A blind woman walking independently with her long white cane.

Camp Bowen’s Foundations of Independence blindness/DeafBlindness skills training program, offered through the COBD Centre on Bowen Island, helps blind, DeafBlind, and low vision adults from across Canada to live independently, using a problem-solving model of instruction called “Structured Discovery.” The program teaches non-visual independence skills and promotes confidence in participants’ own abilities through the use of blind and DeafBlind instructors and leadership. It is the only program of its kind in Canada that offers campus-based, regular, intensive rehabilitation to adults who are blind, DeafBlind, or losing their vision and is accredited by the Commission for the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). COBD is the only national provider of CARF accredited blindness/DeafBlindness skills training.

Anyone in Canada over 18 who is blind or DeafBlind or is experiencing significant vision loss may apply, including those who are experiencing other challenges. A medical referral is not necessary.

Staff offer students individualized instruction, tailored to a student’s unique needs and learning style, while still having a core curriculum. Instructors teach non-visual independence skills including Braille, adaptive technology, cane travel, cooking, home management, and employment skills. They also help students develop positive coping strategies and identify solutions to promote independence in a world that assumes sight. Having blind and DeafBlind instructors boosts the confidence of participants, as they see other blind and DeafBlind people doing things and can then believe in their own ability to do the same.

Traditional training models for people who are blind or DeafBlind involve following fixed methods for completing tasks, which may not prepare them for handling new situations or exploring their world with confidence. In contrast, the Structured Discovery learning method emphasizes problem-solving and self-discovery, enabling participants to manage obstacles more effectively and promoting their belief in their own potential. This approach fosters high expectations and a sense of empowerment for people who are blind or DeafBlind.


There are 3 streams in this program, designed to meet a variety of student needs.

Focus on Braille

The Focus on Braille Stream makes Braille available as a free, stand-alone, virtual class to blind, DeafBlind, and low vision Canadians. This stream is best suited to those who have a basic understanding of the Braille code.

focus on Technology

The Focus on Technology Stream makes technology available as a free, stand-alone, virtual class to blind, DeafBlind, and low vision Canadians. This stream is best suited to students who either have a basic understanding of technology or who would like to upgrade their knowledge with new or advanced software.

Immersion Stream

The Immersion Stream is offered 9 to 5, Monday to Friday, at the COBD Centre on Bowen Island. Students stay in student dorms from September to June and study all the skills necessary to have a successful foundation of independence. Skills include: adaptive technology, Braille, cane travel, cooking, employment and job readiness, and home management.

Apply Today

Please contact us to apply.