Professional Supports Provided Through the BSS Office
Since blindness is a low incidence disability many schools have little experience serving students with this disability. As a result the Blindness Skills Specialist provides support in three main areas:
- Professional development
- Technical assistance
- Resources and referrals.
The Blindness Skills Specialist Program provides support to local school districts which provide special education and related services for eligible students. School districts or agencies may request assistance for the following staff:
- Teacher of the Visually Impaired
- Orientation and Mobility Specialists
- Special Education teachers serving eligible students
- Para-professionals serving an eligible students
- Related Service Personnel serving eligible students
- Special Education Administrators
- Transition coordinators or staff
- Families of children who are blind or visually impaired.
The Blindness Skills Specialist program provides large group presentations, regionally and statewide, during the school year. The topics may include preparing for a student with a visual impairment in the classroom, designing and modifying instruction for students with a visual impairment, working with students who have a visual impairment and additional severe disability or braille for the paraprofessional. View the calendar of upcoming events.
- Service delivery model suggested for districts
- Hands-on activities for student and staff using blindfolds or simulators
- Understanding Braille reading and writing basics
- Understanding low vision and educational implications
- Understanding medical implications of vision loss basics
- Understanding unique needs of students (infants, toddler, early childhood, elementary, middle school and high school)
- Technology for students with low vision or blindness
- Roles of professionals working with students who are blind or visually impaired
The Blindness Skills Specialist provides small group technical assistance to guide the schools and IEP teams who serve children who are blind or visually impaired. The areas of technical assistance may include the following:
- Appropriate academic and intellectual assessment procedures
- Programming and placement recommendations
- Determining service needs
- Strategies for accessing the core curriculum (Math, ELA, Science, etc)
- Strategies for accessing the specialty areas (PE, Art, Music, etc)
- Appropriate environmental and instructional adaptations
- Instruction in Alternative techniques of blindness
- Identification and use of assistive technology
- High expectation with regard to academic and vocational performance
- Facilitation and discussion of braille instruction
- Implementation and instruction of the Expanded Core Curriculum
Resources and referrals
A district may not be aware of the resources available locally or nationally to guide and assist schools, educators, and families. As a result, resources and referrals are provided to schools and families regarding available services offered by agencies or other entities.
To request professional development, technical assistance or resources/referrals from the Blindness Skills Specialist send an email with the following information to the BSS for your region:
- Name and role
- School district and name of specific school
- Contact information: email, phone, address of school
- Question or topic of service requested. Examples include: eligibility, programming and placement, expanded core curriculum, assistive technology, etc.
Resources for families
FamilyConnect is a website created by American Foundation for the Blind, also known as AFB, and National Association for Parents of Visually Impaired Children, also known as NAPVI.
Lighthouse for the Bling assists individuals who are legally blind maintain dignity and independence by making available employment, education and supports services.
NAPVI provides support, resources and referrals for parents who have a child with a visual impairment.
Rehabilitation Services for the Blind offers services to help blind or visually impaired persons reach personal and employment success.
Browse curriculum from aerospace engineering to grade school.
Accessible educational materials (AEM) include the specialized formats of audio, Braille, eText, and large print and are needed by students with disabilities such as visual impairment, physical impairment, traumatic brain injury, learning disabilities, etc. The links on this page can assist schools to provide AEM needed by students with disabilities.
Missouri School for the Blind has the finest comprehensive educational system for students with visual impairments in Missouri, actively engaging families and the entire community to ensure student learning and success.