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The Post-Secondary Program (PSP) provides transition planning and training in independent living skills and employability. Some PSP participants prepare for college through experiences at the local community college. This program, offered in partnership with the Texas Workforce Commission/Division for Blind Services, provides training for students who are legally blind and have a regular State Board of Education high school diploma or GED.

 Participants in TSBVI's Post-Secondary Program gain real-life experiences in the following:

  • daily living activities including cooking, cleaning, and laundry
  • consumer planning, shopping and budgeting
  • transportation and mobility within and outside of the city
  • personal advocacy
  • community recreational access
  • organization skills including print papers, personal information, etc.
  • employability through volunteer work experiences
  • College readiness (when appropriate)

PSP participants are required to volunteer at least 100 hours during their stay in the PSP apartments. This requirement is in addition to attending classes at Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center and, sometimes, at Austin Community College.

TSBVI's Post-Secondary and EXIT Programs: Overview and Comparison Video

Original webcast date: 11/12/2015
Description: The EXIT and Post-Secondary Programs at TSBVI serve 18-22 year old adults who are blind or visually impaired. Assistant Principal for EXIT, Tad Doezema, and former Post-Secondary Coordinator, Linda Locke, provide a side-by-side comparison of the two programs in order to help professionals and family members determine which program is most appropriate for their student or child.

PLAY FULL VIDEO  0:58:30

PLAY BY CHAPTER:

  1. Introduction  02:10
  2. Similarities & Differences  04:59
  3. Eligibility Criteria  12:58
  4. Costs  07:15
  5. Living Arrangement  16:22
  6. Student Examples  10:11
  7. Transition Planning  02:04
  8. Program Duration  01:00
  9. Resources  01:31
Downloads: Transcript (txt) Audio (mp3) Handout (pdf) Student Application (docx)

Students interested in applying for the PSP must:

  • Be legally blind
  • Be 18 to 22 years of age
  • Have received a high school diploma or the equivalent
  • Be on a Division of Blind Services (DBS) transition or VR caseload and accepted into Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center
  • Be able to secure the funds to participate in the program (Usually, students use SSI or SSDI funds)
  • Be able to manage personal and health needs independently
  • Be planning to live and work independently (as a long-term goal)
  • Be capable of benefiting from instruction
  • Be able to apply and integrate learned skills (For example, managing monthly income to pay for apartment maintenance fee, personal items, groceries, and recreational activities)

Not sure if you are eligible? Contact Us

Step 1

Contact your Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) field counselor and notify him or her that you are interested in Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center (CCRC) and the Post-Secondary Program (PSP). Your counselor will need to assist you in completing most of the steps necessary in the CCRC/PSP application process.

Step 2

You will need to arrange a tour of both the Post-Secondary Program and the Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center (CCRC). Both tours are typically conducted on the same day. To contact the CCRC admissions office to arrange a tour, call (512) 377-0300. Your TWC Counselor will make a referral request to CCRC for the tour and will need to indicate that you are interested in the Post-Secondary Program.

Step 3

Download an MS Word version of the application. Please note: The application process does not guarantee entrance into PSP. A committee composed of staff from TSBVI and CCRC review each application, individual services received, and progress in those services prior to approval. To receive an application by email or US mail, contact us at .

Step 4

Complete a Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center (CCRC) application with your TWC field counselor. A completed packet will need to include the following documentation:

  1. Applications for PSP and CCRC.
  2. Standardized State of Texas Eye Report, completed by an Ophthalmologist current within one year.
  3. Current physical examination within one year, with a TB test. If you have diabetes, you must also provide a BUN and Creatinine blood level current within one year.
  4. Individual Transition Plan and Individualized Plan for Employment.
  5. Release/ Consent to Request "Confidential Information or CB-3VR if a current TWC consumer.
  6. Educational assessments, vocational assessment data, official high school transcript, and Vocational Diagnostic Unit Assessment (if available).

Note: An application will not be considered complete until the student and his/her family have toured both the Post-Secondary Program and Criss Cole Rehabilitation Facility.

Step 5

Make TWO copies of your CCRC application and the necessary documentation listed in Step 4. Submit one copy to each of the following addresses:

Admissions Coordinator
Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center
4800 N. Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78756

AND

Post-Secondary Coordinator
4801 Grover Ave
Austin, TX 78756

Student Expectations

The Post-Secondary Program (PSP) consists of three significantly integrated components. Students attend the Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center (CCRC) to gain proficiency in the skills of blindness, including cane travel, Braille, computer technology, and daily living skills. They also receive training in the post-secondary complex related to daily living skills and employability. They also work with their TWC counselors and post-secondary staff to develop a meaningful transition plan.

