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EMERGENCY ALERT NOTIFICATION

On Monday, March 30, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced that due to COVID-19 response efforts, all schools in the commonwealth will be closed until further notice.  As a result, all Bucks County IU offices, programs, and services are now closed until further notice. Families who receive services from the Bucks IU will be contacted regarding plans to provide continuity of education through online or virtual platforms.

Responses to Right to Know requests will also be delayed until school offices open once again.

EMERGENCY ALERT NOTIFICATION
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Vision, Orientation and Mobility

Child reading a braille textbook

The Bucks IU's staff of Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVI) work with our orientation and mobility (O&M) specialists to provide comprehensive support services to children with visual impairments. It is our goal to not only help them master and adapt to individualized supports, such as braille or computer reading programs (e.g. JAWS), but to also help them with the skills and ability to be able to successfully and safely navigate their environments. We use the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC)* to incorporate their lessons with everyday living and work skill requirements and integrate their family/guardians to ensure ongoing support and engagement to continually practice and refine these skills.

We provide vision evaluations, consultations, and ongoing support services that are integrated into the child’s least restrictive environment (LRE). Every child is individually assessed to determine the supports they require. We offer services to children ages birth to three at the request of Base Service Unit Agencies (local community agencies that provide health supports). Students aged six to 21 must have their services/therapies contracted through their resident school district, who may then contract with us. We serve all those identified as needing special education or in need of accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Our services include:
  • Functional Visual Assessments
  • Learning Media Assessments
  • Braille Instruction
  • Set-up and Management of Team Meetings for Augmentative-Alternative Communications Team
  • Loan and Management of Support Equipment
  • Accessible Material Production (adaptation of classroom materials, for example by changing reading materials into braille or an audio tape, as needed to accommodate the individual student's access)
  • Consultation with Educational Teams on Appropriate Accommodations
  • Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) Specialists

School-Based Programs

By working with children in their school environment, we are able to integrate their therapies with the skills and activities they need to successfully participate in their classroom academic programs and school environment. Working in the student’s academic environment also allows us to share what we are doing with their teachers and the school staff. As practice is critical to mastering and advancing skills, this sharing of information allows the teachers and staff to be able to encourage the student to continually work on some of their therapies throughout the day.

Comprehensive Supports

Children with visual impairments may also demonstrate a need for support in additional areas, such as vision or orientation and mobility.  Our experience provides us with the skills and abilities to comprehensively evaluate the child so that we may provide them inclusive support services.

Who We Serve

Our services are available to eligible students with vision impairments, from birth through age 21, however who you need to initially contact is based on the child’s current age.  For children between the ages of birth to 3, their primary point of contact is through the PA state early intervention program’s county agencies, as determined by your residential location.  You may call us at 215-348-2940 Ext. 1679 for assistance in determining the agency you should contact. 

Preschool age children are served directly through the Bucks IU, as the primary provider of preschool services as designated by the state.  You may contact us directly regarding your preschool age child. 

For students in kindergarten through age 21, their home school district is the primary contact for services. The school districts in Bucks County have the option to then contract with us for vision support services as we are oftentimes already providing related services in their schools.

*Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) is the body of knowledge and skills that are needed by students with visual impairments due to their unique disability-specific needs. Students with visual impairments need the expanded core curriculum in addition to the core academic curriculum of general education.