Rehabilitation Teaching Program
Blind and Visually Impaired Services (BVIS)
The purpose of the program is to provide one-on-one instruction usually in the home environment, in all aspects of independent living and communication skills to individuals who are blind and visually impaired. Rehabilitation Teachers are located statewide and serve all 92 counties in the state and are a resource in local communities regarding information about blindness or visual impairment.
Each rehabilitation teacher provides a wide variety of training especially designed to enable individuals who have a substantial vision loss to function safely and independently in a sighted world. Training is divided into three major categories: personal management, communication skills, and low vision follow-up.
Personal Management – Personal Management includes all skills needed to function independently in the familiar home and/or work environment. Such skills as cooking, cleaning, clothing management and personal grooming are taught. Skills for organizing and have efficient access to the work site is available. The rehabilitation teacher emphasizes how to perform these skills safely and efficiently without the use of vision. Several rehabilitation teachers are blind or visually impaired.
Communication Skills – Communication skills includes the adaptive techniques needed by a person who is blind or visually impaired to communicate between himself and sighted individuals including co-workers and friends. Braille reading and writing, handwriting and tape recording using the latest technology are included as instructional options. The extent and depth of training depends upon the consumer’s individual needs and goals.
Each rehabilitation teacher is aware of both community and nationwide resources for people who are blind and visually impaired. Rehabilitation teachers are required to have knowledge about other conditions, which often accompany blindness, such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and closed head injuries. The teacher can be a resource tot he public in the area of blindness and visual impairments. Rehabilitation teachers often conduct in-service training programs for local hospitals staff and patients, nursing homes and schools. In this capacity the teacher is able to provide information to members of the public about the special needs of individuals they may interact with who are blind or visually impaired. The teacher has the opportunity to explain the various services available for the blind and visually impaired nationally or locally.
Low Vision Follow-Up – There is a variety of electronic and hand-held low vision aids. These devices are designed to enhance visual functioning in every aspect of daily living. Examples of low vision aids: Closed Circuit Televisions (CCTV), bioptics, and hand-held lighted magnifiers. Optometrists who have specialized in this field conduct the low vision evaluations and prescribe and dispense the equipment.
After low vision aids have been prescribed and dispensed, the rehabilitation teacher will conduct a low vision follow-up visit. This visit is designed to detect nay problems, which the consumer may experience with low vision aids. The rehabilitation teacher is experienced with a variety of techniques, which may make the use of the prescribed low vision aid less difficult. If the joint efforts of the rehabilitation teacher and the consumer do not prove to be successful, the consumer can be referred back to the low vision specialist.
The rehabilitation-teaching program is confident that by employing each of the above-mentioned skills in teamwork fashion, a person who is blind or visually impaired can remain an integral part of the community.
To apply please call Blind and Visually Impaired Services toll free 1-877-241-8144. The list of Vocational Rehabilitation Offices with Rehabilitation Teachers are indicated with asterisks.