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The Department has moved to 135 Santilli Highway in Everett. The Department's office and Licensure Welcome Center are open. The new location has free parking and is a short walk from the Wellington station on the MBTA's Orange Line.
Special Education

Vision Impairment, Blind and Deafblind

Sensory Impairment
The term shall include the following:

Vision — The capacity to see, after correction, is limited, impaired, or absent and results in one or more of the following: reduced performance in visual acuity tasks; difficulty with written communication; and/or difficulty with understanding information presented visually in the education environment. The term includes students who are blind and students with limited vision.

Deaf-Blind — Concomitant hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes severe communication and other developmental and educational needs.

Educational Programs in Massachusetts

Perkins School for the Blind
Direct and consultative services to children from birth through age 22 throughout the state. The Perkins School for the Blind also serves as an information resource.

Massachusetts Organizations/Resources

Carroll Center for the Blind
The Carroll Center for the Blind provides direct and consultative services to children and adults throughout the state. The Center also serves as an information resource.

The Massachusetts Accessible Instructional Materials Library (AIM Library)
The Massachusetts Accessible Instructional Materials Library (AIM Library), formerly called the Vision Resource Library (VRL), acquires, maintains and distributes specialized instructional materials, as well as coordinates textbooks in Braille and Large Print, to assist school districts and educators in Massachusetts to provide blind and visually impaired students with an appropriate education and equal access to the general curriculum.

Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB)
The Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB) serves children and transition aged youth. MCB Children Service Workers provide information and referral, advocacy, case management and socialization/recreation programs (where available) for children aged 0-13 who are legally blind and their families (for some individuals, children's services may continue beyond age 13). The MCB offers complete vocational rehabilitation services to eligible students who are legally blind over the age of 14 whose disability has become an impediment to education, independent living, and employment. An MCB Qualified Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor works with these students and their families to explore education, independent living, and employment goals. A customized plan is developed with the consumer/family to outline services MCB will provide to meet the consumer's objectives.

Massachusetts Unified English Braille (UEB) State Implementation Plan
In November 2012, BANA voted to adopt Unified English Braille (UEB) as an official braille code for the United States. The Braille Literacy Advisory Council (BrLAC) was charged with developing a plan for approval by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) regarding the implementation of UEB in Massachusetts.

New England Center for Deafblind (NEC)
The NEC provides technical assistance to children and families in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. No direct services are provided, but consultation, training and referral services are available.

Northeast Regional Center for Vision Education (NERCVE)
Northeast Regional Center for Vision Education (NERCVE) is an established center within the Institute for Community Inclusion that is academically affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Boston, Graduate College of Education. UMass Boston is New England's only academic center for preparing Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments and Orientation and Mobility Specialists, two key specialties which assist people with visual impairments achieve their goals of high quality education, seeking employment, and traveling independently.

National Organizations/Resources

Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP)
A national professional organization which administers testing and awards national certification to Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists, Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapists and Certified Low Vision Therapists.

American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a national nonprofit that expands possibilities for people with vision loss.

The National Braille Press (NBP)
The National Braille Press is a nonprofit braille printing and publishing house. NBP has an extensive catalog of books and a children's book club.

National Center to Improve Practice in Special Education Through Technology, Media and Materials (NCIP)
This website provides: Technology for Students Who are Visually Impaired Collection: Table of Contents. General information, practices, products, organizations and publications that support users who are visually impaired may be accessed through this website.

The National Federation of the Blind
NFB is the largest organization of the blind in America.

National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS)
The Individuals with Disabilities Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) is the main federal program authorizing state and local aid for special education and related services for children with disabilities. One significant improvement in the 2004 legislation was the addition of sections defining the provision of textbooks and instructional materials in accessible formats for students who are blind or print disabled. NIMAS will guide the production and electronic distribution of curricular materials in accessible, student-ready versions, including braille and digital talking books.

National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC)
The National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC) is a national membership organization of parents and friends of blind children reaching out to each other to give vital support, encouragement, and information.

Last Updated: October 5, 2016

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
135 Santilli Highway, Everett, MA 02149

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


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