How Our Programs Have Evolved

PTCB’s programs have changed over time as we continue to develop new ways to structure our training, learn about new best practices in the field of blindness/Deafblindness skills training, and support our students in meeting their ever-changing needs. When cleaning up the website we noticed that there were several pages that listed details for programs PTCB used to run that have been merged into the Blind People in Charge program over time. We thought it would be useful to round them up and present them below to help website visitors to understand how our programs have evolved over time.

Home Stay

What Was It?

The PTCB conducted a multi-year Home Stay pilot program, the purpose of which was to demonstrate the effectiveness of live-in intensive training in blindness skills. The program billeted individuals residing outside of the Greater Victoria area with Home Stay families while they trained at PTCB. Although the model of using Home Stay families was found to be unsustainable long-term, this pilot program was extremely successful in proving that intensive, live-in training in blindness skills has a lasting positive impact on program recipients. This insight served as one of the inspirations for the Bowen Island Recreation, Training and Meeting Centre.

The first graduate of the Home Stay Program, who graduated in June 2018, has since journeyed to and worked in India and has also travelled to Italy independently. The second and third graduates of the pilot program have also gone on to live full and independent lives.

What Replaced It?

As of December 2019, this program has been replaced by the Out of Town Stream of the Blind People In Charge program. The Out of Town Stream will in turn be replaced by the Immersion Stream of the Blind People In Charge program when the Bowen Island Recreation, Training and Meeting Centre opens. The Immersion Stream will be a merger of the Out of Town Stream and the Core Stream, along with the Camp Bowen Society’s ILS Training Program.

Skills Focused

What Was It?

The Skills Focused Program was a pared-down version of the Blind People in Charge Program that provided specific non-visual training to blind, deafblind and low vision adults in Grater Victoria; these students required focused learning in one specific area of blindness skills, such as how to use a talking computer, how to use an iPhone with Voiceover, or how to read Braille. These students usually were not able to make the full commitment to the Blind People in Charge Program, or they already had most skills and just needed to focus on a certain area

The PTCB had been providing this program informally since the centre’s inception in 2013; however, the program was later more formalized before being replaced altogether with the Focused Stream) of the Blind People In Charge program.

As in all PTCB programs, students were self-referred, a medical referral was not required. Students were encouraged to commit to attending the program for a 1 or 2 hour training session once a week.

Students identified the specific skill they were wanting and ready to learn. From this discussion, the student, with support from a staff member, determined general goals and specific objectives, which guided lesson planning.

Instructors delivered training one-on-one, or in group sessions, and they taught using the centre structured discovery model of teaching, where students are encourage to problem solve and to take charge of their own lives and learning

As in all PTCB programs, students wore learning shades during training sessions to help build confidence and encourage the use of other senses.

What Replaced It?

As of April 2020, this program has been replaced by the Focused Stream of the Blind People In Charge program.

Blind Young Adults in Charge/Blind Seniors in Charge

What Was It?

These programs were pilots to explore serving young adults and seniors in programs separate from the main adult Blind People in Charge program. Each of the programs was tailored to the needs and interests of its respective age group, with activities planned accordingly. Ultimately, we found that students actually preferred and got more out of a learning environment with students of diverse ages. For example, senior students really liked asking the younger students questions about technology. On the other hand, younger students found the lived experience of older students made them great role models.

What Replaced It?

Based on the feedback we received from participants in these programs and our observations, we ended up merging these programs back into the main Blind People in Charge program. However, that isn’t to say that we learned nothing from the process. Many of the activities developed for the young adults and seniors are activities we will still use with students who fall into those age groups, we will just do it as part of the main Blind People in Charge program alongside the activities we were already doing in that program. This means that the Blind People in Charge program can better cater to students of all ages and for that we are really grateful to have had the opportunity to explore different ways of presenting our programs.

Wrapping Up

Programs will continue to evolve, especially as we work on plans for the Bowen Island Recreation, Training and Meeting Centre. In the meantime, we will continue to communicate with you about where we are going and hope you will be along for the ride.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out.