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Collection: Technology for Students Who are Visually Impaired

Purple arrow (1137 bytes)Organizations Supporting the Visually Impaired

The following is a compilation of organizations that support users who are visually impaired. [Last updated September 1998]

Access Unlimited/SPEECH Enterprises
3535 Briarpark Drive #102
Houston, TX 77042
(713) 781-7441
(800) 848-0311
Distributes large print and voice output software for use with other products. Free information packet can be generated for each inquirer. Catalog of products available in print.

Alliance for Technology Access
(formerly: National Special Education Alliance)
1307 Solano Avenue
Albany, CA 94706-1888
(415) 528-0747
217 Massachusetts Avenue
Lexington, MA 02173
(617) 863-9966
Provides information on microcomputer technology to aid children and adults with disabilities.

American Association of the Deaf-Blind
814 Thayer Avenue
Third Floor
Silver Spring, MD 20910
(301) 588-6545 TDD
Provides advocacy and makes referrals to advance the economic, educational, and social welfare of deaf-blind persons. Helps assure independence and integration into the community. Sponsors an annual convention. Serves deaf-blind persons only, all ages. Charges fees for membership.

American Council of the Blind
1155 15th Street, Suite 720
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 467-5081
(202) 467-5085 (FAX)
Publishes computer resource about various devices and where to buy them. Visually Impaired Data Processors International, a computer users' special interested group, is part of ACB.

American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
15 West 16th Street
New York, NY 10011
(212) 620-2080
(800) AFB-LIND
(212) 620-2137 (Fax)
Catalog lists informational books and pamphlets on and for the visually impaired. Single copies free for some pamphlets. Maintains technology database, evaluates products, and does research and development.

American Printing House for the Blind
P.O. Box 6085
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Louisville, KY 40206-0085
(502) 895-2405
Catalog lists books for children (print / braille, braille, and large type). Also lists learning materials for visually impaired children: tactile, multisensory, and other materials.

Apple Computer Inc.
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation
20525 Mariani Avenue
Cupertino, CA 95014
(408) 974-7910
Increases awareness of computer solutions for persons with disabilities through print and electronic material and develops accessible personal computers.

Baruch College
Computer Center for the Visually Impaired
17 Lexington Avenue
Box 515
New York, NY 10010
(212) 447-3070
Offers training and information exchange and dissemination. Serves as a model center and test facility for specialized computer equipment.

Blinded Veterans Association
477 H Street NW
Washington, DC 20001-2694
(202) 371-8880
A membership organization for veterans blinded during or after their military service. Has two major programs. The Field Service Program counsels blinded veterans and assists them in obtaining benefits from the Veterans Administration. The Outreach Employment Program helps veterans prepare resumes and keeps them informed of potential job opportunities.

Braille Institute
741 N. Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90029
(213) 663-1111
This is an educational organizational for persons who are blind, deaf-blind, or partially sighted. It has technological resources, a talking book library, and a large community outreach program. A subsidy program for funding equipment is available to person who are currently employed and legally blind.

The Blind Children's Center
4120 Marathon Street
P.O. Box 29159 Los Angeles, CA 90029
(213) 664-2153
Pamphlets on blind infants, some of which are available in Spanish. Single copies free.

Carroll Center for the Blind.
70 Centre Street
Newton, MA 02158
(617) 969-6200
Various publications and educational programs are available for persons who are blind or visually impaired. A computer training program, Project CABLE, provides computer assessment, training on adaptive devices and software, and word processing training. Summer training program for special educations professionals are also offered.

Also offers:
Project CABLE Resource Manual, 2nd edition.
Project CABLE (Computer Access for the Blind in Education and Employment)
This manual includes curriculum, evaluation forms, lesson plans, and other resources to assist in setting up or running an employment program for persons who are blind or visually impaired. Other topics include funding and staffing.

Council for Exceptional Children
Center for Special Education Technology
1920 Association Drive
Reston, VA 22091-1589
(703) 620-3360
(800) 873-8255
Maintains a national information center; distributed information about assistive technology and its use in special education.

