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Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired serves individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

The primary vocational rehabilitation services are counseling and guidance with job placement. However, other services may also be provided as needed for an individual to compensate for, correct or prevent disability-based barriers to employment. These services can include, but are not limited to:

  • Physical or mental restoration;
  • Vocational, college or other training;
  • Assistive technology evaluations, equipment and training;
  • Information on disability resources;
  • Personal assistance services while receiving VR services;
  • Transportation in connection with VR services being provided;
  • Supported employment;
  • Self-employment assistance;
  • Transition school-to-work services for youth with disabilities; and
  • Other services based on individual needs.

 

The services a person receives are determined by the person's Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). This plan outlines a person's employment goal and the services that are needed to enable the person to achieve that goal. The IPE can be written by a VR client and counselor working together, or it can be written by the client according to guidelines the counselor will explain.

Eligibility: A person may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services if he or she has a visual impairment, physical or mental disability that is a barrier to employment and requires SBVI services to prepare for, obtain, keep or return to work. There must be a chance the person can benefit by going to work.

To apply for services, follow this link.

Cost: Some services, such as medical examinations to determine if a person is eligible for vocational rehabilitation, counseling and job placement, are provided at no charge to the client. For some other services, a client may have to share in the cost, depending on his or her income and resources.

Former client Alisha Norwood finds perfect job at Enid Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Time To Be Bold

Time To Be Bold is a national public service awareness campaign through the Independent Living Older Individuals who are Blind Technical Assistance Center at the National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision. While you already found Oklahoma Resources, you might want to look up resources for family or friends in other states. 

Check out Oklahoma's Older Blind Program

DRS and Visual Services Video

James West, crew leader, Michael Green Custom Homes: It’s given me a lot more confidence. My career is a lot better now. I went from struggling on jobs because my vision was so bad.

Voice over (VO): Many Oklahomans who are blind or visually impaired turn to Visual Services for assistance through vocational rehabilitation, employment and other programs that encourage confidence and independence.

Tim Murphy, welder: They helped me in every way you could think of. How to put dishes away. How to remember where things are, little things that you never think about until you walk around with a blindfold on.

VO: Visual Services offers the same type of assistance as DRS’s Vocational Rehabilitation division career counseling, vocational education and training, medical services to improve employment opportunities, special technology and job placement. However, vocational rehabilitation is customized to help Oklahomans with visual impairments adjust to vision loss and develop skills needed to get or keep quality jobs.

Monique Stith, VR Counselor for Visual Services: Our primary purpose is employment. Once they become employed, the clients become taxpayers. Then they are able to pay into the system and get off of disability benefits, which gives them their autonomy and control back and the power to make choices and be advocates for themselves and for others as well.

VO: Clients are eligible if visual impairments make it difficult to work. They must be able to benefit from vocational rehabilitation services, which are required to prepare for and find jobs. Most services are free.

West: Well today I feel more confident. I am definitely more successful the depression is over with.

VO: Visual Services helps high school students get valuable vocational training and work experience and assists business owners who are blind in operating food service businesses in government buildings.

Michael Spencer, Owner, M&J Snack Bar: It gives you a support system. It gives you counselors. It gives you business consultants. It gives you the tools that you need, so it’s kind of hard to fail.

VO: Recruitment assistance is free to employers along with information on tax credits and training on the latest adaptive technology to help employees get the job done.

Spencer: It’s uplifting to know that you can make that change. You can go from the sighted world to a person with disabilities and have all the tools you need to still be successful.

VO: Visual Services offers’ free classes and training at home to help clients adjust to vision loss and regain independence.

Pamela LaViolette: I was just sitting at home hoping somebody would come along and help me. I don’t have to do that now. I can get up do it myself.

VO: Visuals Services operates the Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, which mails thousands of free recorded books to patrons and provides free braille textbooks to public school students.

Kathleen Kennedy, OLBPH patron: We heavily, heavily, heavily rely on these books on tape so that we can listen to our books, get all the information we need, all the education that we need to continue to move forward.

Copyright 2008 Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.


Step 1: Locate an office nearest you, use this link to find the state office and contact information that serves your area.

Step 2: Call for an appointment

Step 3: Fill out an application

Step 4: Gather as much medical information as you can

Step 5: Show up for the appointment to complete the application

Keys to Success

  • Keep in contact with your counselor
  • Let him or her know if you move or change phone numbers
  • Complete any assignments

A person may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation from SBVI if he or she has blindness or a significant visual impairment that is a substantial barrier to employment and requires our services to prepare for, obtain, keep or return to work.

A person may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation from SBVI if he or she has blindness or a significant visual impairment that is a substantial barrier to employment and requires our services to prepare for, obtain, keep or return to work.

DRS Unified State Plan Published

The Rehabilitation Services Administration has approved and published the four-year Oklahoma Unified State Plan. The Oklahoma State Plan for Vocational Rehabilitation and Services for the Blind and Visually impaired divisions is effective July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2023. The current plan was approved on June 1, 2020.

View the Unified State Plan Here

Contact Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Office: (405) 951-3493
Toll Free: (800) 845-8476

Email SBVI

Oklahoma Works brings all of our state’s workforce resources together, connecting employers, employees and job-seekers to information and programs that help build Oklahoma’s workforce.

Last Modified on Sep 01, 2022
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