6637 Oakmont Drive, Suite A
Santa Rosa, CA 95409
"I have been working at the Blind Children's Learning Center for twelve years, and it continues to be exciting to receive your materials. We use them in our classroom on a daily basis to help our students achieve their goals. We are a preschool which has 'reverse mainstreaming' – classrooms have sighted as well as blind and visually impaired children who use your materials to learn different concepts."
Elayne Cohen-Strong, Director,
Santa Ana, California
THE WORKSHOP STORY
The Visual Aids Workshop is unique to Oakmont Village, an Active Adult Community in Santa Rosa, California. It is the inspiration of Winifred Thiltgen, who retired in Oakmont.
There she saw a visiting artist demonstrate books for blind children. The idea clicked, as during her teaching career, visually impaired children were mainstreamed in her classes. Winifred visited local teachers of the visually impaired to learn about specific needs.
Ten friends joined her, and the first year they made eighteen books with tactile illustrations. In 1971 the Oakmont Visual Aids Workshop was born!! Winifred passed away in 2002, but the Workshop she founded lives on.
Suggestions from teachers at California Teachers & Educators of the Visually Handicapped Conferences led to the creation of other kinds of Tactile Aids. Among them are cards to teach Basic Braille, items to assist with Math Study, and several games.
As all items produced are Brailled, the Workshop was fortunate to find several proficient Braillists in Oakmont. Three Workshop members learned to Braille in order to assist. The generous contribution of two electronic Mountbatten Braillers by the Northbay Lions Club in 1996 has relieved our Braillists of some of the tedium of repetition. Paired with computers programmed by our engineer-member, the ease, speed, and efficiency of these electronic Braillers greatly aid production.