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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired - AFB Directory Profile

General Information

VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired
500 Greenwich Street
Third Floor
New York, NY 10013-1354
(212) 625-1616 (Local)
(212) 219-4078 (Fax)

Brief Description

VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired provides services free of charge for people of all ages who are legally blind or severely visually impaired. Service areas include children and youth, adults, seniors, employment and job placement, healthy living, volunteer services, social networking, senior center, caregiver support program, in-home vision rehabilitation, residential rehabilitation center and community outreach and training. VISIONS provides outreach, information and services in low income, ethnic minority communities and in buildings with concentrations of frail, low income elders throughout New York City.

Hours of operation: Main office, Mon.-Fri. 9:00 AM-5:00 PM; Selis Manor, Mon-Thurs. 9:00 AM-8:00 PM and Fri. 9:00 AM-6:00 PM; VISIONS VCB, summer season and fall, winter, spring weekends. Vision rehabilitation services, 7 days/evenings.
Clients served on average per year: 6000
Number of staff: 75 /90 seasonal.
Staff description: Professional, multicultural, multilingual staff in residential, vision rehabilitation, educational, employment, outreach, I&R, social work, adapted computer training, caregiver, and intergenerational services. 300 volunteers annually.
Geographic area served: Primarily New York City and Tri-state metropolitan area.
Publications: Self-help audiobooks for blind and visually impaired adults and lesson plans/textbook materials for professionals. Publications teach sensory development, basic indoor mobility, and personal management. Instructional textbooks with structured tasks and behavioral objectives in rehabilitation teaching and orientation and mobility. Photography book "Shooting Blind."


VISIONS Center on Blindness
111 Summit Park Road
Spring Valley, NY 10977

VISIONS at Selis Manor
135 W. 23rd Street
New York, NY 10011


Ruben Coellar, Chief Program Officer, (212) 625-1616 124,
Ann DeShazo, Director, VISIONS at Selis Manor,
Nancy D Miller, Executive Director/CEO, (212) 625-1616 117,
Carmen Thorne, VCB Co-Administrator, (212) 625-1616 107,
Diane Weiss, Chief Program Officer, (212) 625-1616 125,

Services Offered

Services for Adults

  • Advocacy
    • VISIONS sponsors a weekly session for seniors called Senior Speak Out teaching seniors with vision loss how to advocate on their own behalf and how to interact with elected and appointed public officials.
  • Assessment
    • Intake and referral. Vocational Training Assessment. Independent Living Assessment. Computer skill assessment. Job Readiness Assessment. Social Work Assessment.
  • Audiodescription
    • Center for Independent Living (CIL) publications--audiotapes cover indoor mobility, personal management and sensory development.
  • Community Outreach Programs
    • Educational forums in communities with populations at risk for vision loss such as ethnic minorities or low-income groups. Group programs and social services in neighborhoods, senior and community centers (Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Manhattan) to promote integration of elders who are visually impaired into community life. Self-study audio books for learning daily living skills. Staff Training to identify people with vision loss. Technical assistance to modify environments to make them user friendly for people with vision loss. VISIONS at Selis Manor community center, located on West 23rd Street in Manhattan in an apartment building for low-income people who are blind and/or otherwise disabled. offers a variety of services for tenants as well as blind community users of the facility from throughout the New York metropolitan area:
      • Social services including benefits assistance and individual and group counseling to adjust to and cope with vision loss.
      • Individual and group vision rehabilitation training including learning Braille and a cane clinic.
      • Senior services including Senior Speak Out, a weekly seminar that includes speakers on topics of interest to blind seniors, a hot dinner meal, peer networking, and the opportunity to make use of volunteer readers. Senior Speak Out meets Mondays from 2:00-5:00 PM
      • Wide variety of adapted classes and wellness programs including photography, fitness, computers, walking club, yoga, bowling, ceramics, quilting, nutrition and health workshops, etc.
      • Volunteer readers and shoppers.
  • Counseling
    • General social services including short-term counseling, information, referral and direct services. Support groups including co-ed, men only and women only. Crisis management. Adjustment to blindness. Caregiver supports.
  • Daily Living Skills/Independent Living Skills Training
    • Individual instruction in personal management, communications, housekeeping, computer training and occupational therapy in the client's home and community. Provides in-home vision rehabilitation therapy for legally blind people of all ages including training in independent daily living skills, mobility and mainstreaming into local community. Employment and Training services including residential institutes (conferences) throughout the year.
  • Employment/Job Training
    • Career awareness, pre-vocational and job placement. Summer employment and paid internships for people who are blind, visually impaired, or multi-disabled. Assist with finding jobs for legally blind teens, adults and seniors. Vocational training for call center operator, reception, I&R specialist.
  • In-Home Services
    • Vision Rehabilitation services (O&M, VRT, OT, etc.) provided in the person's home. Sighted youth visit blind elderly persons in their homes.
  • Information and Referral
    • Public education forums and group education borough-wide. Blindline, a New York State call center for information on products and services for people with vision loss staffed by blind operators. (212) 625-3301 or toll free 1-888-625-1616.
  • Low Vision Services
    • Provides low vision services as part of organization's vision rehabilitation services.
  • Recreation Services
    • VISIONS VCB near Spring Valley, New York, in Rockland County. Five summer sessions and special winter weekends and a full range of activities with adapted facilities. VISIONS at Selis Manor offers adapted recreation and fitness classes for legally blind youth, adults and seniors.
  • Services for Seniors
    • Full range of vision rehabilitation services, adapted recreation, social activities, integration into local senior center programs, opportunity to volunteer, intergenerational programs.
  • Support Groups
    • Support groups for blind adults and seniors meet at VISIONS at Selis Manor 135 W. 23rd Street, NY, NY. Co-ed, men only and women only groups available based on demand. Family support groups and after school program for blind youth.
  • Travel/Orientation and Mobility
    • Provides orientation and mobility training for all ages by certified orientation and mobility specialists.

