this is the educational and social programs page of the blind service association website.

educational and social programs


Whenever we receive calls from people with sight loss their main focus is trying to learn as much as they can about their eye condition including updates on research, technology and coping. BSA's educational programs, which are offered throughout the year, highlight many of these concerns and issues. Guest speakers include ophthalmologists, attorneys with information on rights and legal issues, vendors showing the latest low vision products and other professionals. In addition to educational programs, BSA sponsors social activities on a regular basis. Check BSA's Calendar of events at 312-458-9006 or click here.


Braille is a necessary tool especially among young children. It helps children develop skills in grammar and punctuation. Studies have shown that people who are braille literate are more likely to be employed than those people who rely on voice synthesizers alone. Braille like print enables one to jot down a phone number, prepare a shopping list, take notes, file materials, label clothes, label cans of food, they can play cards games like bridge and even scrabble. Blind Service Association offers private Braille classes to blind and visually impaired adults and children. Contact Brian Oleszczuk(email) or call 312-236-0808 to sign up for classes.

computer and adaptive devices

For people seeking enhanced awareness and skillfulness in the use of computers and adaptive devices, Blind Service Association has created a membership club called Adaptive Technology Users' Network Exchange (A-Tunes). An annual membership costs $10.

Members receive a copy of the quarterly newsletter Computer Awareness News, which brings them up-to-date information about programs and equipment focusing on the needs of visually impaired people.

Members also may attend monthly lectures and demonstrations given by experts in the use of adaptive technology at Blind Service Association's downtown main office. Non-members may also attend these events, but must pay a fee of $5. A few past presentations have covered on-line banking, shopping, and searching for employment. On the day these events take place, members can also access them on-line.

Members as well as non-members are eligible for private tutoring or access to the Computer Work Station.

private tutoring

By appointment only, Blind Service Association offers free private tutoring at its downtown offices in the use of computer-based adaptive technology. Consumers who prefer private tutoring at home must pay a fee of $25 for each session.

computer work stations

Blind Service Association maintains a computer lab at its downtown main office with four PC's equipped with popular adaptive software such as JAWS®, ZoomText, and MaGic®. Internet access and scanner is also available for use. Laptops are also available for individual use in private rooms. Individuals interested in using our equipment should telephone to schedule an appointment at 312-236-0808.

guide dog users

A support/advocacy group for people with guide dogs meets quarterly to discuss various topics from guide dog accessibility to the proper care and well-being of their dogs. Limited Emergency funding is available to help with medical care and food for the guide dogs.

book club

Once a week interested members, clients and volunteers gather at Blind Service Association's downtown office to hear a live reading of a short story and to join in a post-reading discussion. Volunteer readers choose stories that tie in with the theme of each particular month. For instance, February's selection might be a heart-warming love story in recognition of Valentine's Day; or March's, an Irish tale with a nod and wink toward St. Paddy's Day. Call the main switchboard, go to BSA's Calendar of Events or BSA Hotline (312-458-9006) to find out what's upcoming.

artistic expressions

Several times a year at our downtown office, Blind Service Association hosts a one-day art workshop presented by various professional artists working in different media. Interested clients can learn such skills as Japanese origami or mask-making. To find out about the next Artistic Expressions workshop, call the office at 312-236-0808.

recorder instruction club

Weekly at our downtown office, volunteer music teachers instruct our clients on how to play the recorder. It is a fun and easy musical instrument to learn. Beginners and Advanced lessons are available. Call Brian Oleszczuk at 312-236-0808.