|The Palo Alto Art Center premiered their new exhibit, The Art of Disability Culture, on Saturday September 11. Among the beautiful works of art, the splashes of color, rich textures, and intricate sculptures, you’ll find multi-media tactile paintings by blind artist Catherine Chong.
After a retinal detachment and failed surgeries to repair the damage to her retinas in 2018, Catherine took steps towards learning how to adapt to low vision. Those steps led Catherine to LightHouse and we wanted to find out more.
How did you first hear about LightHouse?
“My elderly aunt and mentor in San Francisco had a blind daughter. Her daughter went to Enchanted Hills Camp every summer and therefore they suggested I call LightHouse. [LightHouse Rehabilitation Counselor] Debbie Bacon gave me a thorough skillful interview to find just the right programs for me. I went to Enchanted Hills Camp where I got an introduction to blindness. Initially, I was so frightened. Robert Alimana gave me my first hope of independence with orientation & mobility skills and Divina Carlson taught me Braille. [Access Technology Trainer] Jeff Buckwalter trained me on the Victor Reader so I could record lectures and read books for my schooling.”
After strengthening her independence through the kindness and expertise of LightHouse staff and educators, Catherine had the abilities and confidence to rediscover her lifelong passion—art.
“Since kindergarten, I was drawn to work with my hands. When outside recess would start, I would hide among the easels and pots of paint rather than the prejudice of the schoolyards where I could not catch balls. Throughout my life, I have practiced art-making and have acquired many skills like academic western painting, sculpture, photography, traditional Asian painting and calligraphy.”
What is your preferred art medium?
“Acrylic painting with lots of different mediums such as rough, smooth, bumpy, glass beads and collage for texture. Tactile Paintings! Or sometimes I call them Sensitive Painting. Learning to read Braille was what inspired me to create tactile art.”
What are your inspirations?
“Humans who have gifted us with wisdom and compassion. My teachers at the LightHouse. Anything is possible. Any beings who have connected humans, animals, or ecology. As a child, my life was filled with beautiful images of saints, stain glass and sacred architecture. As an adult who studied Buddhism, I am touched by Asian stories of the beauty hidden in the ordinary and simplicity.”
Is there anything unique or special about your artistic process?
“I am not trying to imitate the natural world. Color as symbol and emotion is more important to me. I hope the viewer feels lightened, inspired, and can see themselves in my paintings. The images are the viewer’s reflection of their own true nature. I think the most surprising process for me is using different kinds of light while creating. I have a spot of vision in the outer corner of my left eye, but alas it is only for a few hours a day. Then I have to rest my eyes. So, I have resorted to soft light like candles or lanterns for much of the painting and bright light for short bursts of time when needed. I trace outlines on computers screens or make tactile swell paper images for patterns or stencils. I use string, tape, wiki sticks, even cake decorating tools to make thick tactile lines to help me feel borders. I do put large letters or numbers in the paintings. Sometimes they are upside down to denote mystery or ignorance. Braille meditation teachings in clear plastic are also embedded in most paintings.“
Learn more about Catherine’s art by visiting her website, Lecce-chongartist.com. Follow Catherine on Instagram @Leccechongartist where she posts photos of finished art as well as her process in creating the individual pieces. You can also, of course, attend The Art of Disability Culture show at the Palo Alto Art Center, in personal or virtually, until December 11.
You’re invited to The Art of Disability Culture: Artists with Disabilities Dispelling Myths, Dissolving Barriers, and Disrupting Prejudice, running September 11 through December 11 at the Palo Alto Art Center in Palo Alto California. This exhibit celebrates the “diverse, personal, and infinitely varied disability experience.”
There are several blind people among the 20 artists whose work is featured in the exhibit: From tactile paintings created during the height of the pandemic by Catherine Lecce-Chong, to an audio comic by Chad Allen, to ceramics by Don Katz, to a site-specific environmental installation by Jennifer Justice, to a healing labyrinth installation by Maia Scott, to a large-scale sculpture made from discarded materials by Matthaus Lam.
The exhibition will feature audio description which will be available for all works of art onsite and on the website. There will also be Braille labels. Public programs will include American Sign Language interpretation and live captioning and social narratives will be available online for visitors with autism. The art center is also wheelchair accessible.