4 Sights Network
(Upshaw Institute for the Blind)
16625 Grand River
Detroit, MI 48227
This network provides bulletin boards, teleconferencing, and database information for blind and visually impaired individuals and those working with them. The database information covers such topics as rehabilitation resources, training facilities, software descriptions, and assertive technology devices.

Electronic Industries Foundation
Rehabilitation Engineering Center
1901 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Suite 700
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 955-5810
Provides information on assistive devices for persons with disabilities, on application of these devices, and on funding and financing.

Helen Keller National Center
111 Middleneck Road
Sands Point, NY 11050
(516) 944-8900
Center for training youths and adults who are deaf and blind. A variety of skill training is available, including working with computers.

Regional offices:
Great Plains Region
5920 Nall Avenue
Suite 311
Mission, KS 66202
(913) 677-4562

New England Region
89 Broad Street
Suite 1135
Boston, MA 02110-8702
(617) 350-8702 (voice and TDD)

North Central Region
35 East Wacker Drive
Suite 772
Chicago, Il 60601-2109
(312) 726-2090

Northwest Region
2366 Eastlake Avenue, East
Suite 209
Seattle, WA 98102-3366
(206) 324-9120 (voice and TDD)

South Central Region
4455 LBJ Freeway
LB No.3
Dallas,TX 75244-5998
(214) 490-9677

Southeast Region
1005 Virgina Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30354
(404) 766-9625 (voice and TDD)

Southwest Region
6851 Lennox Avenue
Van Nuys, CA 94105-4097
(818) 782-9935
(818) 782-9936 (TDD)

International Braille and Technology Center for the Blind
National Federation for the Blind
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
(410) 659-9314
Provides hand-on access to a variety of assistive technology for would-be purchasers, consumers, and interested professionals.

International Federation of Library Associations
and Institutions (IFLA)

Section of Libraries for the Blind
c/o Helen Perry, Executive Secretary
CNIB National Library Division
1929 Bayview Avenue
Toronto, Ontario, M4G 3E8
Promotes national and international cooperation in the field of library services for blind and visually impaired readers and encourages research and development in all aspects of this area. Concerned with reading aids for the visually impaired and with a variety of library materials: large print, braille production and the impact of new technology on braille, braille music, and tactile maps.

National Association for Visually Handicapped
22 West 21st Street
New York, NY 10010
(212) 889-3141
Organization dealing with the needs of people who are partially sighted. Contact for information about computer access. Also a San Francisco office at 3201 Balboa Street, San Francisco CA 94121.

National Braille Association
Three Townline Circle
Rochester, NY 14623-2513
(716) 427-8260
(716) 427-0263 Fax
Coordinates volunteer services in the production and distribution of reading materials in braille, recorded format, and large print. The Reader-Transcriber Registry accepts requests for the production of general-interest materials. The Braille Textbook Assignment Service transcribes, on request, college texts other than mathematics and science texts that are transcribed by the Braille Book Bank (BBB). The BBB has titles for immediate thermoform duplication, and the Braille Technical Tables Bank has braille masters of standard tables for duplication. The association offers workshops for transcribers and manuals for producing reading materials for persons with visual impairments.

National Braille Press, Inc.
88 St. Stephen Street
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 266-6160
Print/Braille books at the same price as the print edition. Children's Braille Book Club features a different print/braille book each month. Interest level of books: preschool to grade 3.

National Easter Seal Society
Computer Assistive Technology Services (CATS)
5120 South Hyde Park Boulevard
Chicago, IL 60615
(312) 667-8400
Maintains information and technical support centers for people with disabilities, their families, and agencies serving them.

National Eye Institute
National Institutes of Health
Building 31, Room 6A32
Bethesda, MD 20892
(301) 496-5248
Conducts and supports research on the eye and visual system and on the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of visual disorders. Promotes the application of research findings to clinical practice and heightens public awareness of vision problems. Publishes fact sheets and booklets.

