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:
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.
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.
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.
|More Information & Accessing Services for the Deaf Outside NC|
|NC Division of Services for the Deaf & Heard of Hearing|
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.|
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.
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.
Some of the services offered are:
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:
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.