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for the Blind

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Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired - AFB Directory Profile

General Information

Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired
60 Kimball Avenue
South Burlington, VT 05403
(802) 863-1358 (Local)
(802) 863-1481 (Fax)
(800) 639-5861 (Toll-Free)
(800) 639-5861 (TDD/TTY)

Brief Description

The Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (VABVI) provides services, training and support to Vermonter of all ages, (from birth through old age) experiencing vision loss. VABVI employs teachers of the visually impaired, certified orientation and mobility specialists, vision rehabilitation therapists, and low vision rehabilitation therapists.

Hours of operation: Mon.-Fri. 8:00 AM-4:00 PM.
Clients served on average per year: 1200
Number of staff: 45
Geographic area served: Vermont.
Publications: The Voice (quarterly newsletter).


80 West Street, Suite 202
Rutland, VT 05701

13 Overlook Drive, Suite 1
Berlin, VT 05641

Holton Hall, Ste. 280
130 Austine Drive
Brattleboro, VT 05301


Stephanie Bissonette, Supervisor of Children's Services, (800) 639-5861 225,
Erika Farmer, Director of Development, (800) 639-5861 224,
Lori Newsome, Office Manager, (800) 639-5861 231,
Daniel Norris, Supervisor of Adult Services, (800) 350-8838 101,
Steven Pouliot, Executive Director, (800) 639-5861 233,
Katy Quinlan, Director of Operations/Controller, (800) 639-5861 234,

Services Offered

Services for Adults

  • Assessment
    • We will work closely with you to determine where your vision loss is impacting areas of your life and come up with collaborative solutions to help you keep doing what you love to do. We can assess you for your low vision needs, travel at home or in the community, assistive technology needs or needs related to sudden vision loss.
  • Assistive Products
    • We work with you at your comfort level. There are high and low tech solutions. These may be as simple as a signature guide to help you sign documents or as high tech as hand held electronic magnification. We’ll work with you where you’re at. We can demonstrate products and help you to order and have them delivered to your home.
  • Braille and Reading Instruction
    • Our staff can work with you to help you learn to read again through Braille. Given your individual circumstances and tactual sensitivity, we can help you determine if Braille is right for you.
  • Community Outreach Programs
    • We have several community outreach services. All our staff, many of whom are visually impaired, go into schools, nursing homes, senior centers and other places to share information on visual impairments and adaptations for vision loss. We have specially trained clients who travel to share their individual experiences having vision loss. We also host 10 support groups covering all four regions of the state called Peer Assisted Learning and Support (PALS). These groups allow our clients to help support one another and continue their education regarding sight impairments. We also have volunteers who can assist clients with reading, transportation and other needs.
  • Computer Training/Assistive Technology
    • While we cannot help purchase computers or the software to run on computers, we can help you learn to use the built in accessibility features of your computer and help you learn how to use adaptive software that you purchase. We can also help you identify the best electronic magnification device for your situation.
  • Counseling
    • We do not have professional counselors on staff, but our employees can help you better understand the grieving process involved with vision loss. We also have peer support groups across the state that can help.
  • Daily Living Skills/Independent Living Skills Training
    • We offer skill training in all areas of adult daily living, including personal management, communications, recreation and leisure, home maintenance, and more.
  • Information and Referral
    • We work closely with other state and local agencies. We can help connect you with the right agencies for your needs.
  • Low Vision Services
    • We provide low vision evaluation and follow-up. We can demonstrate and recommend low vision devices. We can connect you with clinical low vision exams with low vision optometrists.
  • Services for Seniors
    • Offers adaptive skills training in all areas of adult daily living.
  • Transportation Services
    • We have a state-wide volunteer transportation service. Our volunteers can help our clients travel to and from weekly grocery or laundry runs, vision support groups, medical appointments and a number of personal trips within the state of Vermont each year.
  • Travel/Orientation and Mobility
    • We can help you learn to travel with vision loss at home, work or in the community. Depending on your specific situation, we can help you to maximize the use of your remaining vision when traveling, learn to use a long white cane, utilize accessible GPS while traveling and/or learn to utilize volunteer and public transportation.
  • Volunteer Services
    • Each year hundreds of volunteers help VABVI to provide our clients with reader services, shopping assistance, transportation and more. All our volunteers undergo a background check prior to beginning their service with our clients.

