Florida PYs 2020-2023 Published Approved

Located in:

c. 2. State programs carried out under section 4 of the Assistive Technology Act of 1998;

Current Narrative:

Assistive Technology

The Division finalized a license agreement with Vispero to provide access to assistive technology (AT) in 2019. This agreement makes the FDBS the first in the nation to provide statewide access to AT. The license allows FDBS to supply clients and workforce partners with JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion. The Division strengthened its relationship with the Lighthouses to ensure appropriate and client-specific AT is consistent with needs of all clients. The counselors must reflect the type and need for AT in the Individualized Plan for Employment.

The Division coordinates training with the Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology (FAAST) by referring clients to FAAST for AT as necessary. FAAST demonstrates, trains, and temporarily loans equipment for clients to test. They also provide free access to information, referral services, educational programs, and publications on extensive topics related to disability rights, laws/policies, and funding opportunities for assistive technology.

The FDBS contracts with private non-profit organizations for specialized services for individuals who are blind. The primary services include: Assistive Technology, Orientation and Mobility (O&M), Braille Instruction, Vocational Rehabilitation, Pre-Employment and Transition Services, Supported Employment, and Rehabilitation Engineering. The FDBS also has collaborative, non-contractual arrangements with other non-profit organizations that provide referrals, vocational rehabilitation services, and comparable benefits. All vendors/providers must go through a registration and approval process that includes a review of the vendor’s qualifications to promote quality services and public safety.

The CRPs are required to hire certified staff to work with individuals who are blind or visually impaired. CRPs providing O&M direct client services must have, at minimum, one full-time qualified or currently Certified O&M Instructor satisfied by the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP), National Orientation and Mobility Certification (NOMC) or endorsed by a qualified State Education Board. CRPs providing non-O&M, vision-related direct client services must have a minimum of one full-time staff member that meets one of the following requirements:

  • Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS);
  • Certified Visual Rehabilitation Therapist (CVRT);
  • Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI) and/or
  • Low Vision Therapist (LVT).