There are two free public programs both with in-person and virtual options. The programs will include American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation and live captioning. The Palo Alto Art Center facility is fully wheelchair accessible.
Friday Night at the Art Center Opening reception
September 17 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Join us onsite or virtually for this unique hybrid and accessible celebration of The Art of Disability Culture. This event will feature in-person and virtual exhibition walkthroughs, a chance to hear from exhibiting artists, hands-on art activities, a spoken word performance by award-winning author Joy Elan, and a specialty cocktail (Reasonable Accommodation) and bar provided by the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation.
Event will be hosted onsite and online. Register for the September 17 Art of Disability Culture event.
Community Day Celebration
Sunday, October 10, 2021, noon to 4:00 pm
Learn more about The Art of Disability Culture exhibition in this unique hybrid community day celebration. Participate in exhibition walkthroughs with the curator; enjoy hands-on art activities; an introduction by Northern California’s only stuttering female comedian Nina G; gallery activities; Canine Companions, a performance by Bay Area native, African, Indigenous, Deaf, Disabled, Producer, Choreographer, Actor, and Dancer Antoine Hunter; and Mozzeria, the Deaf-owned Neapolitan pizza truck.
Event will be hosted onsite and online; online registration links: Register for the October 0 Art of Disability Culture event.
LightHouse is excited to partner with SciAccess Initiative for the launch of a new program, Mission: AstroAccess. This is a program designed to bring diversity and inclusion to the STEM field in a study that will consist of a group of ten disabled people that will participate in a historic zero gravity parabolic flight. The flight’s blind, low vision, Deaf, and disabled volunteers will complete targeted tasks during the flight to help answer basic questions about how disabled people can safely and accessibly live and work in space.
“Space is not just part of humanity’s future – it is a place where we can rethink life on earth today,” says Mission: AstroAccess project lead, George Whitesides. “With this flight we hope to lay the foundation for future disabled space explorers.”
The goal of this mission is to bring together the largest and most diverse group of disabled crew members in a weightless environment, with the hopes to learn how to adapt and make accessible outer-space travel for disabled space explorers, scientists, and researchers. The Mission: AstroAccess parabolic flight is scheduled to take place on October 17, 2021, launching from Long Beach, California.
“Our mission is to change outer space and change the world. If you are a disabled person who is confident, enthusiastic, playful, and literally willing to float upside down to change the future, we are looking for you!” says Dr. Sheri Wells-Jensen, Associate Professor of Linguistics at Bowling Green State University.
So, what else does it take to be a participant in Mission: AstroAccess? You must be eighteen years of age or older, a speaker of English or American Sign Language, a resident of the United States, and you must be blind, low vision, Deaf, and/or someone who identifies as disabled. Applications are now open and will be accepted through August 15. Mission: AstroAccess will be hosting an informational webinar for all of those interested in applying for a mission slot on July 21. Until then, you can find more information about Mission: AstroAccess on the project website.
“This partnership is the first step in making the people who explore space look like all Americans,” said LightHouse CEO Bryan Bashin. “Blind people have been explorers, scientists and communicators for millennia, and Mission: AstroAccess and the LightHouse for the Blind – San Francisco will help move our contributions into space.”
We are excited and proud to be part of this inclusive change to the STEM field, and encourage all of our students, friends, and mentors within the blind community to apply for a mission slot. Together, the blind community can help make space inclusive and accessible for all.
For more information about the work that SciAccess Initiative does, please visit the SciAccess website. You can apply for a participant slot for Mission: Astro Access by following this link.
San Francisco’s LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State are proud to announce the lineup for this year’s Superfest Disability Film Festival.
Join us on October 20 at The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life in Berkeley and on October 21 the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco for the best in unapologetic, accessible and cutting edge disability film.
Superfest is the longest running disability film festival in the world. Since it first debuted as a small Los Angeles showcase in 1970, it has become an eagerly anticipated international event. The festival is one of the few in the world to provide an accessible film experience to disabled filmgoers of all kinds.
Each judge for Superfest is a member of the disability community, and they ground our festival in the values and ambitions of a progressive, Bay Area-driven disability ethos. The jury is comprised of filmographers, disability rights advocates, community organizers and award-winning creatives. They choose the submissions based on standards of artistry, portrayal of disability and ingenuity.