Services for Children

  • Computer Training/Assistive Technology
    • Offers training in the use of adapted equipment.
  • Education Services
    • VISIONS offers a pre-college prep program for one month each summer for legally blind high school students referred by the NYS Commission for the Blind.
  • Employment/Job Training
    • Afterschool and summer job training with job coaches at VISIONS at Selis Manor. Employment for blind youth 18 and over at VISIONS VCB, a residential program located in Rockland Couunty, NY. Summer internships at various businesses and nonprofits throughout New York City.
  • Low Vision Services
    • Offers vision rehabilitation services for children at home with referral to low vision optometrists.
  • Summer/Day Camps and After-school Programs
    • Offers after-school and summer programs for high school youth. Family Services at VISIONS VCB during selected weekends from October through June and during three weeks in the summer. Blind and visually impaired children of all ages including those with multiple disabilities, their siblings and parents/guardians attend for one-week in the summer and/or weekend sessions during the months from October through June.
  • Support for Parents
    • VISIONS sponsors a Youth and Vision Loss Coalition to advocate for quality services for children of ages with vision loss and offers information to parents and professionals about how to access services in NYS for children with vision loss. Handbooks guide parents as they transition from one developmental stage and service system to another (early intervention, to pre-school, to school, to work or college.
  • Support Groups
    • Support groups are offered for parents of children with vision loss at VISIONS Center on Blindness VCB.
  • Travel/Orientation and Mobility
    • Offers O&M training for children of all ages by certified orientation and mobility specialists.

Services for Professionals

  • Consultation/Technical Program Assistance
    • Training for staff in senior centers, senior housing and adult day programs to identify and better serve adults and elders who are blind or visually impaired. Provides training to staff in adult homes, group homes, home care agencies, schools, after school programs, etc. Consultation to businesses.
  • Professional Training
    • Provides publications in rehabilitation teaching and orientation and mobility. Provides staff training for working with legally blind or visually impaired persons.Offers internships for graduate students in vision rehabilitation therapy, orientation and mobility and social work graduate programs.

Ongoing Events/Programs

After-school and Summer Program
VCB Residential Vision Rehabilitation and Prevocational Programs
Family Services at VISIONS Center on Blindness

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