North Carolina Division of Services for the Blind


The North Carolina Division of Services for the Blind strives to empower individuals who are blind or visually impaired to achieve their maximum potential through services provided by competent and caring professionals.

This Division of state government offers a variety of services for low income blind and visually impaired individuals.

They can help with such things as:

Woman Petting Dog
  • glasses
  • eye exams
  • eye surgery and treatment
  • eye related medications
  • glaucoma screenings
  • hearing exams
  • job training
  • housing
  • technology/adaptive aids





Aids and Appliances

Aids and Appliances is a non-profit program that sells small aids and appliances developed or adapted for people who are blind or visually impaired.

Items for sale include:

  • talking/Braille/large-print watches
  • sewing aids
  • kitchen aids such as crock pots, pressure cookers, frying pans
  • low-vision aids such as special sunglasses and magnifiers

These and other products are available for purchase by the general public. All items are sold at cost plus shipping, handling and state tax.

Aids and Appliances has a display room in the basement of Cooke Building on the campus of The Governor Morehead School for the Blind in Raleigh, North Carolina. Contact them at 919-733-6381.




Braille Translation

For a minimal fee the Division offers translation of materials from print to Braille. By putting restaurant menus and other documents into Braille, those who read Braille can have the same access to information as those who read print.

To speak with someone about translating material, contact the Communications Unit Supervisor, at 919-733-9700.




Deaf-Blind Consultants

Through the Vocational Rehabilitation program, Deaf-Blind Consultants are available who are trained in the unique needs of people with varying degrees of vision and hearing loss. These consultants have sign skills and are familiar with the use of various types of assistive listening devices and other technologies.




Independent Living Rehabilitation Counselors

Through Independent Living Rehabilitation Counselors an individual with visual impairment may be able to receive assistance and training in the home. A social worker would visit with the person at home and help do things such as mark dials on appliances and other items so that they can be used easily. They also talk with individuals about public transportation, books on tape or in large print, and adaptive aids that might be of use.

Another option is to participate in a "Mini-Center." Mini-centers are community-based classes that meet once a week for twelve weeks. Transportation is provided. The same type of information is covered, just in a group setting.
Man Using Cane

Services are individualized. A social worker or independent living rehabilitation counselor will determine the specific services that will be of greatest help after talking with the person who has a visual impairment.




Outside North Carolina

If your family member lives outside North Carolina, there may be similar resources available. Use the lists of services provided here as a guide to know what to ask about when you contact the state agency serving the blind and visually impaired in another state.




Services Offered Through the Division

Some of the services offered are:

  • Adjustment To Vision Loss
    offering counseling, information and referral to other resources, instruction in cooking, handwriting, use of the phone, etc., and leisure and recreational activities.

  • In-Home Aide Assistance
    If you are legally blind, meet the income scale for this service, and require in-home assistance in order to continue living safely and effectively in your home, you may be able to receive this service. Home management tasks such as cleaning, cooking and laundering are performed.

  • Low Vision and Adaptive Aids
    If you have lost vision, items such as timers with enlarged numbers, talking clocks, paper with darker lines, adapted cooking utensils and magnifiers make routine tasks easier. They will talk with you about the things that you have difficulty doing and try to identify aids that will assist you. Assistance in purchasing some aids may be available.

  • Managing the Environment
    Another key to adjusting to life with limited vision involves managing the environment. Learning to mark or label and organize items, marking appliance dials, and controlling lighting are among things that the Social Workers for the Blind or Independent Living Rehabilitation Counselors can help you with in your home.

  • Safe Travel Training (Orientation and Mobility)
    Instruction is provided in all aspects of safe travel through Orientation and Mobility Instructors. Skills can be taught in the use of a sighted guide, white cane, public transportation, and environmental cues and directions. They do not train dog guides nor do they train people to use dog guides. However, they can assist with orientation to routes if a dog guide has been obtained.




Technology Resource Center

Located at the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind in Raleigh, this Center has adaptive equipment for large-print, speech, and Braille access. This equipment, including scanners, closed-circuit TV's, and note takers, is available for demonstration and evaluation. The Center provides training on the use of adaptive technology for people requiring these services.

Rehabilitation Engineering Services provides employers and others with information and assistance on modifications needed for successful employment. This includes job site modifications as well as modifications needed for training situations. A Rehabilitation Engineer and three Assistive Technology Specialists are located across the state to provide these services, and an Assistive Technology Specialist and Trainer are located at the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind in Raleigh. Such modifications may include changing lighting, adapting a telephone switchboard, installing safety measures, or adapting computer equipment. Services are continued until the best modification is found and the individual is capable of performing the needed tasks. This often includes training of the individual on the use of the modification.

Service can be categorized as:

  • Adjustment to Vision Loss
    When vision decreases, adjustments will be needed at home and at work. Training in areas such as cooking and other activities, use of adaptive aids, safe travel instruction, communication skills, and technology can help in making this adjustment.

  • Assessment
    A technology assessment looks at what you want to do and what solutions are available to assist you. Your existing skills, your ability to master new skills, and where you will use the equipment are among the factors to consider.

  • Equipment Purchase
    The Division may be able to assist with the purchase of equipment that is required for you to meet your employment or independent living goals.

  • Job Site Evaluation
    If you have or are applying for a job for which modifications might be needed to perform your job duties, technology consultants can visit the job site to determine what modifications will best meet your need. These are some of areas that can be assessed: computers, telephone systems and the physical environment.

  • Training
    The Division can help with instruction to provide you with the skills needed to productively use software, hardware or special devices to achieve independent living, educational or vocational goals.

  • Travel Aids
    Sometimes electronic travel aids or aids for distance vision are needed. Orientation and Mobility Instructors provide training in the use of the aids.




Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors

A Vocational Rehabilitation program is offered as well. A Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, is available to assist a visually impaired person with specialized needs pertaining to keeping a current job or finding work. Depending on the type of job currently held, it might be possible to modify the job to accommodate vision loss, but if not, the counselor can work with the person to look at other job options. If training is needed before going to another job, they might be able to assist with that.




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