Services for Students Who are Blind or Visually Impaired

Consultant Services

A team of Consultants for the Blind and Visually Impaired (BVI), Manitoba Department of Education and Training's Programs and Student Services Branch, provides support services on a province-wide basis to students who are blind or visually impaired. The Consultant for the Blind/Visually Impaired (BVI) assists the school team by providing unique and highly specialized expertise which would not usually be available within the local school division.


Assessment

(functional vision assessment of students who are blind or visually impaired)

Consultants for BVI provide functional vision assessments based on the eligibility criteria. This functional vision assessment assists the school team in program planning for the student who is blind or visually impaired. A recent eye report from an ophthalmologist or optometrist as well as a referral form, completed by the school and signed by the parents, is required before this assessment can take place.

Students whose best corrected visual acuity is 20/70 or less or who have less than 20 degrees of field of vision, or whose data reveals extenuating conditions (e.g. deteriorating eye condition) as determined by the Manager for Blind/Visually Impaired Services are eligible for services.


Consultation

Consultants for BVI work in the school with the student who is blind or visually impaired attends, providing support to the school team in the following areas

  • provision of programming/teaching adaptations in the classroom/gymnasium/playground
  • participation in the IEP process
  • communication with the parents re: needs, progress, community resources, inservicing for school personnel on vision impairment
  • coordination of additional supports both within the education system and also in the wider community
  • training educational support staff
  • working with the Educational Resources Branch, Alternate Formats Services to arrange for the development and provision of alternate format books and materials for students with visual impairments.

Direct Teaching

Consultants for BVI provide direct instructional services to students who are blind (tactile learners) in the following areas

  • braille literacy
  • orientation and mobility
  • assistive technology devices/software
  • use of specialized equipment/resources
  • effective use of sensory skills
  • daily living skills (including handwriting/keyboarding)
  • concept development
  • career education

Workshops/Inservices

Consultants for BVI provide workshops/inservices to school division personnel, parents, schools, post-secondary institutions or other agencies in any of the areas of their expertise. They may also take responsibility for organizing workshops/inservices with service providers in other areas. Requests for this service can be arranged by directly contacting the student's consultant for BVI or by contacting the Manager for Blind/Visually Impaired Services.


Interagency Liaison

Consultants for BVI work in conjunction with a variety of agencies that help service the needs of students who are blind or visually impaired. In particular, consultants for BVI work with these agencies to assist in: preschool transition, school leaving transition and the planning and developing of policies/services on behalf students who are blind/visually impaired.