U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Blind Rehabilitation Service

General Information

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Blind Rehabilitation Service
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington District of Columbia 1 20420
(202) 461 7317
stan.poel@va.gov
http://www.va.gov/blindrehab/

Brief Description

VA Blind Rehabilitation Service provides a full range of vision rehabilitation and blind rehabilitation services to Veterans and active duty Servicemembers. Each Blind Rehabilitation Center (BRC) provides comprehensive and individualized adjustment programs in a therapeutic atmosphere. BRCs are located at VA Medical Centers in: Birmingham, Alabama; Palo Alto, California; West Haven, Connecticut; West Palm Beach, Florida; Augusta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Waco, Texas; Tacoma, Washington; Tucson, Arizona; San Juan, Puerto Rico, Long Beach, CA; Cleveland, OH and Biloxi, MS. Fifty-four outpatient blind and vision rehabilitation clinics are located nationally as well. Visual Impairment Services Team (VIST) Coordinators, located at VA facilities nationwide, act as case managers to ensure that severely disabled blind Veterans receive appropriate benefits and services. Blind Rehabilitation Outpatient Specialists provide assessment and training in the home and community to complement the training in the inpatient and outpatient programs, and they provide blind rehabilitation training for Veterans who do not require a comprehensive BRC program or are physically unable to attend a clinical program. Aids and appliances are provided, appropriate to the needs and eligibility of the clients.

Staff

Gale Watson, National Director, Gale.Watson@va.gov

Mike Willliams, Data Manager, Michael.Williams14@va.gov

Services Offered

  • Braille and Reading Instruction
    • Offers instruction in braille reading and writing.

  • Computer Training/Assistive Technology
    • Offers assistive technology and computer training.

  • Counseling
    • Assists veterans in making an adjustment to vision loss through individual and family counseling sessions and group therapy meetings.

  • Daily Living Skills/Independent Living Skills Training
    • Comprehensive rehabilitation is provided including low vision services and provision of low vision devices, training in communication and activity of daily living skills, use of computers and computing devices as well as other access technology, and manual skills for crafts, hobbies, household repair, etc. All necessary rehabilitation devices and technology are provided if appropriate and recommended by staff.

  • Information and Referral
    • Refers to programs for seniors.

  • Low Vision Services
    • Low vision services provided.

  • Recreation Services
    • Offers recreation activities.

  • Services for Seniors
    • Veterans Health Administration provides all blindness and low vision rehabilitation services to seniors that are available for younger clients. In addition, Blind Rehabilitation Service program staff partner with Veterans Health Administration Geriatrics and Long-term Care programs to assure that older Veterans are provided all benefits that are available to them.

  • Support Groups
    • Has support groups for blinded veterans.

  • Travel/Orientation and Mobility
    • Orientation and Mobility (O&M) assessment and training are provided to eligible clients. O&M devices such as long canes and global positioning systems are provided when appropriate and recommended by O&M professionals.