BESB: CHILDREN’S SERVICES

CHILDREN'S SERVICES


The mission of Children’s Services is to provide leadership in the delivery of educational services to children who are legally blind, deaf-blind, and visually impaired by:

  • Establishing partnerships among children, families, schools, and communities.

  • Ensuring accessibility to educational curriculum through the provision of adapted materials, equipment, and books.

  • Teaching compensatory skills such as Braille.

  • Promoting individual choice, independence, and life-long learning.

  • Creating an accurate perception of blindness through community outreach and education.

Children's Services Newsletter

Statement of Need and Program Objectives: To provide specialized training, adaptive materials, and services to children who are legally blind, deaf-blind, or visually impaired from birth through high school graduation or age 21 that results in successful integration into educational, social, recreational, and vocational settings.

Program Description: Teachers and consultants of the program provide specialized instruction in Braille literacy, access to adapted technologies, and independent living and social skills training, with a goal of maximizing independence and inclusion in educational options. A full-scope lending library of adapted textbooks and equipment is available to ensure equal educational opportunity for students with significant visual loss. Program staff provide specialized training and consultation to teachers, parents, paraprofessionals, and local district staff that results in greater access to educational experiences for students. The Division provides reimbursement to those towns which offer services, such as certified teachers of the blind or partially sighted, to meet these program objectives.

What Are the Warning Signs for Vision Loss in Infants and Children?

Occasionally, it is obvious a child has a vision problem; you might notice an unusual shape, coloring, or distortion of a child's eyes.  In other instances, the signs may be less apparent.  A younger child or infant may rub his eyes, move his head toward light, attempt to shield his eyes from light, or not follow you with his eyes. An older child may hold books unusually close, become irritable when doing close work, or may have eyes that are not aligned.

When Do Infants and Children Need Our Services?

It is one of BESB's primary responsibilities to provide comprehensive services to children, parents, and other caregivers during a child's most crucial early years.  This is a time when a child learns many basic skills that help establish independence, and vision plays a major role.  It is therefore important to provide the assistance and support needed to help the child compensate for any visual impairment.  Many eye disorders can be easily corrected with glasses or special "low vision" devices.

However, if an ophthalmologist or optometrist finds the child has a visual acuity of 20/70 or less in the better eye (with best correction) or a visual field of 20 degrees or less, BESB should be contacted.  We provide services to all children who are visually impaired.

The Services BESB Offers Infants, Children, Parents, and Other Care Providers:

We work with infants and children at home, in special-needs programs, and at school.  Our education consultants, specializing in the education of children who are blind or visually impaired, can provide assistance to:

  • Conduct a functional vision assessment

  • Arrange for low vision, auditory and other appropriate examinations

  • Evaluate a child's progress and development

  • Develop and implement the child's Individual Family Service Plan or Individual Education Plan

  • Teach parents and care givers how to work with visually impaired children

  • Work with community programs

  • Make connections with self-help groups and supportive professional networks

  • Provide specialized early intervention and school services for infants and pre-school children with limited vision and hearing

  • BESB also works in coordination with the New England Center for Deaf-Blind Services to provide the above services to children who have combined vision and hearing loss

  BESB Also Provides:

  •  Vision Assessments and Referral for Vision Assessments

  •  Developmental Evaluations

  •  Parent Support

  •  Consultation to Pre-School Programs

  •  In-Home Teaching

  •  Adapted Toys

What Are the Warning Signs for Vision Loss in School-Aged Children?

Sometimes, if vision loss is gradual, a child may not be aware he is having problems seeing.  It is important to look for changes in a child's behavior, such as a regression in learning, or disinterest in previously enjoyed activities such as watching television, reading a book, or coloring.  A child may also complain that things look blurry or that glare seems to bother him more than usual.  Children may also hold books unusually close to their eyes, become irritable when doing close work, or have eyes that are not aligned.

What Happens With School-Aged Children Who Need Our Services?

It is one of BESB's primary responsibilities to provide comprehensive services to help children, parents and other caregivers.  Children need to learn many basic skills that help establish independence, and vision plays a major role.  It is therefore important to provide the assistance and support needed to help a child compensate for any visual impairment.

Many eye disorders can be easily corrected and a doctor may prescribe glasses or special "low vision" devices. However, if an ophthalmologist or optometrist finds the child has a visual acuity of 20/70 or less in the better eye (with best correction) or a visual field of 20 degrees or less, BESB should be contacted.  We provide services to all children who are visually impaired.

The services BESB Offers School-Aged Children:

We work with school-aged children at school, in special-needs programs and at home.  Our education consultants, specializing in the education of children who are blind or visually impaired, can provide assistance to:

  • Conduct a functional vision assessment

  • Become a member of each child's educational planning team to formulate appropriate goals and make referrals to related professionals, such as orientation and mobility instructors, rehabilitation teachers and vocational counselors

  • Provide curricular materials in Braille and large print as appropriate

  • Consult with parents and other education team members regarding specific techniques for working with blind and visually impaired children

  • Instruct a child in Braille, use of low vision aids, organization skills, adaptive equipment and other skills needed for independence

  • Provide specialized educational and consultative services to deaf-blind children, parents and professionals





Content Last Modified on 5/2/2014 3:44:04 PM