Programs and Services
The Outreach Team includes consultants, specialists, and teachers for students who are blind or visually impaired in the areas of preschool, orientation and mobility, braille or tactile communication, low vision, students with multiple disabilities, transition, and all areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC).
In Wisconsin, the IEP team determines whether a student is a student with a disability and is eligible for special education and related services. Wis. Stat. § 115.78(2)(a). Members of the outreach team do not evaluate students to determine eligibility for special education and are not required members of the IEP team. Wis. Stat. §§ 115.78(1m), 115.82.
Outreach team members may assist the IEP team with the development of a comprehensive evaluation by providing supplemental testing, assessment support and training services, and programming recommendations for the IEP team to consider. Wis. Stat. §§ 115.52(3)(b)(1.), 115.525(3)(b)(1.), 115.782. For example, the outreach team may collaborate with families, the LEA and Wisconsin Vision Professionals to provide written reports to the IEP team or be available to answer questions outside of an IEP team meeting with the parent(s) or guardian(s) present.
These services are of no cost to families or school districts placing Outreach Service Requests (OSRs) and are provided by highly trained vision professionals and education specialists working to support access to learning for Wisconsin students. Because blindness is a low incidence population, we know that all stakeholders are not familiar with individualized needs of students related to blindness and low vision. A “consultation” allows our Outreach staff to work with your teams, including support to statewide vision professionals, families, LEAs, other professionals and all stakeholders.
Outreach consultants and vision professionals are independent of the child’s Individualized Educational Program (IEP) or Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) teams. To learn more about teachers of the visually impaired, Orientation and Mobility instructors, and the ECC, click on the following link: TVI and O&M Roles.
Our work occurs in conjunction with your LEAs, vision professionals and families. We cannot:
- Provide a formal evaluation
- IEP monitoring or compliance reviews
- Determine levels of IEP services or equipment
- Offer placement decisions and/ or program recommendations
Requests can be submitted by school district staff, parents, guardians, vision professionals or other service providers. To request services, go to our Outreach Service Request Form.
If your child currently receives services from a TVI and/or O&M, they will be contacted upon receipt of the request. Prior to receiving services, or receiving /sharing any applicable student records, Outreach must receive a signed Outreach Records Consent form from the student’s legal guardian, as per the Family Educational and Privacy Rights Act (FERPA). Further information about student rights under FERPA can be found at https://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html.