Services for Children

  • Assessment
    • Provides specialized assessments, such as functional vision, learning media, orientation and mobility, and areas related to the Expanded Core Curriculum: assistive technology assessments, socialization, independent living skills, and so on.
  • Braille and Reading Instruction
    • Offers literacy programs for children. Provides services in the home or school as directed by the Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP), the Individual Educational Plan (IEP), or the 504 plan. All Vermont teachers of the visually impaired hold a Vermont teaching license.
  • Community Outreach Programs
    • Connects parents with each other upon reqest. Provides an 3 day summer Intensive Residential Life Experience (IRLE) for students ages 5 and older. Open to Vermont students only. Provides in-services to Vermont schools about visual impairments.
  • Computer Training/Assistive Technology
    • As directed by the IEP or 504 plan, provides students direct instruction in computer training with assistive technology designed for people who are visually impaired.
  • Daily Living Skills/Independent Living Skills Training
    • Our Helping Adolescents Prepare for Independence (HAPI)teem program provides services in the area of daily living as directed by the IFSP, IEP or 504 plan. The HAPI program enables our licensed Teachers of the Visually Impaired, Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapists, and Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists to work one-on-one with teenaged students aged 14+ for one hour per week honing independent living skills. These skills are necessary for students to possess in order to eventually live independently, succeed academically/professionally, and thrive personally as adults. Topics covered include (but are certainly not limited to) exploring career options, college preparation, self-advocacy, fiscal responsibility, utilizing an ATM, basic first aid knowledge, navigating public transportation, recognizing social cues, dining etiquette, and proper dress for various occasions. Parents-- if you are interested in your blind or visually impaired child receiving these services, please contact Stephanie Bissonette, our Supervisor of Children's Services, at (802) 863-1358 ext. 225. Take advantage of this incredible opportunity!
  • Early Intervention/Infant Services
    • Teachers of the visually impaired and certified orientation and mobility specialists provide services to children aged 0 to 3 (and older).
  • Education Services
    • Teachers of the visually impaired and orientation and mobility specialists provide services to students from birth to high school graduation. Home and school visits are made as needed. Provides specialized instructional materials for students who are blind or visually impaired in Vermont.
  • Employment/Job Training
    • 1. Vermonters can contact the Vermont State Division f/t Blind & VI. 2. Vermont has a summer work program called LEAP for students aged 16 to 24 who have employable skills.
  • Information and Referral
    • To request a referral application contact Stephanie Bissonette at or call 1-800-639-5861 ext. 225.
  • Preschool Programs
    • Provides services in the home and the child's preschool. Also collaborates on co-visits with other related sevices providers, such as speech pathologists, occupatonal therapists or physical therapists, and others.
  • Summer/Day Camps and After-school Programs
    • Our Intensive Residential Life Experience educational summer program for blind and visually impaired Vermont students: This year students will prepare, cook, and clean up their own meals, spend two nights away from home, foster friendships, skate, golf, and hike at Jay Peak in Jay, Vermont. Students will be expected to keep track of personal items, maintain their hygiene, and self-advocate. Parents-- call us today to get an application! The number at our headquarters is (802) 863-1358 or (800) 639-5861 toll-free.
  • Support for Parents
    • Provides in-home visits to children under the age of three and then upon request after the age of three.
  • Travel/Orientation and Mobility
    • Certified orientation and mobility specialist provide services to children and adults of all ages.

Services for Professionals

  • Consultation/Technical Program Assistance
    • Outreach services are available to any institution or organization interested in learning more information about visual impairments, adaptations or services available within the state of Vermont. We often present to schools, nursing homes, hospitals, senior centers, agencies on aging and community service groups.
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