Graduate students gain hands-on O&M experience interning at Braille Institute by working with blind and visually impaired individuals

LOS ANGELES — September 14, 2022 — Braille Institute has entered into an agreement with California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) to provide graduate students in their O&M program the ability to obtain hands-on experience by working with blind and visually impaired individuals at one of Braille Institute’s seven centers through a formal internship training program.

CSULA’s O&M program requires students to complete an 11-week internship with 350 hours of disciplined-specific practice to gain real life experience and implement lessons learned in the classroom. Interns at Braille Institute are supervised by an O&M specialist throughout their internship. “This is an exceptional opportunity for our interns to be of service while working with Braille Institute patrons. As a former intern at Braille Institute, I can attest to the quality of the placement and the opportunities afforded,” stated Dr. Nicholas Casias, Assistant Professor Special Education and Counseling at CSULA.

Students are presently participating in the internship program at Braille Institute. One of the current students is Jaquelin Portillo. “The hands-on experience I’m obtaining at Braille Institute gives me a broader perspective to my role as an O&M specialist. My O&M supervisor is an amazing mentor who is available anytime I need help or have questions,” said Jaquelin.

“This is a win-win partnership, as Orientation & Mobility is a core service Braille Institute provides to help people who are visually impaired remain independent and active, and we can help train more O&M specialists by working with one of the top universities in the field,” said Sergio Oliva, Vice President of Programs and Services at Braille Institute. “The number of people with vision loss is expected to double by 2050 to 8 million according to a study by the National Eye Institute. There is a need for more O&M specialists, and we are pleased to establish this strategic partnership with an educational leader.”

About Braille Institute

Braille Institute has been positively transforming the lives of those with vision loss for 100+ years. We offer a broad range of classes and services for adults, youth and children, free of charge. Receive services at one of the seven centers in Southern California, as well as online through distance learning and teleservice.

Contact: Sandy Shin (626) 399-5675,