Resources for people dealing with vision loss

In our society, if a person cannot drive or read standard print—that person is functionally blind. Please know that you are far from alone. Over 62,000 people across our state claim significant vision impairment according to the 2010 census.

There are two definitions for legal blindness. One definition measures central acuity and the other, peripheral vision. When an eye physician determines that a person is legally blind, that person becomes eligible for services.

When diagnosed with permanent vision loss, a person should ask their physician for a referral to a low-vision counselor at the Dept. of Services for the Blind. With the support and technology available today, a person can expect to live a full, independent life.

We encourage you, your family, and friends to make use of these resources and contact us with questions. Consider WCB part of your extended family as you move forward with your life.

The first place to call

The Washington Department of Services for The Blind is a premiere resource and a national leader in promoting the skills and abilities of people who are blind or have low vision. We team with customers, employers, our communities, and fellow staff to achieve the highest level of customer service.

If you live in Spokane or Wenatchee you can also visit Lilac Services for the Blind.

The Edith Bishel Center serves six eastern Washington counties: Benton; Franklin; Walla Walla; Columbia; Yakima and Klickitat counties.

The Washington Talking Book and Braille Library provides a free public library service which includes easy access to the informational and recreational reading materials needed by individuals in the State of Washington who are unable to read standard print material.

The Washington Access Fund provides low-interest loans and other financing services to help individuals with disabilities obtain the technologies and business equipment needed to live independently and to succeed at school, at work, at play and in the community.

The Disability Answer Desk is the place to go when customers need help from Microsoft. Microsoft has designed a customer service option specifically to assist customers with disabilities answer questions about their products and services. At the Disability Answer Desk, customers can talk one-on-one with a support technician for assistance.

Mortgage and Home Loan Help Guide for the Disabled
Learn about the five important steps in buying a home and about financial assistance programs that are available for you living with disabilities, who want to buy a home.

For 60 years Learning Ally, a national nonprofit volunteer organization, has been the leading producer of accessible textbooks for students with disabilities such as visual impairment or dyslexia that make reading standard print difficult or impossible.

How to gain the leadership experience employers want
Practical tips to prepare for college and a career

Audio Pedestrian Signal Best Practices developed by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program
Also a good source for accessible textbooks, this online library boasts over 200,000 titles.

Family Connect provides great inforamtion for parents of children with vision impairment and opportunities to connect with other parents.

The Washington State School for the Blind serves as a statewide demonstration and resource center and provides direct and indirect services to students both on campus and in the children’s local communities.

Probably one of the best sources of talking technology and gifts for people with vision impairment, the Speak to Me Catalog is owned and operated by a blind entrepreneur in Renton.

The American Council of the Blind strives to increase the independence, security, equality of opportunity, and quality of life, for all blind and visually-impaired people. ACB counts its membership in the tens of thousands. WCB is just one of 71 affiliate organizations.

Council of Citizens with Low Vision, International (CCLVI)
Did you know? CCLVI offers a new publication, "Insights Into Low Vision." CCLVI also has a toll free hotline for tips, resources and connections on all things low vision. Call 800.733.2258

Interested in online learning? Hadley School for the Blind provides distance education programs for people who are blind or visually impaired, their families, and blindness service providers.

Social Security and Disability Resource Center
This informational website answers your questions about how to apply for disability, how to appeal a claim in the event of a denial, how to navigate the federal system, and how to avoid certain mistakes that are commonly made by applicants.

Senior Site
The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) Senior Site gives families, caregivers, and people directly affected by vision loss tips and support needed to deal with age-related eye disease.

The Washington Assistive Technology Act Program offers information to family members, employers, employment service providers, educators, health care providers, social service providers and others seeking assistive technology services and knowledge. WATAP is part of the University of Washington Center for Technology & Disability Studies.

Audio Book Ministries
This FREE lending library serves people all across the U.S. and Canada offering inspirational and Christian literature. Books are available to play on your NLS digital player. Books are now available for download from their website.

Foundation Fighting Blindness
Get the latest news from the organization driving research to find a treatment for retinal disease.

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