Saturday, February 17 , 2018, 10:50 pm | Fair 45º

 
 
 
 

Braille Institute Cooks Up Kitchen Confidence Program for People with Visual Impairments

Michael Lazarovits, executive director of the Braille Institute Santa Barbara, demonstrates the Kitchen Confidence technology that offers those with low vision an 80-inch display that magnifies an instructor’s movements with kitchen equipment and recipes.
Michael Lazarovits, executive director of the Braille Institute Santa Barbara, demonstrates the Kitchen Confidence technology that offers those with low vision an 80-inch display that magnifies an instructor’s movements with kitchen equipment and recipes. (Braille Institute photo)

Thanks to support from the Elaine F. Stepanek Foundation, the new Kitchen Confidence program integrates mainstream, mobile and assistive technology alongside common kitchen appliances and utensils to help adults who are blind or visually impaired regain confidence with their kitchen skills.

The Kitchen Confidence program (#LowVisionKitchen) is part of Braille Institute’s core set of classes that also include free programs that highlight digital literacy, getting around town, daily living skills, a full library, art and more.

“We are thrilled to unveil our updated Kitchen Confidence program,” said Michael Lazarovits, executive director of Braille Institute Santa Barbara. “Often people think that if they are losing their sight, the kitchen is no longer a place where they can function safely.

"Our Kitchen Confidence program dispels that myth. It uses a state-of-the-art kitchen to help people who are blind or visually impaired gain the ability and skills necessary to maintain an healthy diet, prepare nutritious meals, shop for groceries, organize and manage a kitchen, safely use knives, ovens and other appliances while also learning how to handle kitchen emergencies to avoid injury.” 

The Braille Institute has created a unique teaching kitchen that has distinct work stations outfitted with gas and electric ovens and stove tops, microwaves, washer and dryer, as well as small appliances.

Additionally, the kitchen includes technology that has been proven effective when helping people with low vision. This includes an 80-inch display that magnifies an instructor’s movements or written instruction. There are also five mobile tablet workstations that allow users to play and replay audio instruction and enlarge text so that students can work at their own pace or even learn how to adapt recipes to fit specific needs and preferences.

The program is run by a full-time home management instructor who works with a registered dietician to develop curriculum for classes that support eating healthy on a budget as well as healthy habits for conditions like diabetes and high cholesterol, which can in turn affect eye health. 

“The sky is the limit with this program. Eventually with the technology we have in place, we will be able to share our Kitchen Confidence program with others through virtual classrooms,” Lazarovits said. “We want this program to inspire adults experiencing blindness or sight loss so that they can incorporate lifestyle modifications and new kitchen skills to safely take personal responsibility for their own health and nutrition.”

— Susan Tellem is a publicist representing the Braille Institute.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >