Last Updated
May 30, 2022

Students with remaining vision wear learning shades (sleep shades) while learning blindness skills to give them the skills they need to live life independently regardless of if their vision level changes. This has the added benefit of teaching students to rely on their other senses which may help to preserve their remaining vision as they will not strain their eyes. Unless an exemption has been granted by the Program and Student Affairs Coordinator or their designate, students with remaining vision will be expected to wear the learning shades while learning blindness skills, but the student has the right to remove the learning shades if they become overly anxious or overwhelmed. The training session will only continue with the student if the student chooses to resume wearing the learning shades. However, instructors may work with another student in their class during this time.

PTC will provide the student’s first long white cane to them free of charge.

PTC will adapt training in the core blindness skill areas to meet the needs of DeafBlind students, working with partners such as the Island Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre, when indicated and agreed upon by the student.

Best Practice:

Cane Travel

  • The student will be fitted with a long white cane.
  • The student will be oriented to the indoor facilities using the long white cane.
  • The student will demonstrate good balance (unless generally unable to balance) and cane techniques before outdoor training commences.
  • Initial outdoor travel training sessions will be conducted one-on-one.
  • The student will be told never to step backwards but to turn on the spot and proceed forwards.
  • The travel trainer will discuss potential risks with the student and they will determine together when a student is ready to assume those risks. Risk assessment results are documented in the Individual Service Plan.
  • The student will participate in travel activities to master the skills outlined on the Cane Travel Checklist.


  • For non-Braille readers, the student will initially participate in tactile activities which will improve their sense of touch.
  • Uncontracted Braille will be taught initially using the Braille blocks and pegs, progressing to smaller representations of the Braille letters (Braille key chain, nail board) and then to regular sized Braille on plastic paper progressing from letters and rows triple/double spaced to regular spacing. The student then moves on to reading regular Braille on regular Braille paper, first double spaced and then single spaced and to words and sentances, Braille articles and stories, and a Braille novel.
  • Customized Braille learning materials will be developed (e.g. jumbo Braille) if the student has a disability that prevents them from reading standard Braille. This should be viewed as a last resort and alternative Braille reading techniques, such as the use of non-standard fingers, should first be attempted.
  • The student will participate in Braille activities to master the skills outlined on the Braille Skills Checklist.
  • Other materials will be used for students who already read Braille but need to upgrade to Unified ENglish Braille.


  • A Technology Assessment will be carried out for each student.
  • The student will be assisted to access resources to acquire the technology they require, where possible. If a student cannot access the assistive technologies they need, PTC will loan them technology for use during training, availability permitting.
  • Technology training will be provided in order for the student to master the technology skills outlined on the Technology Skills Checklist.

Cooking/Home Management

  • The student will participate in activities to enable them to master the skills outlined on the Home Management Skills Checklists.
  • The trainer will discuss the potential risks involved with the preparation of food and teach techniques to minimize these risks.

Community and Employment

  • The student will participate in activities, discussions and one-on-one coaching to master the skills outlined on the Community and Employment Checklist.

Other Resources

PTC will provide information to students about, and consult with, the following service providers and potentially others to enhance blindness/DeafBlindness skills training to blind/DeafBlind students with additional disabilities.

All British Columbia:

  • Spinal Cord Injury BC
  • Community Living BC

Bowen Island:

  • Caring Circle
  • Bowen Integrated Health
  • COBD: Bowen Island Accessibility Group

Vancouver Island:

  • Victoria Disability Resource Centre
  • Victoria Brain Injury Society
  • Victoria Learning Disability Resource Centre
  • Vancouver Island Autistic Home Society
  • Seniors Serving Seniors