Guilford County Schools (GCS) provides a comprehensive program to students with visual impairments who meet State and Federal guidelines to receive these services. The staff of the GCS Program for the Visually Impaired consists of Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVI), Braille Transcribers, and Orientation and Mobility (O & M) instructors. Students are mainly served at their home school by the program specialists who serve that particular school. In addition, GCS has partnered with the NC Division of Services for the Blind (DSB) to provide transition services to students with visual impairments that are aged 14 and above and enrolled in GCS.
The scope of the educational services provided to students with visual impairments cross all grade levels and curricula, as well as all visual conditions and degrees of severity. Students may be served directly by the VI staff or through consultation with the student and their teachers. Specific skills are taught that address documented Individual Education Plan (IEP) goals. The ultimate goal of the VI Program is to foster students to become independent, educated, productive, and responsible citizens as they exit Guilford County Schools.
What do I do if I think my child may qualify for services from the GCS Program for the Visually Impaired?
In order to begin the service referral, a current eye report (usually within a year) from an eye care provider must be obtained to document the visual impairment and shared with the VI Program. State guidelines suggest that students who have vision of 20/70 or worse in the better eye after correction, may qualify for consideration of VI services.
What if my child needs comprehensive and specific skill instruction such as Braille instruction or cane skills?
These specific and comprehensive skills can be taught to the student as supplemental instruction to their regular curriculum at their home school through itinerant instruction services provided by the VI staff.
My child appears to qualify for services from the VI Program, but doesn’t need comprehensive intervention. Are services still appropriate and available for my child?
Yes. Many students with visual impairments just need appropriate modifications to address their visual impairment within the classroom. These modifications can be implemented and monitored by the TVI.
I am a classroom teacher and I have some concerns about one of my students who may qualify for services from the VI program. What do I do?
Contact the Program for the Visually Impaired using the information noted below. The VI staff will help you determine if your student may qualify for VI services. If the student appears to meet eligibility requirements, we will help you complete the referral process.
For more information, contact the GCS Program for the Visually Impaired at 336.370.8209. Our offices are currently located at the GCS Administration Building, 120 Franklin Blvd., Greensboro, NC 27401.
American Foundation for the Blind - Leading national organization of the blind and visually impaired. Financial assistance for deaf and blind college students. http://www.afb.org
Division of Services for the Blind – The mission of the North Carolina Division of Services for the Blind has been to enable people who are blind or visually impaired to reach their goals of independence and employment. http://www.ncdhhs.gov/dsb/
Foundation for Fighting Blindness – Provides literature and education about retinitis pigmentosa. Funds research to find a cure or treatment for retinal diseases. http://blindness.org
Governor Morehead Pre-School – Early intervention program (birth to five years old) serving infants, toddlers and preschoolers with visual impairments and their families through an array of services such as educational, orientation and mobility and pre-Braille education. http://www.ncoes.net/gms_preschool.shtml
National Federation for the Blind – The NFB improves blind people’s lives through advocacy, education, research, technology, and programs encouraging independence and self-confidence. http://nfb.org
NC Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments – The NC Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments is a non-profit organization that enables parents to find information and resources for their children who are blind or visually impaired, including those with additional disabilities. http://napvi.org
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction – The Visual Impairment Program serves as a resource to local education agencies throughout the state. The Consultant for the Visual Impairment Program is involved with program planning and development for quality education for students with visual impairments. http://www.dpi.state.nc.us/ec/instructional/visual/