OTC Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

An instructor and a student work on adaptive skills in the kitchen.

What are “adaptive skills for vision loss?”
People who are blind or have low vision use adaptive techniques and skills to accommodate vision loss.  These skills include using Braille and specialized computer software, traveling with a white cane, cooking and cleaning.  Adaptive skills enable people with disabilities to be independent and successful in the home, in school, on the job, and in their communities.

How do I know if the OTC will be right for me?
The OTC provides intensive instruction in a wide range of skill areas, with a focus on developing competence and confidence.  The OTC offers both full- and part-time educational opportunities for adults who may be new to learning the adaptive skills or who just need a refresher.

What if I don’t live in Seattle?
Students who live outside of a daily commuting distance may want to live in one of our eight residential apartments, located two miles away from the center.  The OTC funds the cost of rent and basic utilities during full-time training.

Can I be a part-time student?
Yes, however, part-time students do not have the option of staying at our residential facility and must be able to commute daily.

What does the OTC require of commuting students?

  • Medical Management.  Participants must be able to meet their own personal medical needs.
  • Personal Care. Participants must be able to meet their own personal care needs, such as dressing, grooming, bathing, eating properly, toileting, etc., unless restricted by another disability.
  • Permanent Residence. All participants must have a permanent residence while attending the OTC Program.
  • General Criminal History Record Check. All prospective students of the OTC must undergo and pass a fingerprint-based Criminal History Records Information (CHRI) check before being admitted to the OTC.

What does the OTC require of residential students?
All of the same requirements as commuting students (listed above) and:

  • Personal Items.  Residential students provide their own personal items such as clothing, hygiene products, bedding, bath linens, and hangers for clothing.
  • Cleanliness and Maintence. Students will purchase cleaning supplies and will maintain the condition of their apartments, furniture, and fixtures.

How long can I expect to be in the program?
The OTC runs on a seven-week term cycle. The length of stay in the program depends on the level of skills needed by the student and how quickly the student moves through the curriculum. Length may vary from just one term to four or five terms.

What classes does the OTC offer?

  • Home Management—cleaning, clothing care, meal planning and preparation
  • Braille
  • Computers
  • Orientation and Mobility (O&M)—learning non-visual skills for traveling with a white cane
  • Home Maintenance
  • Career Class
  • Note-Taking
  • Seminar Classes

For more information, visit the OTC’s Classes page.

How long does each class last?
Each class typically runs one to two hours per day, depending on the needs of the student and the nature of the curriculum.

What if I am interested in intensive training but can’t attend the regular seven-week term?
The OTC offers two training opportunities for adults interested in employment.

  • Intensive Workshops
    For those customers who cannot attend the regular seven-week term, the OTC offers week-long intensive workshops twice per year (spring and fall).  Course content depends on the customer needs and can include any of the wide-range of topics offered at the Center.
  • Braille Distance Course
    The OTC offers Braille instruction to DSB customers interested in learning Braille but not able to attend the OTC program or have limited resources in their community for weekly instruction.  The class meets weekly for two hours via toll-free phone.

Besides classes, what else can the OTC do for me?
You will have opportunities to:

  • Meet, interact with, and learn from other students who are blind or have low vision.
  • Work with blind and low vision teachers and other employed people in Career and Seminar classes.
  • Participate in challenge and recreational activities like tandem cycling, rock climbing, and kayaking.
  • Share your talents and contribute to our communities through volunteer work and tutoring fellow students.

For more information on the OTC, contact us at info@dsb.wa.gov or 800-552-7103.