Services for Students Who are Blind or Visually Impaired
Manitoba Education, Student Services Branch, provides support services on a province wide basis to students who are blind or visually impaired. Services may include student specific support for direct teaching for students who are blind in Braille, adaptive technology, etc or consultation support to school teams for students who have visual impairments. Consultants for the Blind & Visually Impaired participate as members of school teams to focus on the needs of students with visual loss. Consultants for BVI work with students, schools and families to support the Manitoba Education curriculum and the expanded core curriculum specifically for students who are Blind or Visually Impaired to ensure active participation of students in the school, home and community.
Information for Schools, Students, and Families
Consultants for Blind & Visually Impaired are a team within the Student Services Unit. The Consultants for BVI Services have specialized educational training in teaching of students who are visually impaired. In addition, some team members have certification in Orientation & Mobility (independent travel skills). They may work with other consultants who specialize in other educational support areas as there may be visually impaired students with other support needs.
Supports and Services
Consultants for Blind or Visually Impaired provide direct instructional services to students who are blind or tactile learners. These services include but are not limited to:
- Braille literacy
- Orientation & Mobility
- Adaptive Technology devices/software
- Daily Living Skills (including handwriting, keyboarding)
- Use of specialized equipment/resources
- Effective use of sensory skills
- Concept development
- Career education
Consultation to School Teams
Consultants for the Blind & Visually Impaired work in the schools providing support to students who are visually impaired. Support will vary depending on student's needs as determined following an Assessment.
Consultants for the Blind & Visually Impaired provide functional vision assessments based on the eligibility criteria. The functional vision assessments assist the school team in program planning for the student who is blind/visually impaired. A recent eye report from an ophthalmologist or optometrist as well as a referral completed by the school and signed by the parents is required before this assessment can occur.
Students whose best corrected visual acuity is 20/70 or less or who have less than 20 degrees field of vision, or whose data reveals extenuating conditions (e.g. deteriorating eye condition) as determined by the Manager of Consultants for BVI, are eligible for services.
Consultation support may include but are not limited to:
- Provision of programming/teaching adaptations for the classroom/gymnasium/playground
- Participation in the IEP process
- Communication with the parents re: needs, progress, community resources and in-services
- Training educational support staff
- Coordination of additional supports both within the education system and also in the community
- Working with the Educational Resources Unit, Alternate Formats Services to arrange the development and provision of alternate format books and materials for the visually impaired students.
Professional Learning Opportunities
Consultants for Blind or Visually Impaired provide workshops/in-services to school division personnel, parents, secondary institutions or other agencies in any of the areas of their expertise. They provide training for the Vision Screening program in Manitoba schools. They may also take responsibility for organizing workshops/in-services with service providers in other areas. Request for this service can be arranged by contacting the student’s Consultant for BVI or by contacting the program Manager.
Workshops for School Divisions
- Students with Low Vision in the Classroom – Best Practices
- Understanding & Programming for Students with Cortical Vision Loss
For further information, see the Manitoba Education Workshop Registration System.
Services for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired
The information in this guide will help Manitoba families and schools support students who are blind or visually impaired from Kindergarten through
- Braille Lesson for Parents – Support for learning the basics in braille for parents of students who use braille
- New Handout for Schools: Art for the Blind & Visually Impaired – Ideas in adapting art projects with material suggestions and teaching strategies
- Video on How to Guide a Person with Visual Impairment ( 83.16 MB)
- Social and learning opportunities for students, schools and parents may be provided during the year, such as Braille & More day and summer Fun day.
Vision Screening in Manitoba Schools
Directions for Kindergarten, Grades 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11
Consultants for BVI work in conjunction with a variety of agencies that help service the needs of students with visual impairments. In particular, consultants work to assist in preschool transition, school leaving and the planning and developing of policies on behalf of their students.
British Columbia (SET BC)
Legislation, Standards and Policies
- Appropriate Educational Programming Regulation 155/2005 ( 122 KB)
- Appropriate Educational Programming in Manitoba: Standards for Student Services
( 129 KB)
- Appropriate Educational Programming: A Handbook for Student Services
Program and Student Services
Toll Free in Manitoba: 1-800-282-8069, ext. 7907