Independent Living Training

Independent Living Overview

Managing your home can be a challenge when you have combined vision and hearing loss. How do you know when the door bell is ringing? How can you tell when water is boiling? How do you handle grocery shopping? How do you know when a timer has gone off? You’ll find the answers to these questions and so much more during your independent living training at HKNC.

Your independent living instructors will show you how to manage your home safely and efficiently. From cooking and cleaning to budgeting, shopping and paying the bills, you’ll acquire the skills you need to live as independently as possible.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Use adaptive equipment and techniques to cook.
  • Navigate a store with a support service provider (SSP).
  • Take advantage of online grocery-delivery services.
  • Put your home in order with labeling, food storage and clothing organization systems.
  • Budget and plan menus.
  • Clean and maintain your space.
  • Use low vision and vibrating alarm clocks and signal-alerting systems.
  • Handle personal grooming tasks.
Two women stand at kitchen counter. Woman on right is pouring something from one bowl to another.

Hands-on Learning

At HKNC, you’ll receive practical, hands-on training in environments that give you the chance to tackle real world situations. Whether you’re cooking in our kitchen-classroom, learning to do laundry in the residence building, shopping in town or testing your wings in one of our on- or off-campus apartments, every lesson is designed to give you as realistic an experience as possible. Learning by doing will enable you to identify potential problems and develop strategies that will work for you when you return home.

In the Kitchen

Our independent living classroom features kitchen stations complete with sinks, counters, cabinets and tactually marked appliances. It’s the ideal space in which to develop tactual skills and explore adaptive equipment.

You’ll create meals using the kinds of appliances you’d use at home:

  • Stovetop/Oven
  • Microwave
  • Electric Grill
  • Electric Skillet
  • Slow Cooker
  • Toaster Oven
student and instructor in front of microwave

Apartment Life

Depending on your goals and skill level, you may have the opportunity to move from a dorm room to one of our on-campus apartments, which include a kitchen, a living room, a bedroom and a bathroom.

Once you’ve mastered on-campus living, you may have the option to move into one of HKNC’s off-campus studio apartments, where you’ll continue to receive support from your independent living instructors as you enjoy a new level of independence.

Getting Out in the Community

HKNC headquarters is situated in Sands Point, New York, and trips to shopping centers and restaurants in the neighboring town of Port Washington will provide you with invaluable opportunities to put your new skills to the test.

You’ll have access to a support service provider (SSP), who will accompany you on trips into town to provide you with important environmental information.

During your training at HKNC, you will compile a book of community resources ─ including information on SSPs, volunteers and paratransit ─ for use when you return home.

Independent Living Video Resources

These functional video resources were created to demonstrate various tactual techniques, adaptive equipment and modifications that can be used to provide access for people who are DeafBlind and therefore increase independence in one's home. 

Learn more


Programs are open to individuals who are deaf-blind as defined in the Helen Keller Act. Government funding often is available. Your regional representative can answer questions about admission requirements, transportation, funding sources and more.

Find Your Regional Rep

Success Story

Video & Transcript

Woman and man sitting on couch; man is signing

Jay and Murielle’s Story: Living the Apartment Life

Jay and Murielle enjoy a new level of independence in their off-campus apartments.

Check out Jay and Murielle’s story Go to All HKNC Success Stories