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for the Blind

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Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired - AFB Directory Profile

General Information

Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired
1002 G Avenue
Vinton, IA 52349
(319) 472-5221 (Local)
(800) 645-4579 (Toll-Free)

Brief Description

Geographic area served: State of Iowa


Jay Colsch, Regional Director North East Region,
Steve Gettel, Superintendent,
Pam Rubel, Regional Director - Eastern Iowa, (319) 472-5221 1131,
Justin Ruegg, Director of Human Resources, (319) 472-5221 1226,
Gwen Woodward, Regional Director - Western Iowa,

Services Offered

Services for Children

  • Assessment
    • Upon referral entitlement is established with a medical report from a ophthalmologist or optometrist documenting diagnosis of an eye condition. At that point eligibility for vision services is ascertained based on a two-prong approach of medical evaluation of the child’s vision and its impact on his/her functioning. Initially there are four additional areas to be assessed by a qualified TVI or Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS). 1) A functional vision assessment (FVA) helps to determine the impact the vision loss has on the child’s daily activity and learning. 2) A learning media assessment (LMA) helps determine through what sensory channel(s) the child learns most efficiently. 3) The Expanded Core Curriculum Needs Assessment gives the educational team direction in the priority areas of the expanded core curriculum that need to be further assessed and addressed in the IEP. 4) Orientation and mobility evaluation is completed to determine the areas of need and level of support that is appropriate for the individual child at that particular time.

      Each of these data points is to be kept current, minimally every three years, to best inform the instructional goals of the student. Progress monitoring is a continual process of monitoring student performance and the impact of interventions as needed based on the performance data.
  • Braille and Reading Instruction
    • Students receive instruction in reading and writing the Braille code to increase literacy skills and to access the general education curriculum. After learning the code, emphasis is on increasing reading speed and fluency. The Nemeth Code is introduces as the student moves through the math curriculum. The itinerant teacher of students who are blind or visually impaired (TVI) is challenged to build capacity of the paraeducator and classroom teacher to support the Braille literacy of the student through out the instructional day. Collaboration with other building staff such as a reading teacher who can provide the additional individual support required for literacy skills that are commensurate with grade level peers is proven beneficial.
  • Community Outreach Programs
    • Provides direct educational services, including itinerant vision teaching and orientation and mobility, to students who are blind or visually impaired in local school settings throughout the state in cooperation with Area Education Agencies and the local school districts.
  • Computer Training/Assistive Technology
    • Technology consultants provide technology consultation, evaluation, inservice and training to area education agencies, local school districts, students and families, which may include technology evaluations, inservice and/or training in the use of specialized software and hardware, setting up home computers and/or note-taking devices, troubleshooting equipment and delivering and setting up equipment borrowed from Iowa Braille School's Assistive Device Center.
  • Early Intervention/Infant Services
    • Early childhood services may be requested by parents, classroom teachers, teachers of students with visual impairments, orientation and mobility specialists and other service providers. Iowa Braille School can provide and/or refer you to resource materials, consult with parents to address concerns, visit the home or school setting, help with transition from home-based early access to preschool services.
  • Education Services
    • Conducts a fully accredited K-12 school on campus in Vinton, including a residential program during the school week. Students are bused home every weekend. Short-term placements available as well as day programs. Provides direct instruction to students throughout Iowa attending their local schools through an itinerant teaching model for both vision teaching and for orientation and mobility. Summer programs offered on campus. Parent and sibling workshops. Parent and professional workshops and inservices.
  • Employment/Job Training
    • Collaborates with the Iowa Department for the Blind to ensure high school youth transition to adult services. Work Experience Program available on campus during the school year.
  • Information and Referral
    • State Vision Consultant provides information to parents, professionals, paraprofessionals, related service providers, and other interested groups and individuals.
  • Low Vision Services
    • Low Vision Clinics are held in the fall and spring of each school year in various locations in Iowa. These are provided at no cost to parents or schools. This service includes clinical vision examinations, referrals for further diagnostic exams, low vision device loaner program and assistance with low vision device purchases. Parents and teachers are encourged to attend the low vision clinic, so they can provide information that will help the service staff understand by observing the evaluation and having their questions answered.
  • Preschool Programs
    • Provides services at home or in a preschool classroom for visually impaired children ages birth to 5.
  • Recreation Services
    • Iowa students may participate in on-campus events planned throughout the year. Some annual events include the prom, the Joe Beringer Corvette Car Rally, and beep baseball. The Iowa Braille School (IBS) is a member of the North Central Association of Schools for the Blind (NCASB), a conference of sixteen schools for students who are blind or visually impaired in the Midwest. NCASB sponsors sporting event competitions. To encourage students to be active, IBS provides weekend activities focusing on track and field, goal ball, swimming, wrestling, and forensics (speech). Students throughout Iowa who are in the 7th grade through the 12th grade are encouraged to attend the activity weekends and the competitions held around the Midwest. A weekend activity camp is held at the beginning of each season. Students who want to compete in any of the sports attend the weekend camp in order to be eligible to travel and compete with the team. After the weekend camp, students are given practice schedule by the IBS coaches and practice in his or her public school. During the competition weekend, students travel with the Iowa Braille School coaches to compete in the various events.

      Offers after-school therapeutic recreation activities; school day adaptive physical education; competitive team sports; special olympics; and a variety of summer recreational activities during summer school sessions.
  • Support for Parents
    • Services offered to families to develop and strengthen partnerships with parents of children with visual impairment include service coordination and collaboration; information about community services; resource information and dissemination; advocacy and family support; behavior management consultation and training; social skills training; individual, group and family counseling; home visitation; family activities; parent networking; family advocacy training. IBS works in close partnership with parents and professionals to enhance and support life-long learning for people with visual impairments and to further develop programs and services with families.
  • Support Groups
    • Offers support for parents as described in the description of support for parents.
  • Travel/Orientation and Mobility
    • Provides orientation and mobility training.

Services for Professionals

  • Consultation/Technical Program Assistance
    • Provides state vision consulting. Provides educational consultations for classroom adaptations for low vision students. Provides technology consultations including assistive devices.

Job Postings

3/5/2018 Teacher of the Visually Impaired

12/20/2017 Transition and Family Services Consultant

12/20/2017 Teacher of the Visually Impaired

Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, is this page missing one of your services, events, programs, or announcements? Update your information for free.

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