In addition, students get support for adult literacy skills including math, reading, and writing through functional daily activities like consumer purchases, banking, budgeting, completing applications, and writing letters, notes, and emails. They also receive further training related to employability and organization.

Specific Expectations

Students also have a variety of PSP responsibilities. Please follow the links below to find out more about specific PSP expectations and guidelines.

 

Deposits and Rent

When a student moves into his/her apartment, he/she pays a $50 security deposit, as well as a $10 key deposit. Each month that the student resides in the apartment, he/she will be responsible for a $50 per monthy maintenance deposit, which is fully refundable upon 1) Completion of the Post Secondary Program and 2) Completion of the apartment move-out cleaning list.

With participation in the Post Secondary Program, students are provided a fully furnished apartment, which includes basic utilities such as electricity, water and garbage, as well as free access to laundry facilities and PSP student computers with Internet. Students are only responsible for other utilities they choose to have installed in the apartment, such as a landline telephone, cable, or personal Internet service inside the apartment.

Students sign a lease agreement when they move in, which outlines their rights and responsibilities as a resident/tenant of the PSP apartments.

Food Service

Students are responsible for purchasing their own groceries. They are allowed to eat at the Criss Cole cafeteria, but will be charged approximately $4 per meal.

Transportation

Students will be responsible for paying for access to various modes of transportation within the Austin community, such as the Capitol Metro bus system, and local taxicab and ridesharing services.

Student Housing

Post-Secondary Students live in furnished efficiency apartments, which are approximately 550 square feet. Currently, there are four apartments, one of which is wheelchair accessible.  Each apartment has an outside entrance, as well as a door that opens into a common area, where the laundry facilities and PSP student computers are located. Each student is expected to follow rules and guidelines given for occupying these residences as instructional staff is not on duty 24 hours a day.

Rent

PSP students are not responsible for paying monthly rent.  Electricity, water, and garbage utilities are included in their Post Secondary Program participation. When a student moves into his/her apartment, he/she pays a $50 security deposit, as well as a $10 key deposit. Each month that the student resides in the apartment, he/she will be responsible for a $50 per monthy maintenance deposit, which is fully refundable upon 1) Completion of the Post Secondary Program 2) Payment of any accrued billing from cable or internet service, and 3) Completion of the apartment move-out cleaning list.

With participation in the Post Secondary Program, students are provided a fully furnished apartment, which includes basic utilities such as electricity, water and garbage, as well as free access to laundry facilities and PSP student computers with Internet. Students are only responsible for other utilities they choose to have installed in the apartment, such as a landline telephone, cable, or personal Internet service inside the apartment.

Students sign a lease agreement when they move in, which outlines their rights and responsibilities as a resident/tenant of the PSP apartments.

Other Utilities

If a student is interested in having Cable, phone, or Internet access in his/her apartment, He/she will be responsible for the installation of these services, as well as the monthly payments.  All apartments are equipped with cable and phone jacks.

Furniture

All apartments are furnished with the following:

  • Twin bed,
  • Dresser,
  • Nightstand,
  • Small sofa, and
  • Folding table and chairs.

All apartments have a full kitchen including:

  • Full-size refrigerator,
  • Stove,
  • Oven,
  • Microwave,
  • Dishwasher, and
  • Dishware.

Laundry Facilities

There are two washing machines and two dryers available for use, free of charge, to all PSP students.  Students will be responsible for purchasing their own laundry supplies, such as detergent, fabric softener, and Bags/baskets.

Student Computers

Two computers are available for use by PSP students.  These computers have Internet access through the TSBVI network.  In addition, students have access to a scanner with OCR software, a printer, Braille embosser, and a CCTV.  All computers are equipped with JAWS.

Note: Some sites, such as My Space, are blocked on the Internet, because of TSBVI and the Region XIII Internet policies.

 

Students are expected to abide by the rules and guidelines of the Post-Secondary Program (PSP), the Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center (CCRC) and the Texas School for the Blind (TSBVI).

Download the Post Secondary Program Handbook (882 kb)

PSP Guidelines

  • No one may possess weapons while on the premises. (A pocket knife is considered a weapon if the blade is longer than 3 inches.) If you have any questions as to whether or not an item is considered a weapon, ask residential staff or your program Coordinator.
  • No one may possess alcohol or illegal drugs while on the premises. Reduced alcohol beverages do contain alcohol and are not permitted on the premises.
  • No one may participate in intimate sexual relations on the premises.
  • Behavior that results in physical abuse of property or deliberate aggression toward yourself or others is not allowed.
  • Persons who have legal guardians must follow the written directives of their guardian in addition to guidelines in the student handbook.
  • Students are expected to participate in the varied program activities of the Post Secondary Program.

