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Blind & Visually Impaired Resources

Blind and Visually Impaired Services of Indiana has compiled this list of additional resources you may find helpful. Please browse this page for information on one of the following topics:

Accessible documentation

Adaptive sports programs in Indiana

  • Indianapolis Bowling League for the Blind meets weekly beginning in August at Eastgate’s All Star Bowl. A guide rail is available for those who find is helpful. If interested please contact Mrs. Jeanettea Schaefer via email at jazs@comcast.net and put ‘bowling’ in the subject line.
  • Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana specializes in serving youth and adults with spinal cord, orthopedic, neuromuscular, and visual impairments. Specially designed equipment is available for many of the activities to enable participants to enjoy activities comfortably and safely. Sport clinics are offered year-around with education regarding adaptive equipment and community resources. Sports programs are also available on a competitive and noncompetitive recreational level.
  • Turnstone is located in northeast Indiana and provides a comprehensive continuum of supportive services that address the unique needs of people with physical disabilities and their families. Turnstone’s mission is to provide therapeutic, educational, wellness and recreational programs to empower people with disabilities.
  • United In Stride is an online resource to unite blind/visually impaired runners and sighted guides across North America. It is free to register and individuals can pair up with someone of similar athletic ability or goals including walking, hiking, jogging or running.
  • United States Association of Blind Athletes provides life-enriching sports opportunities for every individual with a visual impairment. As a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee, USABA provides athletic opportunities in various sports including, but not limited to track and field, Nordic and alpine skiing, biathlon, judo, wrestling, swimming, tandem cycling, powerlifting and goalball.

Audio services

  • Talking book & braille library provides free access, with approved application, to digital audio books, large print books and books in braille to Indiana residents who are unable to read regular print, because of a visual or a physical disability.
  • NFB-NewsLine provides free access, with approved application, to a variety of local and national newspapers and magazines to those who cannot read regular newsprint.
  • Bookshare is an online library of accessible e-books for people with print disabilities. Through its extensive collection of educational and popular titles, specialized book formats, and reading tools, Bookshare offers individuals who cannot read standard print materials the same ease of access that people without disabilities enjoy. Members can enjoy books in audio, large print, braille and other formats, on a wide variety of devices and software. All qualified U.S. students of any age can subscribe to Bookshare for free!
  • Descriptive television sometimes called “audio description” or simply “description” makes television programs and movies accessible for people who are blind or visually impaired. Short verbal descriptions of action or key visual scenes in a program, such as the setting, costumes, and facial expressions, are provided to add context. Utilize the search tool to find out which video-described television shows are available in your area.

Awareness and advocacy

  • American Council of the Blind – The American Council of the Blind strives to increase the independence, security, equality of opportunity and quality of life for all blind and visually-impaired people.
  • American Diabetes Association (Indiana office) – Leading the fight against the deadly consequences of diabetes and fighting for those affected by diabetes through research funding to prevent, cure and manage diabetes, community services, an informational database, and by giving  a voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes.
  • Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired – The mission of AER is to support professionals who provide education and rehabilitation services to people with visual impairments, offering professional development opportunities, publications, and public advocacy.
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigates complaints of employment discrimination on the basis of age, disability, sex, race, religion, color, creed or national origin. The EEOC can also handle equal pay cases. Stringent standards for accepting cases. Has the authority to enforce the ADA of 1990.
  • Foundation Fighting Blindness - The urgent mission of the Foundation Fighting Blindness, Inc. is to drive the research that will provide preventions, treatments and cures for people affected by retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration, Usher syndrome and the entire spectrum of retinal degenerative diseases.
  • Indiana Disability Rights- Protects, promotes and expands the access to and exercise of human and civil rights of individuals with a disability through negotiation, litigation and other remedies.
  • National Eye Institute – Research Today… Vision Tomorrow- The National Institutes of Health collective source on eye health information, relative news, research, educational programs and training programs.
  • National Federation of the Blind - The mission of the National Federation of the Blind is to achieve widespread emotional acceptance and intellectual understanding that the real problem of blindness is not the loss of eyesight but the misconceptions and lack of information which exist. We do this by bringing blind people together to share successes, to support each other in times of failure and to create imaginative solutions.
  • Resources for adults new to vision loss - The American Foundation for the Blind understands that information is power. We are committed to connecting people to life-changing information, resources, local services and a vibrant and supportive community.
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development - Federal law prohibits housing discrimination based on your race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status or disability. If you have been trying to buy or rent a home or apartment and you believe your rights have been violated, you can file a fair housing complaint.
  • U.S. Department of Justice - To enforce the law and defend the interests of the United States according to the law; to ensure public safety against threats foreign and domestic; to provide federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime; to seek just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior; and to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.

