Vision Outreach Services (formerly known as Services for the Visually Impaired) works to address the unique needs of students/clients with visual impairments by building capacity of the agencies and individuals who support them through research-based best practices* (*outlined in the Expanded Core Curriculum of the National Agenda for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Including Multiple Disabilities).
In order to receive services, one of the following qualification factors must be present:
- Visual acuity of 20/50 or less in the better eye with best possible correction
- Visual field of 20 degrees or less
- Evidence of progressive vision loss that may affect future ability to learn
- Evidence of blindness due to an active disease process
- Visual acuity may not be measurable, but the individual is functionally blind
Services and Special Projects
- Support and advice for individuals and family members to aid in the adjustment to sight loss.
- Assistance for the client to become oriented to their environment.
- Provision of educational presentations to people working with individuals who have visual impairments.
- Instruction in independent living and adaptive techniques.
- Instruction in reading and writing Braille, keyboarding and use of adaptive technology.
- Advice on high-tech equipment to assist in reading and other visually oriented tasks.
- Technical assistance for school personnel that work with students who have low vision.
- Loan of low vision aids and instruction in their use.
- Referral to other services and agencies.
- Access to special projects and resources
American Printing House for the Blind (APH) Quota Fund
The Federal Act to Promote the Education of the blind was established by Congress in 1879. This act is a means for providing adapted educational materials to eligible students who meet the definition of blindness. An annual registration of eligible students determines a per capita amount of money designated for the purchase of educational materials produced by the American Printing House for the Blind (APH). These funds are credited to Federal Quota accounts, which are maintained and administered by APH and its Ex Officio Trustees throughout the country. The APH account is administered by Barb Engelbrecht. For more information on APH and the Federal Quota Account, visit the APH website.
Conferences and Workshops
Services for the Visually Impaired provides several workshops, conferences, and training opportunities each year. Please see the "Upcoming Events" table below for more information on current educational opportunities. Trainings can also be developed to meet specific needs of individuals and agencies who are working with people with low vision by contacting your regional SVI consultant.
The Loan Library provides videos and books on deaf- blindness, visual impairments, Braille, life skills, communication, adjusting to loss of vision, eye conditions, mobility, and much more. Materials are available to agencies, educators, families or clients in Wyoming and is coordinated by Joanne Whitson in the Rawlins SVI office as part of the Wyoming Deaf-Blind Project.
Montgomery Trust Fund for the Blind
Roy Montgomery left a portion of his estate to the State of Wyoming for the purpose of alleviating the condition of the visually impaired in order that their lives be made more productive, pleasant, comfortable and enjoyable. Interest from the Trust is used each year to fund grant applications for adaptive equipment or specialized training. The Trust must be the last source of funding available and the individual or group applying must be a client of Services for the Visually Impaired and must meet the qualifications and requirements of the Montgomery Trust Fund Review Board.
National Library Services for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), Library of Congress, administers this free program that loans recorded, large print and braille books and magazines, and specially designed playback equipment to residents of the United States who are unable to read or use standard print materials because of learning disability, a visual impairment or physical limitations. This program is available through all of the regional offices of Services for the Visually Impaired. Talking Books Application
This statewide gathering takes place two times each year and is a unique opportunity for children who have visual impairments, their families and teachers to get together for a day of fun, learning and sharing. The day is typically filled with recreation, games, educational opportunities, and time for discussion.
VOS Office Locations and Territories
Services for the Visually Impaired has 6 regional offices. Services are provided by consultants who travel throughout the state.
Central – (Natrona, Converse, and Fremont counties)
Consultant: Leslie Bechtel Van Orman
320 W. Main Riverton, WY 82501
Phone : (307) 856-5652 or (307) 857-9267
Fax: (307) 857-9257
Southeast – (Albany, Laramie, Goshen, Platte, and Niobrara counties)
Consultant: Ginny Chidsey
Hathaway Building, Room 144, 2300 Capitol Avenue, Cheyenne, WY 82002
Phone: (307) 777-7256
Fax: (307) 777-7744
Northwest – (Big Horn, Hot Springs, Park, and Washakie counties)
Consultants: Gary Olson and Barb Engelbrecht
1201 E. 7th Powell, WY 82435
Phone: (307) 754-2147 Fax: (307) 754-7168
Southwest – (Carbon, Sweetwater, and Uinta counties)
Consultant: Joanne Whitson
Carbon Building -Room 325 Rawlins, WY 82301
Phone: (307) 324-5333
Fax: (307) 324-3743
West Central – (Lincoln, Sublette, and Teton counties)
Consultant: Leslie Bechtel Van Orman
320 W. Main St. Riverton, WY 82501
Phone: (307) 856-5652
Fax: (307) 857-9257
Northeast – (Campbell, Crook, Johnson, Sheridan, and Weston counties)
Consultants: Barb Engelbrecht and Gary Olson
2161 Coffeen Ave., Suite 603, Sheridan, WY 82801
Phone: (307) 672-6129
Fax: (307) 672-3761