NOTE: The apartments are State property. If staff believes there is a need, we have the authority to conduct apartment searches. Every effort will be made for the student to be present at the time of the search. If this is not possible, the student will be notified if the apartment has been searched.

Not complying with Program Guidelines will result in a disciplinary review, which may result in dismissal from the program.

Visiting Hours and Guidelines

Students do not have a curfew, but are expected to be in classes each day, prepared and ready to work.

Friends and family are welcome to visit with students at their apartment during visiting hours. You may entertain guests after your classes Monday through Thursday and during designated weekend hours. Overnight visits are allowed for family members only and must be approved by the program Coordinator.

Visiting hours are as follows:

  • Monday-Thursday: 5-11 PM
  • Friday : 5 PM-2 AM
  • Saturday: 8 AM-2 AM
  • Sunday: 8 AM-11PM

For more information about PSP rules and guidelines, you can download the PSP Student Handbook below.

Participants will meet individually with PSP staff to establish long-term and short-term goals, schedule instructional appointments, discuss a transition plan back to their community and reflect on their progress. Participants should be prepared to take notes during the meetings, maintain appointments, and communicate with staff regarding rescheduling meetings and other instructional needs. These activities will enable participants to practice the skills learned at CCRC and at PSP.  Employability skills such as time management, taking personal responsibility, personal interests awareness, job awareness, job seeking and job maintenance are important components of the Post-Secondary experience. PSP participants also work on healthy recreation/leisure skills that they may continue through their adult lives.

Students are asked to think about the following throughout their program:

  • What are your interests?
  • What are your strengths and needs?
  • What is your vocational goal and what skills will you need to achieve that goal?
  • What skills do you already possess that will help you achieve that goal?
  • What steps are necessary to achieve your goals?
  • What kinds of timelines do you have for achieving these goals?

Students at PSP enjoy doing a variety of recreational activities in their spare time. In addition to finding their own sources of recreation, students can also participate in PSP group activities, as well as activities planned by the Rec Department at Criss Cole.

Students have participated in everything from dining out at local restaurants and going to movies to attending First Thirsdays and other local festivals. Students have also gone to San Antonio for sight-seeing, and white water rafting in North Carolina.

All students are expected to participate in at least 30 hours of volunteer service in the Austin community. PSP staff will coordinate 10 of these service hours while students are learning the necessary skills to find and secure independent volunteer opportunities. The remaining 20 hours are to be completed independently by the student to demonstrate his/her acquired skills. Upon completion of volunteer hours, students are expected to complete a two month PSP Internship at a business in the Austin community. The purpose of this internship is for students to gain experience in their vocational field of interest. Students will begin the internship process during their Career Guidance class at Criss Cole.

Students in the program have volunteered at a variety of places in the community, including a food bank, an animal shelter, a children's home, a neighborhood thrift store, and a local nature preserve. To see some of our students in action, click on the photo album.

What should students think about when looking for volunteer and internship opportunities?

Students should consider not only what they are interested in, but also what their vocational strengths are and what skills and abilities they have. In addition, students will work on creating an information sheet and building a resume, and they will be asked to:

  • Gather contact information for individuals that can be used as references, especially those that have known the student for at least one year, and
  • Organize information about past volunteer and work experience, including dates, responsibilities, and contact information for the business or organization.

Many students who come to the PSP have little or no past work or volunteer experience. This makes the volunteer and internship opportunities in the program even more critical.

 

Students in the Post-Secondary Program have many opportunities to practice their Independent Living (IL) skills.  They learn to budget and manage money, plan and prepare meals for themselves, organize and manage their personal belongings and time, and clean their own apartment.

Cooking Skills

In addition to learning how to cook in the Daily Living Skills class at Criss Cole, students can practice cooking (independently or with instruction) in their own apartment.  By the end of their program, students are expected to be able to independently prepare at least five meals.  To help them master these skills, students are encouraged to make at least one full meal a week

Students are responsible for purchasing their own groceries.  They will be given instruction on how to go to the store and use customer service personnel to access information about grocery items and prices.

Cleaning Skills

Students receive instruction in cleaning skills, and inspections are conducted every two weeks to enable staff to provide feedback about strengths, as well as areas that need improvement. By the end of the program, students are expected to be able to independently clean and close down their apartment.  Just like in apartments in the community, the condition of the property determines the amount of deposit that is refunded.

Students have access to cleaning tools, such as vacuum cleaners, brooms and dustpans, and mops and buckets.  However, students are responsible for purchasing their own cleaning chemicals.