartments for neighbor islander and Pacific Islander students and Oahu students who wish to practice their New Visions program skills in a home setting.
The goal of Hoopono’s Services is to enable people who are blind and low vision, age 14 and older, to attain maximum vocational and functional independence. Consumers work with a team of skilled professionals who provide varied services to meet the participant’s individual needs.

Training can take place in individual homes and communities, or in the New Visions’ Liliha centre.

The State’s Vocational Rehabilitation Division, Hoopono Branch, provides comprehensive services and specialized services to Oahu and neighbor island consumers to meet the varied needs of people who are blind, deafblind or low vision, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion or disability.

There is no fee for services.

For more information on the program, call 808-586-5269 or visit

Source: GAATES