Welcome to the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired
Providing Quality Services to Assist Virginia's Citizens
Raymond E. Hopkins, Commissioner
Technology Helps Blind Individuals Prepare to Work
Recently, Program Director for Rehabilitation Technology Services, Dr. Peggy Fields, was interviewed regarding technology for people who are visually impaired. “Technology allows people who are blind to do just about anything they want.” Read more about how technology is changing the opportunities for employment for those who are blind, vision impaired or deafblind.
Public Hearing Update
On August 26, 2016 the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI) conducted a public hearing to provide individuals an opportunity to comment on revisions to the agency’s definitions of individuals with significant disabilities and individuals with most significant disabilities. These definitions affect DBVI’s policy on order of selection for services. All DBVI regional offices were connected and participated in the hearing by video conference. Three individuals attended the hearing in the Richmond location. The hearing yielded no comments. DBVI received one written comment from The National Federation of the Blind of Virginia indicating the organization is in favor of the changes.
Help Protect Yourself Against the Zika Virus
The Zika virus may potentially be transmitted by the Asian tiger mosquito which is the most common nuisance mosquito in Virginia. Find out more from the Virginia Department of Health on how to protect yourself and your family.
Highlighting Abilities of Blind Individuals in the WorkforceThe American Council of the Blind (ACB) produced a video to highlight the abilities of blind individuals in the workforce. You will hear from the individual and their employer about their involvement in the workplace.
Roanoke Regional Office Temporarily Relocated
DBVI's regional office previously located at the Crossroads Mall (1351 Hershberger Road) in Roanoke is temporarily relocated to New Vision offices located at 3435 Melrose Ave, Roanoke, VA 24017 while repairs are made to the Crossroads mall following an electrical fire June 18-19. All staff phone numbers and emails are operational and will forward to the new location.
Please contact your counselor if you have not yet heard from them about upcoming appointments. All staff phone numbers and emails are operational and will forward to the new location.
Updates will be provided as available.
Announcing FEMA PSA, We Prepare Every Day
FEMA announced the launch of a new public service advertisement (PSA) to raise awareness about the importance of personal preparedness for emergencies. While the PSA, We Prepare Every Day, targets every person, it aims to deliver a message of independence and personal preparedness by featuring people with disabilities taking charge to prepare themselves, their families, and their communities for emergencies.
The PSA includes open captioning and a certified deaf interpreter. An audio described version is also available to provide access to viewers who are blind or have low vision.
iBill Currency Reader Available
There is a new and free currency reader available to eligible individuals who are blind or visually impaired. This “iBill Talking Banknote Identifier” was developed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and is the size of a key fob. It announces a bill’s value in one of three ways: voice, pattern of tones, or pattern of vibrations. A pilot initiative is currently underway through which eligible NLS patrons may pre-order a device until Dec. 31 with a nationwide rollout in Jan. To pre-order, patrons may call their local Braille and talking-book library. They may also call 1-888-NLS-READ, and when prompted for their regional library (third tone), say “library” to be connected to their nearest Braille and talking book library. The iBill will be mailed to the patron’s on-file address when the devices become available. To learn more about the U.S. Currency Reader Program visit www.bep.gov.
What will you do in a disaster?
September is National Preparedness Month and DBVI wants to make sure that all of our customers and their families know the importance of planning for a natural or man-made disaster. Planning is a thoughtful approach to help you respond appropriately to a very stressful event. You may have little warning that an event is about to occur so taking action today will better position you for tomorrow.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency provides a wealth of online information here: FEMA. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management also has useful information here: ReadyVirginia.Gov. DBVI asks that you please view this 5-minute, FEMA-sponsored, video which focuses on People with Disabilities and Other Access and Functional Needs.
DBVI Increases Accessibility to Web Content
With 15% of Virginians (1.1 million people) over the age of 5 who speak a language in addition to English and 3.7% of Virginians (275,000 people) who report that they speak no English at all, there was a large and growing population unable to access our valuable online information.
Now, the user simply clicks on the new “Translation” icon in the upper right corner of the webpage banner, accepts the disclaimer, and selects the desired language. All content automatically translates. Most languages are compatible with screen readers, but since this feature is dependent on external technology, you may find a few languages yet unsupported. Tell a friend.
VoiceOver for iPhone Video Tutorial
Are you interested in learning a little more about using an Apple iPhone with VoiceOver? If you are, the DBVI video Introduction to VoiceOver on the iPhone can give you a clear, concise overview on the physical configuration of the iPhone and its basic operation, specifically using VoiceOver gestures. Look for Introduction to VoiceOver on the iPhone on our YouTube channel and start learning about iPhone accessibility now!
Like DBVI on Facebook
DBVI is excited to announce that we’re now on Facebook! Stay up to date with our latest announcements, links and videos. For those of you who have Facebook accounts (they are free and open to all), we’d love to hear your feedback. Don’t forget to ‘Like’ us!! https://www.facebook.com/VDBVI
NFB-NEWSLINE® Announces Online Weather Information Service
NFB-NEWSLINE®, has announced a collaboration with AccuWeather®, an online weather information service, to provide emergency weather alerts to blind and print-disabled subscribers throughout America. The AccuWeather® information service will be offered on NFB-NEWSLINE®, giving blind and print-disabled people instant access to emergency weather alerts such as those shown on television screens during regular programming which aren’t accessible to the blind. Newsline subscribers can get more information by selecting weather alerts when they next visit the Newsline service. Read the full story at https://www.nfb.org.
A Message from Raymond Hopkins
Welcome to this website of the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI). DBVI is an agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia that is dedicated to its mission of providing services and resources which empower Virginians who are blind, vision impaired or deafblind to achieve their desired levels of employment, education, and personal independence. Whether you are experiencing vision loss yourself, have a family member who has a visual disability or you’re conducting research; I hope the information found here is beneficial to you.
The department offers a wide array of specialized services and programs for Virginia residents of all ages who are experiencing significant visual disabilities. With the assistance of DBVI it is hoped that persons who are blind, deafblind and vision impaired will acquire the skills which lead to confidence and positive attitudes which are essential components for becoming independent contributing members of our communities.
This Department employs a staff which is highly trained and committed to assist Virginia's blind, deafblind, and vision impaired citizens in reaching their full potential. The services of the department are comprehensive, varied and available in local communities as well as through our residential component, Virginia Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Vision Impaired in Richmond. All training opportunities that DBVI offers are intended to assist consumers who are blind to develop the skills, confidence and positive attitude needed to achieve their goals. Please allow us to be of assistance to you or someone you know.
This website provides detailed information about the department's programs and services. I hope you find the information helpful. You may contact us by telephone through our toll free number, 1-800-622-2155, or in the Richmond area: 371-3140. You may also reach us by following the “contact us” link on this website.
Raymond E. Hopkins, Commissioner
Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired
397 Azalea Avenue
Richmond, VA 23227
Phone: (804) 371-3140
Toll Free (in Virginia): (800) 622-2155
Fax: (804) 371-3157
E-mail: Ray Hopkins
Read more of the Commissioner's message.