Superfest features films from five continents which highlight a range of experiences of people living with disabilities through a variety of genres and formats. From observational documentary to action to stop motion, we have films which will entertain, educate and promote discussion on disabilities.
Announcing the 2018 Superfest Lineup
Stumped (US, 2017), Documentary Short, Best of Festival – Short (25 minutes)
Climber Maureen Beck is not here to be your inspiration. She was born missing her lower left arm, but that hasn’t stopped her from going hard. “I don’t want to just be a good one-armed climber,” says Maureen. “I want to be a good climber.”
Still Tomorrow (China, 2016), Documentary, Best of Festival – Feature (1 hour 23 minutes)
Yu Xiuhua is a village woman with cerebral palsy, who became China’s most well-known poet in 2015. Her 20-year-long arranged marriage has become the biggest pain in her life. Through her poems, she contemplates her fate and writes about her body and her desire for true love.
Stim (US, 2017), Documentary Short, P.K. Walker Innovation in Craft Award (7 minutes)
An artistic ode to the practice of stimming, or self-stimulatory behavior, the repetition of physical movements or sounds, or repetitive movement of objects.
Who Am I To Stop It (US, 2017), Documentary Short, Disability Justice Award (30 minutes)
This semi-observational documentary explores isolation, art and transformation after brain injury. Through cinéma vérité, the film follows Dani Sanderson, a poet and beat boxer, as she navigates autonomy, relationships, and questions of family, queer sexuality and faith.
To Know Him (UK, 2018), Dramatic Short (28 minutes)
When a tragic accident leaves Sarah grieving for her deaf partner Rob, she is forced to track down and engage with his estranged hearing father. To lay the man she loves to rest, Sarah must overcome a barrier far greater than language.
Making Waves (Australia, 2017), Documentary Short (6 minutes)
Max McAuley is a young, professional dancer with Down Syndrome. In this story, Max is the principal dancer in a choreographed work that is inspired by the watery world of his dreams.
Just Go! (Latvia, 2017), Action Short (11 minutes)
Inspired by the true story about a young man, Just, who lost both of his legs in a childhood accident. At age 24, he is in love with the girl next door, and through an action-packed series of events, the film proves that looks can be deceiving.
Gaelynn Lea – The Songs We Sing (US, 2017), Documentary Short (11 minutes)
Minnesota violinist and disability rights advocate Gaelynn Lea travels the upper Midwest on tour, experiencing the ups and downs of the road while hustling hard to make it as a performer and artist.
This Is Normal (US, 2014), Dramatic Short (19 minutes)
A young deaf woman undergoes an experimental medical procedure that is supposed to “cure” her of her deafness and give her the ability to hear. Despite the controversy, Gwen risks her friends, culture and identity to discover the answer to the question, “Is it worth giving up who you’ve been for who you could become?”
Journey to the Miracle Man (Sweden/Brazil, 2018), Documentary Feature (1 hour 5 minutes)
With as much hope as doubt, Fabian and Lisa travel on a journey that will change their worldview. But is the Miracle Man (John of God) the savior everyone is talking about? And do they need to believe to be healed?
Kū Kanaka/Stand Tall (US, 2016), Documentary Short (28 minutes)
When 15-year-old Kanalu Young takes a dive into shallow water, he becomes quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down. Angry and defiant through months of rehabilitation, he begins to change when he learns the Hawaiian language, and discovers an untold story of Hawaiian history.
Stopgap in Stop Motion (UK, 2017), Animated Short (5 minutes)
Photographs of performers in a disabled and non-disabled dance company come to life. The individual artists dance out of the photos and across table tops until the whole company meets and performs in unison.
Access at Superfest
As always, Superfest will be furnished with a wide range of accessible accommodations: audio description, open captions, ASL interpretation, audience-integrated wheelchair seating, close-up seating for people with low vision or who are deaf or hard of hearing, a chemical free and scent free area set back from rest of audience, a place to retreat, gender neutral restrooms, easy access to public transportation including BART and MUNI, and ramp access to the stage.
Live today at LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired: A workshop about how to save money while still receiving benefits.
