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Blind & Visually Impaired Resources

Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services (ADWAS)

Serves Deaf and DeafBlind survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and harassment. They provide services in Washington state and staff the 24/7 National Deaf Hotline, which provides confidential education, safety planning, and referrals. The Deaf Hotline website has great information and training modules in ASL on topics like deaf culture and domestic violence, healthy relationships, consent, how to support loved ones, and more.

  • ADWAS Office: 8623 Roosevelt Way Northeast, Seattle, Washington 98115
    (206) 922-7088
    adwas.org
  • 24/7 Deaf Domestic Violence Hotline: (855) 812-1001 VP
    thedeafhotline.org

American Council of the Blind Ohio (ACBO)

Non-profit membership organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for people who are blind or visually impaired through education and advocacy. They host monthly meetings and fun community events and retreats. The Matching Grants program provides funds to any blind or visually impaired resident of Ohio to pay half the cost of a purchase up to $1000 for new adaptive equipment. Find program details and contact information for other chapters on their website.
3805 North High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43214
(614) 470-2226 or (614) 261-3561
acbohio.org

American Printing House for the Blind (APH)

Provides free information and resources to support greater independence for those who are blind or low-vision. Their website has a lot of information for families and professionals. They also host family support groups and educational webinars. Call or use the searchable directory on their home page to find agencies and resources near you.

Program highlights:

  • Career Connect: This page houses informational articles and videos on searching for jobs, preparing for interviews, and more. They also have free, self-paced courses/activity guides for transition-age youth to consider and plan for college and/or the workforce.
  • Family Connect: Houses important information for families on topics like understanding your child’s diagnosis, education and IEPs, and developmentally appropriate play activities.
  • Parent Connect Support Group: Monthly virtual support group for parents and families of children who are blind or visually impaired. Call or register online.

Call with questions, for help finding resources, or to sign up for Family Connect: (800) 232-5463
aphconnectcenter.org

Association of Blind Citizens

Their assistive technology fund provides funds to cover a percentage of the retail price of adaptive devices or software to help blind and legally blind individuals. Applicants must be legally blind, a resident of the United States, and meet income requirements to qualify for this program. Find application details online.
PO Box 246, Holbrook, Massachusetts 02343
(781) 961-1023
blindcitizens.org/assistive-technology-fund

Bookshare

Customizable ebook library for people with dyslexia, learning disabilities, visual impairments, physical disabilities, and other reading barriers. They operate under exception to US copyright law, allowing a huge collection of copyrighted titles to be made available for readers using a tablet, computer, assistive device, or smartphone. Schools and students can access for free, individuals/adults pay a yearly fee. Individuals must register as members and provide proof of qualifying disability. Find program details and register on their website.
(650) 352-0198
bookshare.org

Braille Reading Pals Club (Early Literacy Program)

Free literacy program for blind and low-vision children 0-8 years old. Families receive free Braille books, activities, birthday cards, and more. Fill out an application and learn about other resources from National Federation of the Blind online.
200 East Wells Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230
(410) 659-9314
nfb.org/programs-services/early-childhood-initiatives

Bureau of Services for the Visually Impaired (BSVI)

Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) provides personalized services to assist people who are Blind or have low vision in gaining and maintaining meaningful work and personal independence. Services are available for individuals over the age of 14. Services include individualized case planning, job training, job search and placement assistance, and work retraining for those in the process of losing their vision.
Columbus Vocational Rehabilitation Office: 4300 East Broad Street, Whitehall, Ohio 43213
(614) 466-4575 or (800) 282-4536
ood.ohio.gov/information-for-individuals/services/blind-low-vision-services/blind-low-vision-program
Find an OOD Office Near You: ood.ohio.gov/about-us/find+us/find-us

Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML)

CML is an award-winning library and amazing resource in the community. With 23 locations throughout Franklin County, they provide a lot more than just books, including lots of free online resources, specialized programs, and community events.

  • School Help: K-12 students can get after-school homework help, K-3 students can get extra reading practice with Reading Buddies in person or online, HelpNow offers 24/7 online homework help and test prep, and some locations host After School Snacktimes.
  • Kindergarten Readiness: Find Storytimes, Play to Learn, and Kindergarten readiness classes for ages 0-5. They also have Skill Builder videos with activities you can do together at home.
  • Teen Programs: YouMedia Discord for ages 13-17 to work on music, podcasts, videos, and more with skilled mentors; homework and test prep help, and monthly Teen Spotlight videos.
  • Adult Education: They offer ESOL and GED referrals; free technology business, and coding classes; history and genealogy experts, Digital Navigator staff can help you access hardware and software, and Excel Adult High School allows adults to get their high-school degree in an online, self-paced program.
  • Adaptive Services: Request accommodations, adaptive audio and visual equipment, and large print reading materials.
  • Business & Nonprofit Resource Center: Visit Main Library for access to co-working space, specialized professional help, access to community partners, tools, and resources.

