Virginia Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Vision Impaired

About Us

The mission of the Virginia Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Vision Impaired (“VRCBVI”) is to encourage blind and vision impaired citizens of Virginia to achieve optimum vocational, educational, and social independence, and economic equality.

VRCBVI provides training in the skills of blindness and, above all, promotes the belief that blindness is neither a barrier to employment nor to living a full and meaningful life. By stressing self-sufficiency and independence, we strive to empower our students to take charge of their own lives. In an atmosphere of open communication, teamwork, and trust, we provide adjustment training in skills which allow persons who are vision impaired or blind to function as independently, safely, and efficiently in society as possible. Our training program has been designed to teach students skills of blindness, and provide confidence building activities which will give students the freedom to pursue their chosen careers and interests. Most training programs at VRCBVI are individually tailored to meet the specific needs of the student. We also offer special programs that provide specific training to groups of students with similar needs, such as our LIFE program (“Learning Independence, Feeling Empowered”) and our LEAP (“Learning Excellence in Academics Program”) for transition-aged students, our Senior Retreat for blind and vision impaired individuals aged 55 and older, and Saturday Technology Seminars.

VRCBVI students crossing street

Our travel instructors teach VRCBVI students how to safely cross a variety of intersections

Operating Hours:

The Virginia Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Vision Impaired is a 24-hour residential skills of blindness training facility. Scheduled classes are delivered from 8:15 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. We encourage students to consider remaining on campus some weekends to practice the skills they are learning, rather than returning home every weekend. Activities are routinely scheduled in the evenings and on some weekends, and we urge students to take advantage of the opportunity to participate in these activities. During weekends when no activities are scheduled, we encourage students to plan independent outings in the community, either on their own or with other students.

Major Holiday Breaks:

We observe the following holidays throughout the year: Easter, Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Our adult training classes break for summer, typically for the month of July and part of the month of August. During the summer break in the adult program, we conduct programs for youth and special populations.

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Application and Intake Procedures:

VRCBVI accepts applications or requests for services from the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI) field counselors and rehabilitation teachers. The DBVI initiates services by submitting an application on behalf of the student to the VRCBVI. Along with the application, the counselor/teacher must also provide current eye and medical reports (dated within a year of the application date), as well as any other pertinent information. Typically, prospective students will be notified whether they have been accepted within one month, unless there are extenuating medical circumstances which require clarification to assist us in best meeting the needs of the student. Once the application has been received and the student has been accepted, the VRCBVI Director will work with the student to schedule an entry date. A pre-entrance conference call will be scheduled between the prospective student, his or her field counselor/rehabilitation teacher, and the case manager at VRCBVI to discuss Center expectations and to answer any questions the prospective student may have.

Instructor at computer screen using Braille display

VRCBVI instructor using a refreshable Braille display to read the computer screen

DBVI counselors/ teachers are encouraged to arrange a tour and personal interview for individuals and their families prior to applying for VRCBVI services. On-site tours and visits are welcomed, and a representative is available to visit by phone with prospective students, their families, and agency personnel. To schedule a tour, please call our Director Melody Roane at (804) 371-3323.

During the first complete date of services, we provide each student with a comprehensive orientation to our facilities and program, introductions to staff, information about his or her class schedule, and advice regarding our policies and guidelines. Initially, students participate in an evaluation process to determine existing skill levels in all course areas and goals for those classes.

 

Services Provided:

VRCBVI provides residential orientation and adjustment training to blind and vision impaired adults. We also offer services to commuter students who return to their homes in the evenings and on weekends. Students generally remain in training from six to nine months depending upon individual needs; however, this can be modified according to individual student goals and needs. The full training curriculum includes orientation and mobility, personal and home management, braille, keyboarding and access technology, academic instruction (GED) (if needed), conversations about blindness, vocational services, health education, wellness instruction and recreation, case management services, low vision services, and dormitory services. All classes emphasize the development of self-confidence and promote a positive attitude about blindness. On average, the Center serves approximately 25-35 students in the general program. During training, most students live in the dormitory located on VRCBVI’s campus. We have private dorm rooms with shared en suite bathrooms, and independent living apartments. The VRCBVI cafeteria provides breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week to residential students who are in training at VRCBVI. Upon request, special dietary and nutritional needs will be accommodated, to the extent practical.

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