Information for Educators
Blindness Skills Specialists
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has contracted Blindness Skills Specialists to consult with public schools in the identification and service planning for students who are blind.
Blindness Skills Specialist Program - Truman State University
Northeast Regional Professional Development Center (RPDC)
Truman State University
Violette Hall 2200, 100 East Normal
Kirksville, MO 63501
Anthony Blades, Blindness Skills Specialist
Missouri State University - PCOB 207
901 S. National Ave.
Springfield, Missouri 65897
DJ Butcher, Blindness Skills Specialist
Missouri State University - PCOB 1207
901 S. National Ave.
Springfield, Missouri 65897
From the Missouri State Plan for Special Education Regulations Implementing Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (Visual Impairment/Blindness Definition Regulation III – Identification and Evaluation Pages 29-30)
Visual Impairment, including blindness, means an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness.
Criteria for Initial Determination of Eligibility:A child displays a Visual Impairment when:
- A visual impairment or a progressive vision loss has been diagnosed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist;
- Visual acuity has been determined to be:
- for visual impairment of 20/70 to 20/200 in the better eye with best correction by glasses;
- for blindness of 20/200 or less in the better eye after best correction by glasses or a visual field measuring 20 degrees or less; and,
- The visual impairment adversely affects the child’s educational performance.
- Expanded Core Curriculum
- Classroom strategies for Regular Education Teachers who have students with visual impairments
- Considerations for Low Vision Students in a Regular Classroom
- General Considerations in Working with Young Children with Visual Impairments
- Suggestions for Working with Braille Students in a Regular Classroom
- Teaching Strategies
- Tips for Classroom Teachers With a Visually Impaired Student
- Tips for Teachers of Braille Reading Students
- Tips for Working with Blind Students
- Understanding the IEP Process for Parents of Children Who are Visually Impaired or Blind, Including Those with Combined Vision and Hearing Loss (Deaf/Blindness)
- Braille Bill
- Braille Fact Sheet
- Braille Instructional Resources
- Literacy for Children with Combined Vision and Hearing Loss
- Paths to Literacy for Students Who are Blind or Visually Impaired
- Unified English Braille Code
OSEP Dear Colleague Letters
- Are All Your Students with VI Receiving Appropriate Services
- Caseload Analysis: A Critical Component of Quality Services for Students with VI
- MI Severity Rating Scales (for Vision Education and O&M Services)
- Position Paper: Case loads Based on Assessed Student’s Needs
Unified English Braille (UEB)
Visual Impairment Scale of Service Intensity of Texas
Readers for the Blind
Any legally blind citizen of Missouri who regularly attends a public school district, a special school district, a Missouri college, university, technical or professional school that is legally authorized to grant degrees, other than an institution established for the regular instruction of the blind, may apply to Rehabilitation Services for the Blind (RSB) for RBP services. Public schools educating such student should submit applications to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), Division of Special Education for processing, approval and payment.
Studies and Reports
House Bill 401
Requires an annual report from DESE to the State Legislature about the literacy of blind and visually impaired children; requires DESE and Rehabilitation Services for the Blind to develop a joint referral system; creates the Blindness Skills Specialist Fund; requires school districts to give preference in purchasing textbook materials to textbook vendors that make materials available in Braille, or an electronic format approved by DESE; requires that every infant born in Missouri shall be screened for hearing loss, and establishes the Newborn Hearing Screening Advisory Committee; requires that health insurance companies provide coverage for the Newborn Hearing Screening, Re-screening, Audiological Assessment, and Follow-up, and Initial Amplification.
- Task Force on Blind Student Academic and Vocational Performance (BTF)
- Braille Bill - This bill specifically outlines Braille instruction for children with visual impairments.
The part of House Bill 401 that requires school districts to give preference in purchasing textbook materials to textbook vendors that make materials available in Braille, or an electronic format is approved by DESE.
MO Accessible Textbook Statute
The citation in RSMo 170.132
Provision of Braille Instruction and Provision of Materials
Two statutes relate to HB401
- Council of Exceptional Children Division of Visual Impairment Deafblindness
- MO Assistive Technology
- National Technical Assistance Center-VI
- National Center on Deaf-Blindness
- Office of Special Education, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
- Perkins Scout
- Perkins School for the Blind
- Teaching Students with VI
- TX School for the Blind
- Wolfner Talking Book and Braille Library
- MSU Visual Impairment Program Application Information
- MSU Orientation and Mobility Certification Program Application Information
- Certification in Visual Impairment (Blind and Partially Sighted Special Education and/or Elementary and Secondary majors Grades K-12)
- Federal Loan Forgiveness Program
- VI Coursework