Mission: Associated services for the blind & visually impaired (asb), a private non-profit organization, promotes self-esteem, independence and self-determination in people who are blind or visually impaired. Asb accomplishes this by providing support through education, training and resources, as well as through community action and public education, serving as a voice and advocate for the rights of all people who are blind or visually impaired. Asb produces documents, forms, books, magazines, reports and various other materials to support and educate the blind community. Asb endeavors to support the scientific community involved in relevant research projects by identifying client candidate volunteers, client preparation and client adjustment training.
Programs: Human services division:since its inception in 1983, asb's human services division has provided a broad array of essential services to over 60,000 blind and visually impaired individuals throughout the greater philadelphia region with the goal of promoting greater self-esteem, independence, and self-determination and - most importantly - improving quality of life. Services offered include: personal adjustment to blindness training (pabt), orientation and mobility training, educational/vocational testing and assessment, computer technology training, job readiness training, esl and latino outreach programs, case management, phone friends, gardening, and social and recreational opportunities. Asb's rehabilitation services department is responsible for providing personal adjustment to blindness training program (pabt), orientation and mobility training, educational/vocational assessment, and job readiness training. During fiscal year 2016-17, 36 individuals participated in pabt and orientation and mobility training, receiving one-on-one training in personal and interpersonal communication skills, such as typing, currency identification, and telephone skills; activities of daily living, such as learning to use organizational skills and assistive aids to successfully cook for and dress themselves, perform basic housekeeping, and attend to personal affairs; and instruction in safe and effective navigational skills. Asb's staff psychologist administered educational and/or vocational assessment to 38 individuals in order to assist them in clarifying their academic and career goals as well as identifying their skills, strengths, and areas in need of improvement. The job readiness training program focuses on all aspects of job readiness, including preliminary screening to access strengths/needs; improving essential skills (computer skills, navigation, working well as part of a team), developing resumes, and enhancing interview skills. Asb's job coach draws on our existing network of public, nonprofit and for-profit organizations in order to assist clients in securing meaningful and sustainable employment. During fiscal year 2017, eight individuals achieved gainful, competitive employment as a result of this program.
production braille & alternative formats: for more than eighty-five years, asb's braille division has been providing braille and large print materials for individuals who are blind or visually impaired in an effort to provide information in an accessible format. During fiscal year 2017, the division brailled and proofread more than 77,000 master braille pages and pressed, collated, and bounded over 18 million braille pages. Projects included a total of 100 book titles and 11 magazines under its contract with the national library service for the blind, 22 student textbooks for elementary, secondary, and college level students throughout the united states, and over 70 raised line graphics were produced by braille transcribers for insertion into textbooks and tests. The division also brailled 24 student tests under contracts with various testing institutions; and other items such as cookbooks, brochures, newsletters, signs, and health & recreational materials. A total of 1,600 braille and 3,300 large print statements were produced for banks and utility services. Asb has partnered with comcast to provide the cable giant's channel line-up in both large print and braille for subscribers who have sight impairments. Comcast has also commissioned asb to produce their user guides in both large print and braille. Additionally, asb produces work for the government publishing office, addressing the special needs of their visually impaired customers, as well as the department of treasury, department of defense and the social security administration. Our alternative formats department, formerly the custom braille department, currently has 910 braille books available in twenty different categories in asb's online bookstore. This department also produces traditional recording services for individuals and businesses, locally and nationally, upon request. During fiscal year 2017, the audio section completed more than 260 recordings for new york city's mta, health services organizations and philadelphia's septa transportation services.
specialized social services (grant program) asb's specialized services department provides clients with services that improve their ability to function independently at home, in the workplace, and in the community. During fy 2017, more than 26,000 hours of service were provided to clients through specialized services programs. Services provided include case management, helping clients complete applications for benefits, identifying additional services that fit their needs, etc. ; support groups, such as assertiveness training, men's and women's low vision group, young adults group, and diabetes information and support; and various supportive services such as reading mail, paying bills, and handling correspondence. Asb also provides various levels of life skills education classes in both english and spanish to teach clients skills that help compensate for visual impairments and allow them to remain independent. The computer technology center strives to teach clients how to use adaptive software and hardware to execute essential computer functions. A total of 28 clients, including some individuals from the job readiness training program, received 534 hours of computer technology training in fiscal year 2016-17. Improving computer skills is particularly important for individuals who wish to enter the workforce for the first time. Asb launched its satellite expansion program several years ago in order to make it easier for current and potential clients to secure our services by offering select services at locations closer to their homes. In doing so, we help alleviate transportation and other logistical barriers that would otherwise limit their ability to secure the vital assistance they need. Currently, asb staff provide weekly or monthly life skills and low vision support groups at # locations in the philadelphia area as well as in elkins park, pennsylvania.