DIG DEEPER ...
Legally blind children, ages 3-13, may receive assistance through our Children's Services Program. Our counselors provide direct assistance with adjustment to blindness/vision loss and coordinate a variety of other applicable resources.
The Children’s Services program has two counselors who work from the Columbia and Greenville offices, serving about 200 children. We also assist with addressing the needs of legally blind children with multiple disabilities.
An updated Eye Examination Report from the child’s eye care specialist is required for us to officially determine eligibility for services. The counselor will follow up with the parents or legal guardian to arrange an appointment in your home to discuss services your child may be eligible to receive.
At age 14, children are referred to the commission’s Transition Program under the agency’s Vocational Rehabilitation division. These students may be eligible for the Summer Teen Program held at the Ellen Beach Mack Rehabilitation Center in Columbia. We encourage teens to attend this worthwhile program, as it reinforces and emphasizes independent living skills, orientation and mobility, Braille skills, vocational interests and interviewing skills for employment.
We welcome each opportunity to address questions and concerns and ultimately serve as a guide to help your child reach his or her full potential.
Services for children who are blind or visually impaired may include:
Community-based early intervention programs can assist families with obtaining appropriate services from professionals with specialized training in visual impairments and early childhood development.
Children’s Services counselors coordinate with several agencies and organizations to ensure all issues are appropriately addressed. Some of those referral sources include, the state departments of Social Services, Health and Environmental Control and Disabilities and Special Needs as well as Easter Seals and Pro Parents.
Our counselors conduct thorough assessments to identify the specific needs of children and their families. Family input is an integral part of the process, which outlines goals and determines services to be provided. The assessments result in the development of Individualized Service Plans, which are updated each year.
Children’s Services counselors also assist with the transition to preschool programs at age 3. While children are in school, our counselors attend the annual Individualized Education Plan meeting and provide adaptive material and equipment such as talking calculators, mobility canes, Braille rulers and other items to complete school assignments. The items needed will vary depending on individual abilities and needs.
If it is a viable option, Children’s Services counselors may refer children to our Low Vision Clinics for periodic evaluations, provide low-vision devices and instruct children and families how to use them during home visits. Most often the children benefit from magnifiers, monoculars and special sun shields. We also provide families with applications for various camps offered each summer so children can learn self-reliance and gain independent living skills, while socializing and enjoying positive new experiences.