(614) 645-2275
Locations: columbuslibrary.org/library-locations
columbuslibrary.org

Deaf Services Center (DSC)

Non-profit serving the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind community. Services include ASL classes, C-Print, interpreting, case management, early intervention for ages 0-3, employment services, adaptive equipment programs, youth mentoring programs and summer camps.

  • Central: 5830 North High Street, Worthington, Ohio 43085
    (614) 841-1991 or (614) 515-6065 VP
  • Northwest: 1002 Garden Lake Parkway, Toledo, Ohio 43614
    (419) 720-3935 or (419) 386-2627 VP
  • Southern: Chillicothe, Ohio 45601
    (740) 357-7713 or (740) 370-1254 VP

dsc.org

Disability Rights Ohio

Advocates for people with disabilities in Ohio. Their website has helpful resources on abuse, neglect and exploitation, employment, benefits counseling, education, voting, and more. Rise Up is an interactive youth advocacy guide with resources for transitioning into adulthood. Most of their resources are available in multiple languages, including Spanish and Somali. Complete the online intake form for legal help.
200 Civic Center Drive, Columbus, Ohio 43215
(614) 466-7264 or (800) 282-9181
Rise Up guides: disabilityrightsohio.org/riseup
Intake Form: disabilityrightsohio.org/intake-form
disabilityrightsohio.org

DWAVE (Deaf World Against Violence Everywhere)

Serves Ohio’s Deaf, Deaf Blind, Deaf Disabled, and Hard of Hearing communities by offering culturally affirmative services in response to relationship and sexual violence. Call to speak to a trained advocate for individualized safety planning and case management. Referrals can be placed for material help, legal help, social services, and mental health counseling. They offer 24-hour advocacy for survivors of sexual assault at local hospital emergency rooms. They also hold trainings for volunteer advocates, professionals/providers working with Deaf clients, and Deaf Culture 101.
PO Box 1286, Worthington, Ohio 43085
Videophone: (614) 678-5476
Voice/Text: (614) 887-7233
National Deaf Hotline VP: (855) 812-1001
National 24/7 Domestic Violence Hotline Voice: (800) 799-7233
dwaveohio.org

Easterseals Central & Southeast Ohio

Serves: children and adults with developmental disabilities
Provides comprehensive health services for children and adults living with disabilities. Services include early childhood education, adult day services, in-home care, referral services, and outpatient therapies. They also offer afterschool programs and summer day camps for children.

  • Central and Southeast Ohio: 3830 Trueman Court, Hilliard, Ohio 43026
    (614) 228-5523
  • Cuyahoga Falls: 1212 Portage Trail Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio 44223
    (234) 417-0250
  • Chillicothe: 1855 Western Avenue, Chillicothe, Ohio 45601
    (740)773-1273
  • Lawrence County: 97 Private Road Eighty South Point, Ohio 45680
    (740) 894-7560
  • Medina: 5041 Victor Drive, Medina, Ohio 44256
    (330) 722-8558
  • Portsmouth: 3858 US Highway 23, Portsmouth, Ohio 45662
    (740) 716-7295

easterseals.com/centralohio

Experience Columbus Live for Inclusion List

Provides a list of accessible dining, transportation, activities, hotels and other resources in and around Columbus that have been reviewed by disability inclusion experts. For specific questions about accessibility at a particular location, contact the location (or source of transportation) for the most up-to-date details.
(614) 221-6623
experiencecolumbus.com/plan-your-visit/accessibility

InfantSEE

The American Optometric Association provides free eye exams for infants between 6 and 12 months of age regardless of a family’s income or access to insurance coverage. Use the Find a Doctor tool on their website to find a participating provider near you.
(314) 983-4160
Find a Doctor: infantsee.org/find-a-doctor?sso=y
infantsee.org

JAN (Job Accommodation Network)

Offers free guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues. JAN consultants offer one-on-one guidance on workplace accommodations, ADA and related legislation, and self-employment and entrepreneurship options for people with disabilities. Assistance is available both over the phone and online. Their website also has helpful information on a wide range of medical conditions with related resources and accommodations.
Voice: (800) 526-7234
TTY: (877) 781-9403
Text: (304) 216-8189
askjan.org

