Services for the Blind & Visually Impaired

Services for the Blind & Visually Impaired

Tennessee Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired is a State agency that is part of the Department of Human Services, Division of Rehabilitation Services. It provides a wide range of services to persons of all ages who are blind or severely visually impaired.

To Assist Tennesseans who are blind or visually impaired in maximizing their potential by providing a variety of individualized services to insure freedom of choice and to allow independence in their lives which encompasses the workplace, school, community, and home.

It is our philosophy and belief that blind people, when given the proper training, can achieve the same level of success and independence as anyone else when given equal opportunity.

A wide array of services are available including:
Vocational Rehabilitation
Rehabilitation Teaching
Older blind Services
Services to Children
Deaf Blind Services
Prevention of Blindness Services

Vocational Rehabilitation Services are available to help eligible adults who are visually impaired to successfully compete with others in entering, returning to, or retaining employment. These services are coordinated by Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors who have been specially trained to work with customers who are blind or visually impaired. Services are customized to meet the needs of the customer who plays an active role in developing an Individualized Plan for Employment and choosing services and service providers. Depending upon an individual's particular circumstances, the following services may be available:

  • Guidance and Counseling
  • Vocational Training
  • Post Secondary Education
  • Orientation and Mobility Training
  • Independent Living Services
  • Personal Adjustment Training
  • Work Adjustment
  • Technology Related Services
  • Job Placement
  • Medical, surgical, and hospital care needed to eliminate or reduce the effect of the visual disability; and,
  • Information and Referral

Some of these services are based upon economic need and may require financial participation on the part of the customer.

If you wish to talk with a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor about services or if you need additional information, please contact us.

The Rehabilitation Teaching Program is designed to provide services to individuals of all ages who are blind or visually impaired to better enable them to live independently in their homes and communities. Fourteen professionally trained Rehabilitation Teachers across the state provide a wide range of independent living services to preschool children and their families, working age adults, and older individuals who are visually impaired. Teachers work with customers both on a one-on-one basis in the individual's home and in group settings. The teachers are also active in establishing and nurturing support groups in the communities. All services are customized to meet the individual's needs and may include:

  • Guidance and Counseling
  • Family Counseling
  • Orientation and Mobility Services
  • Instruction in Communication Skills such as Braille, use of tape recorders, talking books, etc.
  • Home Management Training
  • Personal Adjustment Services
  • Instruction in Recreational Activities; and,
  • Information and Referral

Rehabilitation Teachers are located in all of our regional offices. For more information about services, please contact us.

Tennessee Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired receives annual funding from the U.S. Department of Education to provide independent living services to older individuals who are blind or visually impaired. The Older Blind Project is administered by the Agency's fourteen Rehabilitation Teachers who direct the efforts of nine Teacher Assistants. These Assistants work exclusively with individuals who are at least 55 years old and have a visual impairment. These Assistants provide direct services to individuals on a one-on-one basis and coordinate services which may be available from other agencies and organizations. They also work closely with the Area Offices on Aging and senior citizen centers across the state to assist persons who are visually impaired to access services available through those agencies. All services are provided under the supervision of a Rehabilitation Teacher.

Services to children who are visually impaired are available through the Rehabilitation Teacher Program. Teachers may work with parents, guardians, school personnel, and other service providers to provide useful information about the child's visual impairment, the availability of specialized services, and things that parents can do to prepare their children to live more independently. For more information about services available from the Rehabilitation Teachers, contact us.

Tennessee Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired provides specialized services to persons who have dual sensory impairments. A Deaf Blind Specialist is housed in the Central Office to provide technical assistance to field staff on how to best serve this population. The Specialist is also involved in advocacy activities on behalf of persons who are deaf/blind and plays an important role in educating the public about the specialized needs and abilities of persons who are deaf/blind.

Tennessee Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired has responsibility for Prevention of Blindness Services in this state. A modest amount of funds are appropriated each year to provide emergency eye care for those individuals who have no other resources available. The services are intended to either prevent blindness or restore vision. This may include eye examinations, surgery, treatment, and hospitalization. These services are based on economic need.