The Hatlen Center Curriculum
Over the past 38 years, The Hatlen Center has become more and more proficient at teaching people the skills they need to become independent. One of the manifestations of that proficiency is the many curricula we have written and constantly hone.
Reading through our various curricula will give families and teachers of the visually impaired a good idea of the range of skills we teach at The Hatlen Center.
- Assistive Technology
The Hatlen Center Technology lab is located onsite. Individual lessons are held during the day and the lab is open in the evenings for the students to use. Students are able to try a variety of cutting-edge assistive technology that is constantly updated as technology changes. Technology is used in all areas of the curriculum from paying bills, to researching recipes and routes, to completing job and housing searches. For a full list of our current hardware and software, please give us a call and ask to speak with a technology instructor.
If appropriate, students are evaluated in Braille skills and an individualized curriculum is designed for each Braille student. Curriculum may include:
- Beginning, intermediate, advanced, UEB or Nemeth skills
- Practical use of Braille including labeling, phone numbers, playing cards and more
- Use of refreshable braille displays, braille translation software and braille embossers
- Financial Management
Students pay their own rent and all other bills, and develop very real credit reputations, so financial management skills are a high priority. Each student is assigned one teacher as a Financial Adviser and works with that teacher from the first week in order to learn to independently manage their day-to-day life. Instruction is given in self-advocacy skills, paying bills, budgeting, online and mobile banking, social security and Medi-Cal, medical needs and organizational skills.
- Living Skills
Instruction included in the following topics of living skills:
- Cooking — Instruction occurs in the student’s apartment. Students chose what they would like to cook. From the first week, students begin to learn to plan their weekly menus, shop for groceries, cook their own meals, use the microwave and oven, search for recipes and store food safely.
- Cleaning — Roommates share the responsibility for keeping their apartment clean. Curriculum includes learning about cleaning products and equipment, cleaning skills and adopting effective cleaning habits.
- Care of Clothing — Students will learn topics such as different clothing styles, how to fold clothing, how to use a laundry facility, organization skills, how to remove stains, labeling techniques, sewing (if appropriate), ironing or using a hand-held steamer and, finally, clothes shopping.
- Orientation and Mobility
Students receive training from Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists as they travel in the local neighborhood and the wider Bay Area. Emphasis is placed on efficient, safe travel for practical purposes and includes:
- Human guide
- Cane techniques
- Address-finding skills and public assistance use
- Intersection analysis
- Safe street crossing
- Route planning
- Exploring unfamiliar areas
- Transportation including Paratransit, car services, local buses, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), Amtrak and air travel, when appropriate
- Global Positioning Systems (GPS)
- Pre-Vocational and Job Readiness Program
Students participate in a robust pre-vocational program that focuses on learning about jobs and careers, skills necessary for employment and more. When a student has gained independence by acquiring basic independent living skills, each one is encouraged to move to the next step, which may be taking one or two college classes or participating in a paid volunteer work experience. Students are supported through all steps of their choices.
The Hatlen Center believes that a wide variety of recreational activities broadens students’ experiences and boosts self-esteem. Examples of some activities that students will participate in include sea kayaking, cross-country skiing, trips to farmer's markets, hiking, exploring San Francisco, bowling, rock climbing, trampoline park, and Hatlen Clubs, including yarning, reading and walking.