Lighthouse Guild’s Vision Loss Tele-Support Network

Non-profit healthcare organization for visually impaired persons. Provides free tele-support groups, including groups for high school students with vision loss and for parents of those with vision loss. Groups meet weekly by phone to share experiences and discuss related topics. Lighthouse also has a Vision & Health Blog and podcast with helpful information, scholarships, and more.
(212) 769-6318
lighthouseguild.org

Medical Home Portal

This website is for professionals and families who care for youth with special healthcare needs. It has lots of valuable knowledge for families and professionals about all aspects of care from understanding diagnoses, to accessing legal, education, and healthcare services, and best practices for clinicians. The portal also has a National Services directory to help find services near you.
Parent & Family Portal: medicalhomeportal.org/living-with-child
Physicians & Professionals Portal: medicalhomeportal.org/clinical-practice

Mid-Ohio Board for an Independent Living Environment (MOBILE)

Helps veterans and people with disabilities find information, support, and referrals for disability-related services. They also provide adaptive equipment loans, peer support groups, living skills classes and transition services.
1829 East Long Street, Columbus, Ohio 43203
(614) 443-5936
mobileonline.org

National Center on DeafBlindness (NCDB)

A network of projects for children and youth under 21 with Deafblindness. Find tons of information for families and professionals on assessment, education and learning, life skills, transition planning, and more. They also host Family to Family support groups, webinars, and nationwide events.
(516) 366-0047
nationaldb.org
Español: nationaldb.org/for-families/learning-resources/recursos-para-familias

National Federation of the Blind (NFB)

Membership and advocacy organization of blind people, with chapters in each state. Their website has many resources for blind people, parents, and educators. Programs include the following, find specific application forms and requirements on their website:

  • Free White Cane Program: Any blind individual in the US can request a free cane as frequently as every 6 months. Children 0-8 qualify for the Early Explorers Program to receive a free cane and additional educational materials for kids.
  • Free Slate and Stylus Program: Any blind individual in the US can request a free slate and stylus, the only Braille-writing device that has the same portability, flexibility, and affordability as a pen and pencil.
  • NFB-Newsline: A free audio news service for anyone who is blind, low-vision, deafblind, or otherwise print-disabled offering access to books, magazines, newspapers, emergency weather alerts, job listings, and more. They also have a youth version with kid and teen-friendly content. You must apply and register online for access.
    Columbus Newsline: (614) 448-1673
  • NFB Ohio Scholarship Program: Offers scholarships to outstanding blind students who currently live in, or are attending college in the state of Ohio each academic year.
  • Braille Reading Pals Literacy Club: Sign up for free Braille books, activities, birthday cards, and more for blind children 0-8 years old.

PO Box 20544, Dayton, OH 45420
Ohio: (937) 829-3368
National: (410) 659-9314
nfb.org

National Library Service (NLS) for the Blind & Print Disabled

A free library program for people with low vision, blindness, or are otherwise print disabled. NLS circulates free books and magazines in Braille or audio formats, delivered by postage-free mail or the Braille Audio Reading Download (BARD) app. Their Kids Catalog has fun books and magazines for kids. Fill out the Information Request form to get started.
(888) 657-7323
loc.gov/nls

Nationwide Children’s Hospital (NCH) Ophthalmology/Eye Clinic

Offers routine and advanced care for children with visual impairments. They accept all major insurances (including Medicaid, Caresource and Molina) and provide financial assistance for patients without insurance who qualify.
Nationwide Children’s Outpatient Care Center
555 S. 18th Street, Columbus, Ohio 43205
(614) 722-4075
nationwidechildrens.org/ophthalmology-eye-clinic

Newsreel

Produced by and for individuals who are blind or visually impaired, Newsreel Magazine is a two-way audio publication that contains news, supportive articles, information, and entertainment. Magazine subscribers submit various articles and self recorded audio clips that are featured in the monthly three hour audio magazine. Membership is $20 per year and provides access to the publication as mp3 files.
5 East Long Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215
(614) 469-0700 or (888) 723-8737
newsreelmag.org

Ohio Departments and County Boards of Developmental Disabilities

The Department of Developmental Disabilities is a statewide system of supports and services for people with developmental disabilities, and their families. Each county in Ohio has its own Board of Developmental Disabilities, which is the place to start for determining eligibility, assessing your needs, and coordinating which services can best support you. Their offices can help you with early intervention programs, healthcare services, waivers and scholarships, job training and employment, unusual incident reporting, and more.

  • Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities: dodd.ohio.gov
    30 East Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215
    (800) 617-6733
  • Delaware County: dcbdd.org
    7991 Columbus Pike, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035
    (800) 474-9787 or (740) 201-3600
  • Franklin County: fcbdd.org
    2879 Johnstown Road, Columbus, Ohio 43219
    (614) 475-6440
    24-hour Emergency: (614) 464-2743
    FCBDD Location Directory: fcbdd.org/about-us/directory
  • Ohio Association of County Board of Developmental Disabilities: oacbdd.org/index.php
    Represents the county boards throughout Ohio, monitors legislation at the state and national level. Their website lists helpful advocacy information for individuals, families, and professionals.
    73 East Wilson Bridge Road, Worthington, Ohio 43085
    (614) 431-0616
  • Find Your County Board of DD: dodd.ohio.gov/your-family/all-family-resources/4-find-your-county-board

Ohio Department of Medicaid Waiver Services

Waivers are programs that help Ohio Medicaid customers with special needs remain at home instead of being in a nursing home, hospital, or facility. They provide financial assistance to families, and there is typically a waiting list. Services may include personal care, transportation, respite services, supported employment, nutrition services, assistive devices, home modifications and interpreter services. See further information about Ohio waiver programs below.

50 West Town Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215
Consumer Hotline: (800) 324-8680
medicaid.ohio.gov

Ohio Digital Library eBook Project

Allows library members to go online and download a wide variety of popular book titles in eBook and audio format. They have curated collections such as Deaf Culture and ASL, New Adult Readers, Teens, and more. Visit the website to see if your library participates, and sign in using your library card or Student ID.
State Library of Ohio
274 East First Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43201
(614) 644-7061
ohdbks.overdrive.com

Ohio State School for the Blind (OSSB)

The first public school for the blind in the U.S., dedicated to the education of students with visual impairments, including those with multiple disabilities. They offer K-12 education, extracurriculars and athletics, residential programs, and a transitional postsecondary program for young adults to receive social and vocational training after high school (EDGE). Contact them for enrollment information.
5220 North High Street, Columbus Ohio, 43214
(800) 310-3317
ossb.ohio.gov

Outreach Center for Deafness and Blindness

This resource through OCALI works to increase access and equity for students, families, and communities impacted by deafness or blindness. Families can find helpful information on medical conditions, adaptive sports and recreation, parent mentoring programs, and more. Professionals can find educational resources, learn from those with lived experience, and find CEU trainings.
470 Glenmont Avenue, Columbus Ohio 43214
(614) 410-0380
deafandblindoutreach.org

Paths to Literacy

Resource hub for parents, families, and professionals focused on fostering literacy skills in blind and visually impaired children. Browse their website to find helpful information, fun family activities to try, curriculum ideas, helpful apps, and more.
pathstoliteracy.org

Prevent Blindness Ohio

Provides outreach and education designed to connect those in need to critical sight-saving resources. They partner with care providers to offer free vision screenings, and glasses for children or adults that meet income eligibility requirements. Call for help finding a free vision screening near you. Their website also has great educational information on many eye conditions, how to properly wear and care for glasses and contacts, developing babies’ eyesight, and more.
Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness
1500 West Third Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43212
(614) 464-2020 or (800) 301-2020
ohio.preventblindness.org

State Library of Ohio Talking Book Program

Provides free recorded books, magazines and playback equipment to eligible blind, visually impaired, print or reading disabled Ohio residents. Find program details and apply for TalkingBook services online.
(800) 686-1531 or (614) 644-6895
library.ohio.gov/residents/special-services/talking-books

Superspecs (Free Sports Goggles)

Provides no-cost baseball and softball helmets with face masks, sports goggles for basketball and soccer, and prescription sports goggles for any activity. Items are available for kids ages 4-18. Parents can find eligibility details and apply online.
Ohio Ophthalmological Society
5115 Parkcenter Avenue, Dublin, Ohio 43017
(614) 527-6799
superspecs.org

Ticket to Work

Federally-funded career development program for Social Security disability beneficiaries ages 18 through 64 who want to work. Provides free employment services to help participants decide if working is right for them, prepare for work, find a job, or maintain success while working. Participants receive services such as career counseling, vocational rehabilitation, and job placement and training from authorized Ticket to Work service providers, such as Employment Networks (EN) or your State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency.
(866) 968-7842 or (866) 833-2967 TTY
choosework.ssa.gov

Voicecorps Reading Service

Service for people who have a medical condition that prevents them from reading print. Volunteers read aloud from current local and national newspapers, magazines, various periodicals/journals, grocery/retail ads, and more. They use broadcasting and internet streaming to deliver readings in a 24-hour schedule. Listen live any time using the internet, or contact Voicecorps for help accessing their services on a digital TV, Amazon smart speaker, or free SCA radio loan.
2955 West Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43204
(614) 274-7650
voicecorps.org


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