Services for the Blind Visually Impaired and for Students with Print Disabilities
Alternate Format Services
To respond to needs identified by school divisions, Alternate Format Services (AFS) supports the education of students who are print disabled (blind/visually impaired, physically disabled and learning disabled) by providing books in alternate formats (audiotape, Braille, large print, and electronic text).
AFS, in conjunction with the vision consultants, also provides Special Learning Equipment (loans and repair) for some severely disabled students and technology support for blind/visually impaired students.
Books in Alternate Format
(Audio, Braille, Large Print, Electronic Text)
The collection is mainly comprised of school texts, however many supplemental reading books are also available. When a requested text is not available from the on-site collection, Alternate Format Services will conduct a search and when a title is found make loan arrangements at other interlibrary loan sites across Canada and the United States. Books are loaned without charge for the entire school year and/or any portion thereof, to students attending schools in Manitoba.
Interlibrary Loan (ILL) Sites accessed by Alternate Format Services (AFS)
In order to provide access to a much larger number of alternate format book titles, Alternate Format Services utilizes the reciprocal loan services of many other collections across Canada and in the United States. Most of these specialized collections cannot be accessed by individual borrowers from out-of-province except through a request made on a student's behalf from his/her own provincial education resource centre.
Production of Alternate Format Texts at Media Production Services (MPS)
When alternate format texts that are requested cannot be located in the on-site collection at AFS or from the interlibrary loan contacts, MPS will consider production of the requested book. Depending upon the needs of the student and the nature of the material requested, MPS may produce the requested book in audio, Braille, large print, or electronic text format.
Special Learning Equipment (SLE)
Depending on availability, special learning equipment is loaned to blind/visually impaired and severely physically handicapped students who have been identified by a departmental consultant as requiring it. These items (e.g. braillers, CCTV's, computer access devices) provide access to educational technologies not normally available in the classroom or through any other source.
(For Blind/Visually Impaired Students)
Two types of technology support are provided for blind/visuall y impaired students. The first offers an assessment and consultative service whereby student equipment needs are first assessed by a consultant for the visually impaired with input from other branch staff. After the assessment is completed, consultation is available on the supply and purchase as well as the set up and installation of recommended equipment. Secondly, direct teaching in the use of the technology may be available for Braille using students who need instruction in the use of specialized computer hardware/software or access devices. Such services may be accessed through the student's vision consultant or the technology support staff.