Organizations supporting BC Children & Youth who are blind or visually impaired
BC Blind Sports & Recreation Association
The BC Blind Sports and Recreation Association supports children with and without additional disabilities who are blind, visually impaired, or deafblind and their families throughout BC. We promote play and physical activity, which results in physical, social and emotional benefits. We work with parents, instructors, and others to facilitate the development of motor skills and physical literacy in children and youth. Our parents’ guide and video (DVD) “Encouraging Physical Activity in Preschoolers with Visual Impairment” is available to get you started. We are also available to work with students in their schools to facilitate participation in PE. We travel to communities throughout BC supporting children/youth and their families in their schools and community programs.
604-325-8638 (Greater Vancouver) or 1-877-604-8638 (toll free)
Canadian Deafblind Association – BC Chapter
The Canadian Deafblind Association – BC Chapter assists individuals who are deafblind in BC to achieve their best quality of life through Intervention. CDBA-BC has two main programs. The Early Intervention Program supports children with deafblindness, birth to 5 years, to develop their true potential during a crucial age of learning and works with their family and professional team in embracing the world of deafblindness and deafblind Intervention. The Intervention Program, offered during the spring, summer and winter school breaks to children ages 2 – 19 years, provides Intervention support to allow children/youth with deafblindness to more fully interact with their environment and to utilize their communication and social skills.
Canadian National Institute for the Blind
The CNIB Foundation provides children and families with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to smash down barriers and seize the future. Through immersive workshops, activities, family fun days and camps, children and youth programs help young people with sight loss develop confidence, independence and a sense of self-identity.
Children’s Low Vision Project of British Columbia
Children’s Low Vision Project of British Columbia (CLVP-BC) is hosted by School District 23 Central Okanagan. The project is designed to provide comprehensive low vision assessment to school-age children throughout British Columbia. This project brings together professionals trained in ophthalmology, optometry, orientation and mobility, assistive technology and education to evaluate each child, prescribe and dispense low vision devices, and make recommendations to support the child, family, teachers, schools and other professionals working with the child.
Provincial Outreach Program for Students with Deafblindness
The BC Provincial Outreach Program for Students with Deafblindness is a provincial outreach program with a mandate from the Ministry of Education to support BC school districts enrolling students kindergarten through Grade 12 with deafblindness. A request for service must come from district personnel.
Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired
The Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired is a provincial resource program mandated by the Ministry of Education to support access to education and inclusive programming for students with visual impairments from kindergarten through to grade 12. PRCVI supports district and school capacity through professional learning for teachers of students with visual impairments, outreach services, and the provision of adapted learning materials in accessible formats, including digital alternate formats through ARC-BC.
The British Columbia Vision Teachers’ Association collaborates with PRCVI to plan professional development opportunities for BC vision teachers.
VGH Eye Care Centre
The VGH/UBC Eye Care Centre Vision Rehabilitation Clinic sees patients for Comprehensive Vision Rehabilitation assessment including macular perimetry evaluation of central field loss and occupational therapy training with devices.
Vision Interprofessional Assessment Team
The Vision Interprofessional Assessment Team at Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children (Vancouver) is a provincial program which provides specialized assessment and diagnosis services for children birth to 19 years who have a suspected or known vision loss. The Team’s expertise includes a pediatrician, occupational therapist, physical therapist, speech-language pathologist, psychologist, social worker, nurse, audiologist and recreation therapist. Services available are:
- Specialized, clinical assessment of a child’s function based on their visual impairment.
- Helping families understand their child’s vision loss and how it may affect their learning and development needs.
- Resources, consultation and information to community service providers to ensure the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) meets the child’s health and developmental needs.
604-453-8300 ext 8454
Vision Loss Rehabilitation BC
A CNIB organization, Early Intervention Vision Services work directly with children and families from birth to school entry. Referral to the program can be direct by family or community services, with the need for a vision report to complete the registration process. Staff provide coverage across BC, assisting families in understanding their child’s vision or blindness and developmental needs. This may include identifying specialized services and resource materials, as well as facilitating opportunities for peer support and contact with other families. Early Intervention Vision Specialists look to address partial sight and blindness concerns that may relate to; socialization, communication, play skills, literacy, mobility, sensory awareness, and transition into daycare, preschool, and school settings.
Canadian Council of the Blind – Getting Together with Technology
The Canadian Council of the Blind- Get Together With Technology (GTT) is a community-based, consumer-driven program providing technology training by, and for people who are blind or have low vision (PWBLV). GTT’s purpose is to offer information, support and a network of PWBLV to gain competence and confidence in the use of accessible technologies, and to share resources and information. For example, GTT host in-person monthly peer support technology meetings for PWBLV across BC.
VocalEye is a non-profit society, registered charity and the first live descriptive arts service for the blind in Canada. They provide theatre companies and other arts organizations with the support necessary to make their productions and events more accessible to these audience members through live description, education, outreach and other services. Ensure to check out their list of upcoming described shows and events.