Please join the FDIC, the World Institute on Disability, LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the Independent Living Resource Center in San Francisco for a Forum on Banking & Financial Stability for People with Disabilities. This is a presentation about economic empowerment and how individuals with disabilities can save money through the Cal ABLE account program.
Join us at LightHouse for the Blind on January 12 at 6:30 p.m. for an open community discussion about sex and intimacy. Through this conversation, we hope to challenge the common misconception that having a disability diminishes one’s sexuality. This panel will create a safe place for people of all abilities to come together and proudly claim that having a disability is a natural and normal enhancement of the human experience.
Who: Members of disability communities and their loved ones, disability rights advocates and allies, members of the professional communities who serve the disabled (e.g. educators, health care professionals, social workers etc.), sexual health and disability scholars, and anyone else who is interested. Must be 18+ years old to attend.
When: January 12, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Where: LightHouse Headquarters, 1155 Market St., 10th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103
Cost: Free to Attend.
This conversation is an opportunity to come together and discuss how we can challenge the harmful stereotypes and misunderstandings about disability, disability rights and sexuality. This panel features an incredible lineup of panelists who are all disabled. Many work and/or volunteer their time to promote and educate their communities to improve the sexual rights of individuals with disabilities. See a list of panelists and read their bios below.
Panelists will have the opportunity to share their own experiences, talk about their work and the topics they are passionate about. The remainder of the time will be allotted to and an audience Q&A to invite a community dialogue. We expect people from all walks of life to attend this event and for the conversation to cover a wide range of informative and educational topics. Please note that the conversation is adult in nature and so we are restricting the space to adults age 18 and over.
Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to explore the impact of ableism on sexuality and the disabled. Come prepared to ask questions, and learn different ways to promote sexual freedom and expression as a human right for all people regardless of their abilities.
To register for this event please e-mail Laura Millar at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 415-431-1481.
Laura Millar, MPH, M.A.
Laura Millar is LightHouse for the Blind’s Program Coordinator for Sexual Health Services. Legally blind herself with a Master of Public Health as well as a Masters in Sexuality Studies, she conducts research that examines how individuals with vision loss learn about and navigate the world of dating, sex and intimate relationships. Millar offers workshops, trainings and in-services for individuals who are blind or have low vision, their family members and the organizations that serve them, ensuring that sexual health information and services are comprehensive, inclusive and accessible for everyone.
Rafe Eric Biggs, PhD
Rafe Eric Biggs, PhD, is the founder of Sexability, an organization committed to transforming sexuality and disability. He is a sexual health educator working with people with disabilities and healthcare professionals who support them. He earned his Masters and Doctorate in Organizational Psychology from Alliant International University and is a member of American Society of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists (ASSECT).
In 2004 Biggs had a life altering experience. While traveling on spiritual retreat in India, he fell from a building and broke his neck. In an instant, he became a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the chest down.
For the last decade he has counseled individuals and educated healthcare professionals on sexuality and disability including San Francisco State University, Alliant International University, UC Berkeley and Alta Bates Hospital. He started the Sexuality and Disability Support Group at the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley, CA.
Biggs was featured on the TLC show Strange Sex Surrogate Manhood. He is an expert on non-genital orgasms and has been featured in Huffington Post, The Sun, International Business Times, and Chat Magazine. He can be contacted at email@example.com and is based in Berkeley, CA.
Ligia Andrade (Zuniga), M.A.
Ligia Andrade Zuniga, M.A., is dedicated to educating and empowering individuals living with disabilities on various aspects of independent living, particularly in the area of sexuality. She is a Director and Sexuality and Disability Educator for Sexability, an organization providing sexuality education to individuals with disabilities.
Andrade holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services with an emphasis in Administration and Counseling, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California. She became interested in sexuality and disability seven and a half years ago after realizing there was very limited information, accessibility and support available regarding sexuality for quadriplegic women living with spinal cord injury, specifically for young women of color and women in the Latino Spanish-speaking community.