Bioptic driving

  • BiopticDrivingUSA.com is a website designed for those individuals for whom bioptic driving may offer an opportunity for greater independence and for professions in the bioptic driving field. Our goal is to provide practical information about bioptic driving from a team of professionals that have been involved daily in clinically fitting and training of bioptic drivers. The site is funded by the Low Vision Centers of Indiana, a Division of the Eye Associates Group, LLC
  • Bioptic driving network is run by volunteers, and is a not for profit organization concerned with developing/advancing the use of Bioptics for driving.

Centers for Rehabilitation and Community Services

  • Visually Impaired Preschool Services provides early intervention and educational services to children who are blind and visually impaired from birth to age 5. VIPS also provides parent and family support through educational tools, accessible networking, and quarterly newsletters and Play and Learn Groups. Call toll free at 888-824-2197 or email them directly at vipsindiana@vips.org
  • Bosma Enterprises rehabilitation and employment programs have been thoughtfully designed to meet the specific needs of people who are blind or visually impaired. Bosma Enterprises can help individuals navigate blindness and return to everyday tasks, find a job or continue working. Both on-site and in-home training are available through a variety of programs designed to help you or someone you love regain independence and confidence after vision loss. Reach the Rehabilitation Center directly at 317-704-8240.
  • Easter Seals Crossroads responds to needs in our community by helping children achieve their full potential at play and at school; individuals improve the quality of their lives through community day supports; adults maximize their skills and abilities through employment and assistive technology; and veterans return to their communities.
  • Evansville Association for the Blind is a not-for-profit organization committed to  assisting disabled or disadvantaged persons, particularly the visually impaired, empowering them through diverse services to live and work in the community.
  • Centers for Independent Living provide services and advocacy in line with the independent living philosophy that, “Individuals with disabilities should have the same civil rights, choices, options, and control over choices in their own lives as do individuals without disabilities.” Contact your local Center for Independent Living for further assistance.
  • The Blind Social Center in Gary, Indiana is a not-for-profit community organization committed to ‘shedding the light on blindness’ through information and skills sharing in a social integration environment. You may reach TBSC at 219-980-0097.

Continued education/professional development

  • The Hadley School for the Blind offers distance education courses for eligible students free of charge. Study areas include high school courses, GED preparation, braille and communication skills, independent living, recreation and leisure and assistive technology.
  • Low Vision Focus at Hadley – Free audio recordings offering tips and techniques for living well with low vision.

Education resources

  • From School to College: A transition activity calendar for students who are blind or visually impaired was designed by The National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision at Mississippi State University and lists tasks which students who are blind or visually impaired need to complete as early as middle school in order to be ready to attend college.
  • Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired provides preschool through high school education for young people of Indiana who are blind or visually impaired either at their campus location in Indianapolis or through their community outreach program in the students’ school of record.
  • Nina Mason Pulliam Legacy Scholars program is dedicated to providing educational opportunities for individuals who would not normally receive traditional academic  scholarships, and whose personal commitments and financial circumstances would preclude their attendance without substantial, long-term scholarship support.
  • Scholarships 4 Students – provides a comprehensive listing of available scholarships to high school students for higher education, scholarships can be filtered specifically for students with disabilities.
  • IN*Source - Special Education Parent Support provides Indiana families and service providers the information and training necessary to assure effective educational programs and appropriate services for children and young adults with disabilities.
  • Sightless Children Club is a non-profit organization for parents of, or students with, significant vision loss specializing in training and equipment to enhance educational endeavors of children with vision loss and providing parent support.

Employment resources

  • Vocational Rehabilitation Services - VR is a program of the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, provides quality individualized services to enhance and support people with disabilities to prepare for, obtain or retain employment. The individual will work closely with a VR Counselor throughout the process. Through active participation in their rehabilitation, people with disabilities achieve a greater level of independence in their work place and living environments.
  • Science products/Captek provides voice adapted equipment for blind or low vision employees in the work force including talking cash registers, thermometers, scales, coin sorters, shop tools, magnifiers, etc.
  • Where the Blind Work project - A project sponsored by the National Federation of the Blind to highlight successful professionals working across the nation in a variety of fields through self-disclosure responses.
  • Disability Solutions delivers custom solutions in outreach, recruiting, talent management and compliance. Focusing on helping corporations tap new channels for qualified talent, manage culture change, leverage federal and state hiring incentives, respond to a changing regulatory environment, and strengthen their workforce through diversity.

Equipment and technology

  • INDATA DEPOT- A equipment reutilization and computer reutilization program for receiving assistive technology equipment from donors and provided to individuals in the state of Indiana who have a disability.
  • Alternative financing program through INDATA provides low-interest extended rate financial loans to qualified individuals for assistive technology devices.
  • Listings of accessible apps or apps that assist with accessibility for blind or low vision users:

Transportation

  • Commuter Connect offers free alternative transportation in central Indiana with van pool and car pool opportunities.
  • A Transportation Guide for Persons who are Blind or Have Low Vision: A pdf that describes transportation barriers impacting persons who are blind or visually impaired reviews the complex issues and methods associated with identifying, evaluating, accessing, and utilizing available transportation options.

Other resources