Flag of Florida.

Florida Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired


Florida Agencies and Resources at a Glance

Government

  • OPAGA Blind Services

Library and Media Services

  • Florida Braille and Talking Books Library

Nonprofit and Private Organizations

  • Florida Center for the Blind
  • National Federation of the Blind

Schools and Vocational Training

  • Florida School for the Deaf and Blind


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Government Agencies


OPPAGA Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability

Education System Blind Services:

Blind Services is a federal-state program that provides services to people of all ages in the state who are blind or visually impaired. The program assists blind and visually-impaired Floridians to have the tools, support, and opportunity to achieve success.

The Division of Blind Services administers a range of programs and services, including those described below and on the division's website.

  • Blind Babies Program - provides community-based early-intervention education to children from birth to five years of age who are blind or visually impaired and to their parents and families through community-based provider organizations.
  • Children's Program - serves children from kindergarten through high school through transition to the Vocational Rehabilitation Program. This program supplements services already offered by the school system to foster the child's learning and ability to function independently. The child's parents, guardian, and family members should be an integral part of the program in order to foster independence.
  • Transition Program - assists young people in meeting their future employment goals through transitioning from school to post-school activities, such as post-secondary education or employment. Transition services offered include instruction, community experiences, or the development of employment and other post-school adult-living objectives. These services are generally provided through the Vocational Rehabilitation Program, but could also be provided through the Children's Program. In either case, the student will have a Plan of Services. The types of services to be provided through Blind Services are normally incorporated into the student's Individual Education Plan.
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Services - provided to assist blind and visually impaired individuals seeking employment. An Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) is developed that outlines the client's vocational goal and the services to be provided toward achieving that goal. Services may include, job placement, on-the-job training, or the provision of low vision aids and appliances.
  • Business Enterprise Program - provides job opportunities in the food service sector for eligible blind persons under the Randolph-Sheppard Act. Job opportunities include Snack Bar, Cafeteria, Highway Vending Machines, or Non-Highway Vending.
  • Employer Services - provides information to employers to help them make a job accessible to an employee with a visual impairment. Employers seeking to hire a qualified employee can also contact the program for this information.
  • Independent Living Program - enables individuals who are blind or severely visually impaired to live more independently in their homes and communities with a maximum degree of self-direction. Services may include independent living skills training, advocacy training, and skills to travel independently. Successful outcomes enable individuals to live more independently in their communities and/or transition to the working world.
  • Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired - a place where people who are blind can reside temporarily while they learn to lead productive, self-sufficient lives. The center incorporates instruction in a variety of independence skills, including home management, cooking, cleaning, personal care, labeling, orientation and mobility, Braille, computer technology, employability skills, adaptation to blindness, and many other skills that contribute to independence and the confidence to seek the highest level of employment possible.
  • Braille and Talking Books Library - provides information and reading materials needed by individuals residing in Florida who are unable to use standard print because of a visual, physical, or reading disability.

Blind Services serves individuals either directly through its field offices or indirectly through contracts with private providers.

325 West Gaines Street
Turlington Building, Suite 1114
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0400

Main Number: (850) 245-0300

Link to regional offices here.

Website:  dbs.fldoe.org/


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Library and Media Services


Florida Braille and Talking Books Library

Provides information and reading materials in Braille and recorded audio format to Florida residents who are unable to use standard print as the result of visual, physical, or reading disabilities.

Website:  dbs.fldoe.org/Library/index.html

(This link leads you to the library page which also has information on regional libraries all over Florida.


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Nonprofit and Private organizations


Florida Agencies Serving the Blind

Provides information on events, news, services from multiple agencies for individuals of all ages in all areas of Florida.  This is a great resource for information on where to get help.

Their Mission:  "Florida Agencies Serving the Blind unites the individual voices of Floridians with visual impairment, member agencies serving the blind, eye care professionals, and members of Florida’s legislature. Together, we enhance the quality of life for Floridians with vision loss while enriching our communities. At Florida Agencies Serving the Blind, we provide those with visual impairment access to services that empower success in every area of their life."

Website:  beyondvisionloss.org


Florida Center for the Blind

The Florida Center for the Blind lights the pathway to independence ​​for the blind and visually impaired of all ages.

Since 1987, we have inspired, empowered, and transformed lives daily ​through comprehensive and innovative services, training, and support throughout North Central Florida. We also offer early-intervention vision screenings and community education to proactively address vision issues and prevent sight loss.​

All services are provided at no-cost, so every blind and visually impaired person, regardless of income level, can access our life-changing programs.


1411 NE 22nd Avenue
Ocala, FL  34470

(352) 873-4700

Website:  flblind.org/services



National Federation for the Blind:  Florida

Chapters

Has several chapters, divisions and groups in the state, see their website for specific information. 

Chapter locations:

  • Central Florida
  • Florida statewide
  • Gainesville
  • Greater Broward area
  • Greater Daytona Beach area
  • Greater Jacksonville area
  • Melbourne-Space Coase
  • Miami-Dade
  • Palm Beach
  • Tallahassee
  • Tampa Bay
  • Treasure Coast

Divisions

  • Deaf Blind
  • F.A.B.S. Florida Association of Blind Students
  • FLAGDU Florida Association of Guide Dog Users

Groups

  • Parents Initiative
  • Senior Concerns
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Bell Academy
  • Newsline
  • Book Club
  • National Legislation
  • State Legislation
  • 411
  • Technology Q and A

General Contact info:

Phone (813)390-5720
Email president@nfbflorida.org

Website:  nfbflorida.org


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Schools and Vocational Training


Florida School for the Deaf and Blind

FSDB is a fully accredited, tuition-free state public school for eligible Pre-K and K-12 students who are deaf/hard of hearing, blind/visually impaired, or deafblind.

207 San Marco Ave.

St Augustine, FL 32084

(904) 824-2200

Website:  fsdbk12.org/


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