Student Services

Services for Students Who are Blind or Visually Impaired

Manitoba Education and Early Childhood Learning, Inclusion Support 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, assistive technology, etc or consultation support to school teams for students who have visual impairments. Consultants for the Blind and Visually Impaired (BVI) 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 and Early Childhood Learning 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 BVI are a team within the Inclusion Support Branch. 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 students who have visual impairments and other support needs.

Supports and Services

Direct Teaching
Consultants for BVI provide direct instructional services to students who are blind or tactile learners. These services include but are not limited to:

Reading Braille
  • Braille literacy
  • Orientation & Mobility
  • Assistive 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 BVI 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 BVI provide functional vision assessments based on the eligibility criteria. The functional vision assessment assists the school team in program planning for the student who is 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 for Blind/Visually Impaired Services, 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 Alternate Formats Services to arrange for the development and provision of alternate format books and materials for the students with visual impairments.

Professional Learning Opportunities

Consultants for BVI 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 Coordinator, Blind/Visually Impaired Services Unit.

Telephone: 204-945-7912
Toll free in Manitoba: 1-800-282-8069, ext. 7912

Workshops for School Divisions
  • Apple Technology for Students with a Visual Impairment
  • Students with Low Vision in the Classroom – Best Practice
  • Understanding & Programming for Students with Cortical Vision Loss


Supporting Inclusive Schools: Educational Assessment: Considerations for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired (BVI)
This support document explains the impact of blindness, low vision, and/or cortical visual impairment on student learning and the considerations for adaptations that are necessary when assessing students who are blind or visually impaired.


Supporting Students who are Deafblind: A Handbook for Teachers
This is an overview of services offered by the Consultants for Deaf and Hard of Hearing and Consultants for Blind and Visually Impaired for students with significant loss in both hearing and vision in Manitoba schools. It includes resources available in Manitoba as well as electronic resources and information on training opportunities in Canada.


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 Grade 12.

Vision Screening Handbook Cover

Vision Screening in Manitoba Schools
Directions for Kindergarten, Grades 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11

PDF (Adobe Icon 181 KB)
Word (Word Icon 141 KB)

  • Unified English Braille Code
    Unified English braille is an English Braille code standard, developed to permit representing the wide variety of literacy and technical material in use in the English-speaking world today, in uniform fashion.
    UEB has recently been adopted in Canada and is being implemented in all provinces. In Manitoba there is a transition plan to implement UEB for students of braille and their educational support teams over the next several years. For information on UEB, visit the Braille Literacy Canada website.
  • New Handout for Schools: Art for the Blind & Visually Impaired – Ideas in adapting art projects with material suggestions and teaching strategies
  • Social and learning opportunities for students, schools and parents may be provided during the year, such as Braille & More day and summer Fun day.

Community Support

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.


Braille Literacy Canada
Manitoba Blind Sports Association
Manitoba Association of Optometrists
Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians
CNIB – Manitoba
Special Education Technology – SET BC
Braille Superstore
VIRN (Visually Impaired Resource Network
Family Connect
Paths to Literacy
Perkins School for the Blind
Hadley School for the Blind
Texas School for the Blind
Blind Net

Legislation, Standards and Policies


General Enquiries
Inclusion Support Branch
Manitoba Education and Early Childhood Learning
Toll Free in Manitoba: 1-800-282-8069, ext. 7912