Andrade acquired a spinal cord injury in 2009 following an automobile accident and has since been actively and deeply involved in the community advocating for individuals with disabilities. She has been a peer supporter for seven years through the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Spinal Cord Injury Peer Support Program. For the past three years Andrade has served as a Commissioner for the San Mateo County Commission on Disabilities where she chairs the Legislation, Outreach, and Advocacy Committee, and is the Treasurer for the Board of Directors of the Center for Independence of Individuals with Disabilities (CID). She also chairs the San Mateo County Public Authority Advisory Committee, and also serves on the San Mateo County Cal-Medi Connect Advisory Committee. Ligia recently joined the United Spinal Association, where she co-chairs the Employment Committee on the Advocacy Alliance.
Alex Ghenis is a long-time Berkeley resident, disability activist, researcher and educator. In his freshman year at UC Berkeley, Alex co-founded the “Are Cripples Screwed?” panel discussions with his close friend, Kash Moore, and has been speaking about sex and disability for the past 10 years since.
Ghenis was also the dating and relationship columnist “Axel Grande” for National Spinal Cord Injury Association’s Life in Action magazine, where he covered topics including meeting people and “getting physical.” His goal is to help people with disabilities have better understanding of our own sexuality – and educate the entire public so that we are viewed as sexy and worthy of love.
Kevin Mintz, Ph.D.
Kevin Todd Mintz is a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at Stanford University. He holds an AB in Government from Harvard College, an MSc in Political Theory from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Doctorate of Human Sexuality from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. His Ph.D. dissertation, Sex-Positive Political Theory: Pleasure, Power, Public Policy, and the Pursuit of Sexual Liberation, focuses on developing a justification for political institutions and civil society taking proactive roles in promoting sexual liberties.
His research interests include the application of sexology to political theory, LGBTQi activism and disability politics.
Senya Hawkins, M.A., MFTi
Senya Hawkins, M.A, MFTi, is a registered marriage and family therapist intern with a master’s degree in psychology. He currently works as the Assistant Director of Progress Foundation’s Supported Living Program. Hawkins’ areas of expertise include systems change social-psychology, vocational rehabilitation, gender and sexuality. He also facilitates groups and workshops on the topics of sex and disability, social and vocational skill building, diversity and managing disabilities in the workplace (www.senyahawkins.com). Hawkins is in the process of finishing his final exams for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist.
Hawkins is dedicated to demystifying sexuality and providing information about sex and gender to groups who are often under-educated on these subjects. His goal is to help increase accessibility in bedrooms and communities by encouraging communities to become more aware, more empathetic, more experienced and more knowledgeable about sexuality and gender.
Robin Wilson-Beattie is a disability and sexuality health educator and writer, teaching the world to embrace and explore your sexuality, regardless of ability. She is a member of the Association of American Sexual Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT), the Women of Color Sexual Health Network (WOCSHN), and a certified graduate and member of the San Francisco Sexuality Information Training (SFSI).
Wilson-Beattie has been involved in sexuality education and awareness since high school. After acquiring a physical disability, she began speaking on sexuality and disability topics and issues in 2008. She consults with individuals and organizations on issues of adaptive sexual support, and has had written articles and curriculum on this subject. Wilson-Beattie is a nationally recognized self and systems disability advocate. She is a deep-fried Southern girl, Sex Geek, comic book nerd, mid-century buff and proud Mama of one amazing daughter. Find her on Twitter @SexAbled, or like sexAbled on Facebook.
Now that we’ve recovered, the LightHouse wants to thank everyone involved in this year’s Superfest Film Festival and share some great photos from the event. For the full photo album with descriptions, head over to our Facebook page.
Thanks to everyone who came out both days, thanks to Pixar for being there to so graciously accept their award, thanks to the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University for being the best co-producers ever. Thanks to the Contemporary Jewish Museum and the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life for hosting us, and thank you to all the incredible filmmakers who joined us for the weekend. Can’t wait to do it even bigger and better next year!
Photo below: Pixar Academy Award®-winner Jonas Rivera and Paul Cichocki smile from the front row at Superfest on Saturday, shortly before receiving the Superfest Producer’s Award for the advancement of disability and film.
POSITION: Producer, LightHouse Media
REPORTS TO: Director of Communications
Founded in 1902, San Francisco’s LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired promotes the independence, equality and self-reliance of people who are blind or have low vision. We offer blindness skills training and relevant services such as access to employment, education, government, information, recreation, transportation and the environment. We also pursue the development of new technology, encourage innovation, and amplify the voices of blind individuals around the world.