National Federation of the Blind
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
(410) 659-9314
Largest national consumer group of blind persons. Programs include: Committee on Evaluation of Technology (which evaluates current and proposed technology for people who are blind or visually impaired); International Braille and Technology Center for the Blind (a demonstration and evaluation center for computer technology for blind and visually impaired users); and NFB in Computer Science (a nationwide computer user's group which publishes an annual newsletter).

Also offers:

National Library Services Division for the Blind & Physically Handicapped
1291 Taylor St., NW
Washington, DC 20542
(202) 707-5100
Administers a free national library program of braille and recorded books and magazines for visually impaired and physically disabled persons. Reading materials and playback machines are distributed through cooperating regional and subregional (local) libraries to eligible borrowers. Music materials are loaned directly from the Music Section of the National Library Service. The music collection consists of scores in braille and large print; music magazines and books about music and musicians in braille, large print, and recorded format; and elementary instruction in voice and instruments in recorded format.

National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC)
8455 Colesville Road
Suite 935
Silver Spring, MD 20910
(310) 588-9284
Provides reference and referral on topics of disability and rehabilitation. Produces the REHABDATA database that contains bibliographic records of the material in the NARIC library.

Overbrook School for the Blind
64th Street and Malvern Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19151
(215) 877-0313
Publishes The Overbrook Parent Early Childhood Education Series, a series of print sheets on various aspects of early childhood development and learning. Free. Contact Dr. Bernadette Kappen.

Reader Project
2631 Garfield Street NW
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 667-7323
Organization involved in publishing books in electronic format for people with disabilities.

Recording for the Blind, Inc.
20 Roszel Road
Princeton, NJ 08540
(609) 452-0606
(609) 987-8116 Fax
Lends recorded educational books that range in educational level from late elementary through graduate school and beyond. The services are available to persons with a verified visual, physical, or specific learning disability that substantially limits reading. A registration fee of $25 is required of all applicants.

1101 Connecticut Avenue NW
Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 857-1199
Promotes and supports the research, development, and dissemination of knowledge in rehabilitation technology to meet the needs of persons with disabilities.

Sensory Aids Foundation
C-TEC (Computer Training and Evaluation Center)
385 Sherman Avenue, Suite 2
Palo Alto, CA 94306
(415) 329-0430 (voice)
(415) 329-0433 (TDD)
Compiles and publishes consumer information on technology, including computer adaptations, for blind and visually impaired people. Assists in career placement for people who have visual or hearing impairments. Publishes a newsletter and has a technology training center.

Also offers:

Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute
Rehabilitation Engineering Center
2232 Webster Street
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 561-1619
(415) 561-1610 (fax)
Research and development center on assistive technology (including work on computer access devices) for people who are blind or visually impaired.

Telephone Pioneers of America
22 Cortlandt Street, Room C-2575
New York, NY 10007
(212) 393-3252
Maintains a directory of senior and retired telephone employees who repair and service record players and cassette machines of the talking-books program of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Pioneers may visit homes of new readers to demonstrate use of the equipment and may help library staffs inspect returned talking books for damage before the books are loaned to other readers.

Trace Research and Development Center
University of Wisconsin, Madison
S-151 Waisman Center
1500 Highland Avenue
Madison, WI 53705-2280
(608) 262-6966
Evaluates adaptive devices. Sells publications on communication system and computer-related applications.

World Blind Union
(Union Mondiale des Aveugles)
58, avenue Bosquet
75007 Paris
An international nongovernmental coalition composed of representatives from various associations of blind people and from agencies providing services to them. The members are grouped into seven geographical unions: Africa, Asia, Europe, East Asia/Pacific, Latin America, Middle East, and North America/Caribbean. Works for the prevention of blindness, promotes the well-being of blind and visually impaired people, and serves as an international forum for the exchange of knowledge and experience in the field of blindness.

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This material was developed by the National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP), located at Education Development Center, Inc. in Newton, Massachusetts.  NCIP was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs from October 1, 1992 - September 30, 1998, Grant #H180N20013.  Permission is granted to copy and disseminate this information.  If you do so, please cite NCIP.   Contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by NCIP, EDC, or the U.S. Government.  This site was last updated in September 1998. 

ŠEducation Development Center, Inc.