Finding Services: NRTC's Step-by-Step Guide for Those New to Vision Loss

Cover image of the video that reads "Finding Services: A Beginner's Guide to Visual Impairment."

The NRTC on Blindness and Low Vision has launched a vital resource for individuals who are adjusting to blindness or low vision (B/LV) titled "Finding Services: A Beginner's Guide to Visual Impairment." This comprehensive video was created to share basic information about the services and supports that are available to people with visual impairments. It is an essential tool for anyone new to vision loss or those seeking help for a friend or family member facing this challenge.

Understanding the Need for Guidance

The creation of this video comes from the insights gathered during a research project led by the NRTC, where participants expressed difficulties in locating necessary services. Adele Crudden, Mississippi State University professor and researcher at the NRTC, highlighted their specific issues. "Many participants told us that they did not know where to turn for services to help them either adjust to vision impairment when they were new to vision loss or for people with earlier loss when they exited the school system." These insights drove the NRTC to develop a video that addressed these same questions and concerns.

Comprehensive Resources at a Glance

The video guides viewers to the major agencies and organizations supporting people with vision loss. It includes detailed explanations and contact information about vocational rehabilitation, older individuals who are blind programs, blind and visual impairment rehabilitation services (BRS), private agencies, higher education, and more.

For those who prefer not to watch the entire video, the Finding Services page conveniently provides links to specific chapters, allowing users to directly access the information most relevant to their needs.

Empowerment Through Information

Many individuals with B/LV can find themselves at a dead end when it comes to finding help. "We had a person who called an agency and was just told, 'We don't serve your geographic area,' and was not given any referrals to other service providers," says Crudden.

One of the core goals of this guide is to empower users by providing them with the knowledge to take proactive steps toward independence.

The video aims to encourage them to pursue employment and other activities that contribute to a fulfilling life. "Taking action typically makes a person feel more in control, and that is a step toward greater independence and improved mental health," Crudden explains.

"Finding Services: A Beginner's Guide to Visual Impairment" is a valuable starting point for anyone seeking to navigate the complexities of living with a visual impairment. By providing a centralized, accessible source of information, this video can help individuals with B/LV reduce the uncertainty and frustration that often accompanies the search for suitable services and support.

The NRTC focuses on employment outcomes of people with blindness or low vision (B/LV), providing training, technical assistance, and resources for professionals and people with B/LV interested in employment through funding from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research grant #90RTEM0007. To learn more, visit our About page and the NTAC-BLV website.