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. 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.
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.
The VRCBVI Dormitory is the residence for students who are participating in training at the Center. A dorm supervisor is on duty when classes are not being held to provide assistance to residents and to encourage use of the independent living skills the student is learning. Washers and dryers are available to residential students free of charge.
Dorm supervisors are here to serve as role models for our students, and to help students deal with residential issues and encourage positive perspectives about blindness and training. However, our dorm supervisors are not counselors. Students needing information about training classes or who have training related issues arise should see the Center Case Manager, Assistant Director of Administration, Assistant Director of Instruction, or our Director.
Each student is assigned a Case Manager while in training at the Center. The Case Manager provides initial orientation via a pre-conference with the student and Rehabilitation Teacher/Counselor. The Case Manager also provides individual student orientation on the first day of training at the Center. The orientation explains and clarifies student, field, and Center expectations for training, as well as program policies and components. Additional functions of the Case Manager include, but are not limited to, facilitating communication between Center staff, field staff, and the student by providing regular progress updates, scheduling and conducting evaluation, progress, and final staffings, and being available to answer questions and address training concerns brought forth by the student, Center staff, or field staff. The Case Manager assists with securing any resources or services needed for participation in Center training, and may provide supportive, individual counseling on an as needed basis. The Case Manager may also assist in coordinating community based counseling when long term mental health needs arise which must be addressed in order to promote the student’s ability to complete training successfully.