The LightHouse is seeking a media professional to edit and guide production of the LightHouse’s website, newsletters, social media, and overall online presence. This producer will serve as the LightHouse’s online voice, and community manager; informing, engaging and mobilizing our local and global audiences by publishing stories, announcements and useful information through our channels on a consistent and daily basis.
An editor-producer who can master the foundational tasks of copyediting, maintaining our website, email outreach and social media properties will find significant room for growth in our new Communications department as we pursue an ambitious slate of video, audio, and photo projects. Communications is a small, agile team where each individual is expected to think creatively, produce steadily, and be prepared to juggle deadlines.
Education or equivalent: College degree in digital arts, design, journalism or a closely related field. Four years of relevant work experience may be substituted for educational expectation.
Experience: Has been paid to write or tell stories; Can copyedit like a machine, or better; Can publish in WordPress and MailChimp; Can take edits and want to become an even better writer; Has a basic aptitude for Adobe Creative Cloud.
Other: Obsessed with social media and its evolution; love podcasts and radio; willing to follow web accessibility best practices and official guidelines (read about WCAG); know the disability community – or if not, are fully prepared to research, get acquainted and interact; enjoy meeting people and talking to them; committed to supporting marginalized communities.
An ideal candidate might also:
- Have a background in journalism, research and reporting
- Be familiar with public relations / publicity
- Know how to record and edit audio
- Know how to record and edit video
- Have a mind for advertising
Able to sit at a desk and perform computer-intensive work for long periods of time; operate standard office equipment; move 20lbs independently.
On a daily basis, the Producer will:
- Write, collect and edit LightHouse announcements
- Copyedit all written work intended for public consumption
- Maintain LightHouse newsletters and listservs
- Interact on LightHouse and Enchanted Hills Camp social media: answer questions, engage people, and increase our following
- Update and edit the LightHouse calendar
- Check in with other LightHouse’s departments about new announcements and opportunities
In addition to the above duties, a qualified Producer may also:
- Dream up new ideas for stories
- Produce audio and video content
- Crop and edit photos
- Organize media assets
- Improve the functionality and design of our WordPress site
- Support and collaborate with LightHouse’s Creative and Brand Manager
- Attend events
LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired is an equal opportunity employer to all. We strive to maintain a scent-free environment and a drug-free workplace. We also operate under a mutual “employment at will” policy.
Please submit a cover letter and résumé as Word attachments (no .PDFs please), to firstname.lastname@example.org, including the job title in the subject line. Please include a link to any relevant clips or portfolio pieces. Due to time constraints we will only respond to complete submissions in which there is serious interest; thanks for your understanding.
It’s no secret: When it comes to representations of disability, Hollywood has its foibles. From characters who flounder, flinch, flake, or fully mis-represent a whole population of persons with disabilities, we are used to seeing films that are less than accurate. That’s one of the reasons the LightHouse is proud to present Superfest: International Disability Film Festival, now in its thirtieth year, to promote the films that make you think differently about people who are different.
“The Dissies” was originally started at Superfest 2013 as our answer to the disabled film characters who, frankly, sucked – the biggest stinkers, if you will. This year, we’re bringing it back with a whole fresh bunch of bad ones, and we want you to vote. For the full info and ballot, head over to the Longmore Institute, who are hosting the voting process.
POSITION: Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist
REPORTS TO: Director of Rehabilitation Services
The Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS) is responsible for teaching orientation and mobility to blind, low-vision and deaf-blind adults & seniors from diverse backgrounds. In providing orientation and mobility instruction, the COMS will conduct assessments and provide training which reflects recent and progressive travel and orientation techniques and trends, focusing on student’s travel needs in the home, work and community. The COMS must have the ability to assess and teach to differing skill levels, as well as to train on varied mobility devices and options such as; monocular use, purpose-built GPS, BrailleNote GPS, Seeing eye GPS, BlindSquare, Google Maps, Audible Pedestrian Signals and the Lighthouse’s very own tactile maps of public streets, transit hubs, and public spaces.
