Visual Impairments

DPI Visual Impairment Consultants

Sherri Vernelson - Section Chief, Sensory Support & Assistive Technology (SSAT), 984.236.2584
Alan Chase - Northeast, Southeast, North Central, Sandhills 984.236.2582
Crystal Patrick - Piedmont-Triad, Southwest, Northwest, Western 984.236.2617
Terri Terrell - Data Specialist/APH Ex-Officio Trustee, 984.236.2581

DPI Visual Impairment Resource

Visual impairment is a low incidence condition, but it can have a high impact on student performance. Material and equipment must be carefully chosen to meet the unique needs of each student with a visual impairment. The Exceptional Children Division of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction has developed a Statewide System of Support for Students with Visual Impairments to help local education agencies (LEAs) understand and meet the needs of their students with visual impairments.  Information and resources are available on the VI Resources Canvas Hub

Teacher Preparation Programs for Visual Impairment

Attached is the most updated information on national teaching training programs within the field of visual impairment, which includes some grant information. If you are looking to "grow your own" Teachers of the Visually Impaired or would like to recruit graduates for your LEA, please review this document. If you are a Teacher desiring more coursework this document may be helpful to you as well.

VI Schools and Programs

Neurological Visual Impairment Guidance Document

Questions and concerns have been received by the Exceptional Children Division recently in light of increased attention to CVI in the state and across the nation. The guidance document is a step to provide initial guidance and support. Exceptional Children Division Consultants for Vision Impairment and the Consultant for Deaf-blind will stay abreast of information and issues, updating the field as necessary.

Neurological Visual Impairment Guidance Doc

Neurological Visual Impairment Guidance Memo

Vision Screening Guidance Document

The office of Exceptional Children at NCDPI is pleased to offer guidance regarding vision screening for all students ages PreK-12th grade. If you have any questions, please contact Crystal Patrick, Consultant for Visual Impairment.

Vision Screening Guidance 2024

UEB Transition

In an effort to support LEAs during the Unified English Braille (UEB) Transition, the EC Division has provided ongoing technical assistance and support, including professional development. There are many resources available to staff from sources around the country that will assist in learning more about UEB. Please contact your regional Consultant for Visual Impairment for a list of resources.  

North Carolina UEB Transition Timeline

UEB Flyer

NC's Transition to the Unified English Braille

NCVI Listserv
NCVI Listserv Join self-subscribe 

Tab/Accordion Items

APH Federal Quota System

NCAPH has removed LEA allotment for Quota Fund spending. Instead, all LEAs are encouraged to order what is needed to meet the unique needs of a registered student. For questions or concerns, please contact Terri Terrell (NC Ex-Officio Trustee) 984.236.2581 or

A Guide to Federal Quota Registration - Birth thru 3

A Guide to Federal Quota Registration - Preschool thru Grade 12

A Guide to Federal Quota Registration - Adult

NCAPH Order Form

NCAPH Repair Form

APH 2023 Legally Blind Registration

Information About Registration


Directions on How to Register Students

Webinar: NC APH 2023 Census Password: NCaph#2023


Important Forms

Low Vision 

The EC Division supports LEAs serving students with Visual Impairment by providing access to mobile clinical low vision evaluations. For information on the process, please read the information below:

CLVE Flowchart

CLVE Checklist

CLVE Intake Form 

CLVE Device Request Form

NC Ophthalmological Summary Template 

Community Low Vision Center Release

CLVE Electronic Notification Form

For information on what to expect during a low vision evaluation, please read the following:

What to expect during a LVE

Instruction on LV devices (WVU, CVRP)

Position Papers

Facilitating Visual Efficiency (CEC-DVI)

Low Vision: Access to Print (CEC-DVI)

Assistive Technology-

For more information go to NCDPI AT

Under IDEA 2004 addressing assistive technology:

Sec. 300.105 Assistive technology.

(a) Each public agency must ensure that assistive technology devices or assistive technology services, or both, as those terms are defined in Sec. Sec. 300.5 and 300.6, respectively, are made available to a child with a disability if required as a part of the child's--

(1) Special education under Sec. 300.36;

(2) Related services under Sec. 300.34; or

(3) Supplementary aids and services under Sec. Sec. 300.38 and 300.114(a)(2)(ii).

(b) On a case-by-case basis, the use of school-purchased assistive technology devices in a child's home or in other settings is required if the child's IEP Team determines that the child needs access to those devices in order to receive FAPE.

(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(1), 1412(a)(12)(B)(i) )

Assistive Technology for Students with Visual Impairment (Position Paper, CEC-DVI)


Contact: Crystal Patrick 984.236.2617

A related service to students with a qualifying visual impairment. O&M instruction enables …”students to attain systematic orientation to and safe movement within their school, home and community.” (NC Policies Governing Services for Students with Disabilities, NC 1500-2.28).

Who provides O&M Instruction? 

Best practice supports a Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialist (COMS) through the Academy of Vision Rehabilitation Professionals (ACVREP). Some of the requirements for certification include: O&M specific master’s level course work through an approved university program, 350 hour internship under a COMS, and a qualifying exam. Certification is renewed every five years with fulfillment of at least 25 continuing educational credits. For Details see:

How is the need for O&M instruction determined?

A student with a visual impairment may be referred for an initial O&M evaluation through the IEP Team. Parent permission to evaluate must be obtained. Evaluations performed by a Certified Orientation &Mobility Specialist are comprised of:  Medical Eye Report review; IEP and latest evaluations review, observations, assessment tools and environmental assessment of the school, home, and community, regarding developmentally appropriate independent travel expectations; and interviews with educational team members. The results of the evaluation are shared with the IEP Team which uses the information and recommendations to determine and or develop, if needed orientation and mobility goals and services.

Additional Resources for O&M Specialist’s working in a school setting

The Expanded Core Curriculum for the Visually Impaired 

  • Compensatory or functional academic skills, including communication modes
  • orientation and mobility
  • social interaction skills
  • independent living skills
  • recreation and leisure skills
  • career education
  • use of assistive technology
  • sensory efficiency skills
  • self-determination

Finding the Time

The National Agenda

This National Agenda represents a broad consensus of how educational programs must change to meet the needs of students with visual impairments. Commitment to achieve the National Agenda goals has come from the full range of individuals involved in the educational service delivery system, including individuals with visual impairments, parents, educators, and professionals responsible for program administration and personnel preparation. Once achieved, it is anticipated the National Agenda will improve overall educational services so that teachers and students will have the tools they need to improve teaching and learning. Partnerships will be strengthened among university training programs, school administrators, educators and parents. Referral and assessment procedures will be enhanced to ensure that all students with visual impairments are learning what they need to know to succeed. (

Time and services

Caseload Analysis 

QPVI Caseload Analysis (from A Guide to Quality Programs for Students with Visual Impairments)