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FOR PARENTS OF BLIND AND VISUALLY HANDICAPPED CHILDREN:

D. GOVERNMENT AGENCIES

Birth to 3 is Wisconsin's early intervention program for infants and toddlers with developmental delays and disabilities and their families. An early intervention team will provide ideas and techniques to help a family enhance their child's development and learning potential. An informative brochure describing the program is available online.

The Cooperative Educational Service Agencies (CESA's) provide special education services, including braille and orientation and mobility instruction, to schools around the state. For contact information and links to the web sites of the twelve CESA's, see the list at the web site of the Department of Public Instruction.

Milwaukee Public Schools, Division of Special Services Center, Assistive Technology Office, "offers workshops, inservices, open labs and additional training in the areas of assistive technology to staff members and parents.

North Central Technical College (Wausau), Center for Students with Disabilities: "Besides low vision evaluation, NTC offers other services for visually impaired people, including vocational testing and career exploration, technical training and support services, and adaptive equipment to help you carry on a normal life."

Parent Education Project of Wisconsin, Inc. (PEP-WI) "is a statewide program providing training, information, and consulting for parents of children with exceptional education needs." The Project has produced "Every Child Deserves a Chance: A Welcome to the Special Education Process," which is a kit consisting of a video and workbook ($79.00).

Silver Lake College (Manitowoc, WI), in collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, is beginning a new licensure program for training teachers of the blind and visually impaired. Much, but not all, of the course work will be done as distance learning.

United States Department of Education, Office of Special Education (OSEP): its "mission and organization focus on the free appropriate public education of children and youth with disabilities from birth through age 21"; oversees operation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA); the Severe Disablities Branch includes a program of Services for Children with Deaf-Blindness.

The Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired provides statewide services to blind and visually impaired students. As a part of the Department of Public Instruction's Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy, the WCBVI is the lead agency and resource for providing quality services to blind and visually impaired school-age children. Their web site has a link to the WCBVI newsletter, "The Viewer."

Wisconsin School for the Visually Handicapped
1700 West State Street
Janesville, WI 53546
Phone: 608-267-3270.

Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy: "The division, through the state schools, WSD and WCBVI, provides direct instruction to students and technical assistance through outreach to local educational agencies (LEAs), communities, and families statewide."

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction: Special Education: Programs for the Visually Impaired and Deaf/Blind. Contact:
Samantha Hoffman
Education Consultant
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
P.O. Box 7841
Madison, WI 53707-7841
Phone: 608-266-3522.
E-mail: samantha.hoffman@dpi.state.wi.us

Parent Education Project of Wisconsin, Inc. (PEP-WI) "is a statewide program providing training, information, and consulting for parents of children with exceptional education needs." The Project has produced "Every Child Deserves a Chance: A Welcome to the Special Education Process," which is a kit consisting of a video and workbook ($79.00).

The Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative is a statewide project funded by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction to help all school districts develop or improve their assistive technology services. WATI also works with Birth to 3 programs through a grant from the Wisconsin Birth to 3 Program. The site, aimed at teachers, has sections on best practices, materials, assessment forms, traning, literacy and assistive technology and art.

The Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired provides statewide services to blind and visually impaired students. As a part of the Department of Public Instruction's Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy, the WCBVI is the lead agency and resource for providing quality services to blind and visually impaired school-age children. Their web site has a link to the WCBVI newsletter, "The Viewer."

"Wisconsin First Step" is "the Central Directory" for Wisconsin's Birth To Three Program, which "provides supports and services to infants and toddlers with developmental disabilities and their families." Wisconsin First Step also serves as the I&R hotline for the Children With Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) Regional Centers. In addition to providing referrals to disability-related resources, Parent Specialists provide direct linkages to the closest CSHCN Regional Center. The Regional Centers provide I&R, Service Coordination, and Parent Networking for families of children ages 0-21 with special health care needs."
Phone: 1-800-642-7837.

Wisconsin Independent Living Centers are consumer-directed, non-profit organizations that provide an array of services, including: peer support, information and referral, independent living skills training, advocacy, community education, personal care and service coordination. Independent Living Centers also provide information and access to assistive technology as part of the WisTech Program.

For services and programs for young children 3-5 years of age with exceptional educational needs, contact:
Jeanette Lange, Early Childhood Consultant
125 South Webster Street
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
P.O. Box 7841
Madison, WI 53707-7841
Phone: 608-267-9172.
Fax: 608-267-3746.

Waisman Center Early Intervention Program: "as part of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Early Intervention Program provides leadership and support to the early intervention community through an array of service, preservice and inservice training, technical assistance and research opportunities that are family-centered and interdisciplinary."

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