Flexibility and ‘thinking outside the box’ is essential to this position. The COMS must be able to work with and provide information and training to family and friends, community members, volunteers and service providers and effectively communicate and collaborate with referral agencies in providing services to shared students. The duties of the COMS may include (but are not limited to): conducting of assessments, writing individual training plans with the student, and facilitating individual and group instruction as needed. Orientation and mobility instruction may occur on-site, in the home, workplace or the student’s community, including travel on all forms of San Francisco Bay Area-wide public transportation and Paratransit.
The COMS must be flexible working throughout the greater San Francisco Bay Area, including periodic week-long training from the LightHouse North Coast office in Eureka, and able to travel as far south as Monterey and Salinas. Additionally, week-long seminar training may happen up to four times per year at Enchanted Hills Camp and Retreat. Training may occur in either urban or rural settings. The COMS may also be asked to teach and assess for urgent and basic daily living skills. The COMS is a professional within the Lighthouse Rehabilitation Team, sharing resources, recommendations and referrals.
Education or equivalent: Master’s Degree with specialty in Orientation and Mobility, & Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP) Certified – OR – Minimum of a BA Degree in Rehabilitation Services; or a related degree with National Orientation and Mobility Certification (NOMC) from the National Blindness Professional Certification Board (NBPCB).
Experience: A minimum of three years teaching Orientation and Mobility preferred A history of teaching basic independent living skills (home-to-work skills) with adults and/ or seniors necessary.
Intern supervision experience preferred; the LightHouse works with San Francisco State University and the intention is to provide supervised intern placement within LightHouse on an annual basis.
Other: Fluency in a language other than English is very helpful. Multicultural teaching experience preferred; excellent verbal and written communication skills; strong interpersonal skills in order to relate to staff, blind and visually-impaired students, and persons in the community with varied backgrounds and viewpoints.
An ability to formulate individual, sequential training plans. Knowledge of Braille desired.
Ability to teach in rain, cold, heat and other inclement conditions.
- Assess individual needs of students and set goals for instruction.
- Provide training under training shade as necessary or recommended.
- Provide professionally-written student assessments, goal development, and training summaries / recommendations, on a monthly basis to all third-party contracting sources (such as the Department of Rehabilitation, Veterans Administration and Regional Center).
- Maintain weekly and monthly database entries regarding units of service provided to students, along with notes, goal-planning and reports for all direct services provided.
- Act as Agency liaison in traffic, community transportation services and auditory signal issues or projects as requested.
- Provide cane travel, route travel with dog guide users & teams and human guide instruction.
- Develop and create maps for students as necessary; provide training in the use of tactile maps.
- Maintain updated information regarding Paratransit programs, providing registration assistance and training in the programs as necessary.
- Participate in Agency public outreach and education as requested.
- Provide orientation and route training in all environments and on various forms of public transit.
- Assess for and teach basic and essential independent living skills to blind and low-vision students such as labeling, money organization, use of an ATM, and home safety practices.
- Provide assessment and training in independent living strategies that impact personal safety.
- Provide assessment and training in independent living strategies which provide choice and independence in completing tasks in the home, volunteer work and employment.
- Facilitate or co-facilitate classes, including our Changing Visions, Changing Lives immersion cohort and community workshops.
- Initiate outreach, training and collaboration with local universities and school’s disabled student programs, in providing campus orientation.
- Conduct student home safety assessments and community agency environmental evaluations.
- Provide consultation and/or training to staff in community agencies regarding environmental modifications and strategies in working with persons who are blind or low-vision.
- Attend and participate in All-Staff meetings, monthly Consumer Review and departmental meetings (Rehabilitation Services).
- Complete requisite documentation in a timely manner.
- Ensure all publicity materials have first been approved by the Director of Rehabilitation Services.
- Completely and accurately record student information in the proprietary LightHouse client database.
- Complete monthly billing on a timely basis (by the first of each month).
- Maintain timely communication and responses to clients (within 48 hours of referral).
- Maintain professional communication via e-mail and voice mail on a timely and ongoing basis.
LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired is an equal opportunity employer to all. We strive to maintain a scent-free environment and a drug-free workplace. We also operate under a mutual “employment at will” policy.
Please submit a cover letter and résumé as Word attachments (no .PDFs please), to email@example.com, including the job title in the subject line. We will not consider videos or hyperlinks to online profiles. Due to time constraints we will only respond to complete submissions in which there is serious interest; thanks for your understanding.