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for the Blind

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Department of Rehabilitation Services-Bureau of Education & Services for the Blind - AFB Directory Profile

General Information

Department of Rehabilitation Services-Bureau of Education & Services for the Blind
184 Windsor Avenue
Windsor, CT 06095
(860) 602-4000 (Local)
(860) 602-4020 (Fax)
(860) 602-4221 (TDD/TTY)
http://www.ct.gov/besb

Brief Description

Within the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS), the Bureau of Education & Services for the Blind (BESB) provides vocational rehabilitation, independent living, and business enterprise services to adults in Connecticut who are legally blind. The Bureau's Children's Services Program provides expanded core curriculum instruction to children who are blind or visually impaired and support services to school districts.

The BESB Resource Library offers numerous vision related resources. Please click on the BESB Resource Library link to see a comprehensive listing of the resources in our Bureau Resource library. The DORS-BESB Resource Library includes almost 900 items of specialized materials dealing with issues relating to visual impairment. Some of the topics include general reference materials on the eye—its structure and function, eye conditions and their implications, procedures and strategies for the education and rehabilitation of children and adults who are blind and visually impaired. The resource library has information for all ages from infants to adults. In addition to books, the library contains Braille assessments, Braille teaching strategies, reading assessments, developmental evaluations, videos and DVDs, models of the eye, vision simulator kits and Braille in-service kits.

Hours of operation: Mon.-Fri. 8:00 AM-4:30 PM.
Clients served on average per year: 3500
Number of staff: 110
Staff description: Rehabilitation counselors, rehabilitation teachers, O&M instructors, education consultants, Business Enterprises instructors
Geographic area served: Connecticut
Publications: Brochures.

Staff

Marsha Brown, ILOB Grant Coordinator, marsha.brown@ct.gov
Mary Burgard, Vocational Rehabilitation Supervisor, (860) 602-4032, mary.burgard@ct.gov
Chris Lassen, Supervisor, Adult Services, (860) 602-4180, christopher.lassen@ct.gov
Nancy Mothersele, Braille Coordinator, nancy.mothersele@ct.gov
Brian Sigman, Director of Education and Rehabilitation, brian.sigman@ct.gov
Catherine Summ, Children's Services Supervisor, (860) 602-4233, catherine.summ@ct.gov

Services Offered

Services for Adults

  • Braille and Reading Instruction
    • Offers instruction in braille.
  • Daily Living Skills/Independent Living Skills Training
    • Administers federal-state Independent Living and Independent Living for Older Americans who are Blind Programs. In-home instruction available.
  • Employment/Job Training
    • Offers school-to-work transition programs, vocational training, job development and placement, follow-up service, vending facility training, job retention services.
  • Information and Referral
    • Provides consultation and referral service. Refers clients to Connecticut Radio Information System (CRIS)and NFB Newsline. Also provides referral services to community rehabilitation providers for job placement,vocational assessments and training. Refers clients to low vision doctors to assist with maximizing remaining vision.
  • Library Services
    • Refers clients to CT State Library Services for the Blind.
  • Low Vision Services
    • Directly provide non-prescription low vision aids for children who are visually impaired or legally blind and adults who are legally blind. May refer clients to bureau-approved low vision doctors for evaluation and provision of prescribed low vision aids and eye glasses.
  • Recreation Services
    • Offers summer camp opportunities and refers for summer camp program.
  • Travel/Orientation and Mobility
    • Provides orientation and mobility training.

Services for Children

  • Assessment
    • Conducts functional vision assessments, arranges for low vision, auditory and other appropriate assessments. Evaluates a child's academic progress, developmental progress (children birth to five), assesses the learning medium (LMA) for each child and the braille skill development for those children who are or will be braille readers.
  • Braille and Reading Instruction
    • Provides curricular materials in braille and large print as appropriate and provides instruction in braille. Pre-braille instruction is provided for children under the age of 5.
  • Computer Training/Assistive Technology
    • Provides instruction in the use of adaptive equipment.
  • Counseling
    • Offers a full range of counseling programs including parent counseling and a variety of support and related services by consultation.
  • Daily Living Skills/Independent Living Skills Training
    • Our Education Consultants provide instruction in skills needed for independence. In addition, we employ a Vision Rehabilitation Therapist who will provide Daily Living Skills training at home and in school.
  • Early Intervention/Infant Services
    • Provides early intervention services for children under the age of three who are blind and visually impaired. We provide service in homes and community programs, conduct functional vision assessments, evaluate a child's progress and development, teach parents and caregivers the techniques to use with a child who has a visual impairment, arrange for low vision, auditory and other appropriate assessments, provide specialized early intervention services for infants with limited vision and hearing. We implement a child's Indivdual Family Service Plan (IFSP) in coordination with the statewide CT Birth to Three programs.
  • Education Services
    • Provides education services for children 3 to 21 at school, in special-needs programs and at home. Instructs children in braille, use of low vision aids, organization skills, adaptive equipment, and other skills neeeded for independence. Consults with parents and other education team members regarding specific techniques for working with children who are blind and visually impaired. Provides specialized educational and consultative services to deaf-blind children, parents and professionals. Develops and implements the child's Individual Education Plan or 504 Service Plan.
  • Employment/Job Training
    • Our Vocational Rehabilitation Division provides services and counseling that help legally blind high school students transition to college, vocational training, or full-time employment.
  • Low Vision Services
    • Low vision services are offered to children who are registered with DORS-BESB. The devices provided by DORS-BESB are recommended and supplied based on a personal, educational, or vocational need.
  • Support for Parents
    • Teaches parents and caregivers how to work with children who have a visual impairment.
  • Travel/Orientation and Mobility
    • Provides individual, specialized instruction in Orientation and Mobility for safe and independent travel; instruction may be provided in the home, school, and community. Instruction ranges from consultation to advanced travel techniques with a long, white cane, or occasionally a guide dog, and also includes developing skills for utilizing public transportation systems.

Services for Professionals

  • Consultation/Technical Program Assistance
    • Offers home-based and consultant services to other programs for visually handicapped infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.

Announcements

Spring 2017 DORS-BESB NEWSLETTER
Fall 2016 DORS-BESB NEWSLETTER
A Model for Starting Career Conversations with our Youngest Clients, Easy as 1, 2, 3...
DORS-BESB Links Their Resource Library Listing to the FamilyConnect Website
Introduction to the DORS-BESB Resource Library
Switch Literacy Resources for Children with Vision Impairments Including Multiple Impairments
10 Quick Tips for Modifying Your Classroom for a Totally Blind Student
How to Modify Photographs of Familiar Objects and People for Students with Low Vision and/or Cortical Visual Impairment
Pairing Objects and Songs-A Wonderful Way to Use Tangible Objects for Communication
Using Everyday Objects in Unexpected Ways to Encourage Visual Attention and Exploration for Students Who Have Cortical Visual Impairment, Part 1
Using Peer Mentors-Great Tips from a Recent Social Skills Workshop by Sharon Sacks
Using Everyday Objects in Unexpected Ways to Encourage Visual Attention and Exploration with Students Who Have Low Vision or Cortical Visual Impairment

Events

“Literacy Through the Lens of CVI Across the Three Phases: SAVE THE DATE!
2017 New England Early Connections Conference: Families Learning Together

Ongoing Events/Programs

Skills Kits Available to Parents
New ECC Literacy Skills Kits Available to Parents

Department of Rehabilitation Services-Bureau of Education & Services for the Blind, is this page missing one of your services, events, programs, or announcements? Update your information for free.

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