On November 30, 1983, three agencies (Radio Information Center for the Blind, the Nevil Institute for Rehabilitation and Service and Volunteer Services for the Blind) merged to form Associated Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, an incorporated non-profit agency. A lineage that began in 1874 with the Pennsylvania Working Home for Blind Men to provide outstanding service to people who are blind and visually impaired was now a unified selection of services, all under one roof. Today, ASB is the largest non-profit organization located in southeastern Pennsylvania serving people who are blind and visually impaired.
Associated Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired provides a wide range of services to bring each client from a sense of helplessness to empowerment:
Rehabilitation: Certified Rehabilitation Teachers instruct program participants in meal preparation, reading and writing braille, keyboard skills, labeling and selecting clothes, and using specially adapted equipment. ASB’s Orientation and Mobility Specialist teaches safe and effective travel techniques with the aid of a cane and hand-held telescopes. Clients learn to orient themselves to the community and use public transportation. The result is increased independence.
Computer Technology Center: During one-on-one training, blind and visually impaired clients use computers equipped with speech and screen enlargements programs. Students learn how to scan documents, work using word processing and spreadsheets, database applications, and access the internet.
Specialized Services: ASB’s Specialized Services Team offers eighteen support groups such as Life Skills, Assertiveness Training, Men’s and Women’s Groups, a Multi-lingual Support Group, shopping services, and recreational activities. Many of ASB’s classes are offered in English and Spanish.
Braille Division: Since 1929, ASB has been providing quality braille in an effort to support independence and self-determination. As one of the five largest brailling houses in the United States, the Braille Division produces many types of printed materials to people who are blind, such as: books, magazines, textbooks, brochures, manuals, newsletters, insurance forms, job-related materials, bank statements, and utility bills.
Radio Information Center for the Blind: RICB is a 24-hour radio reading service that is broadcasted throughout the Delaware Valley. The center broadcasts on topics ranging from news, weather, and sports, to problems and treatments, and much more. In addition, listeners can hear books, magazines television listings, and favorite columnists.
In ASB’s Recording Department, many volunteers narrate more than two-dozen popular magazines, which are then made available on cassette. ASB also provides custom recordings for individuals, organizations and corporations. Philadelphia Lighthouse of the Blind: The Philadelphia Lighthouse of the Blind was founded in 1945 to provide social, cultural, and educational opportunities for blind and visually impaired people. Through this program, ASB provides limited funding to blind and visually impaired Philadelphians to fulfill specific personal needs, such as acquiring adaptive aids, or offsetting the costs associated with certain recreational activities.
ASB's online bookstore is located at http://www.asb.org/eLibrary/catalog/.