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New Wisconsin Vision Professional’s Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a compilation of frequently asked questions received by WCBVI Outreach from new Vision Professionals. Should you have a question that is not addressed here, please contact WCBVI Outreach at

New Wisconsin Vision Professionals

Where do I take the Braille Exam?

The requirement for the “national literary braille competency test” referenced in PI 34.051(2)(g), which is now called the “National Certification in Unified English Braille (NCUEB)” has been in place in the Wisconsin administrative code since 1995. The NCUEB is readily available currently and you can schedule your own NCUEB Exam!

What can I do to refresh my braille skills?

WCBVI offers a Braille Refresher Course annually, typically held in the summer! This will be announced via the WCBVI Weekly Update. In the meantime, please check out the training resources available on our website and our YouTube channel

What tools are available to help me get started, get organized and stay on track?

WCBVI’s team of mentors created a calendar and checklist to assist and guide any teacher in planning out their year! 

How do I analyze my workload and share my findings with my administrator?

Wisconsin is a local control state our LEAs determine, along with guidance from our TVIs and O&Ms, which workload tools will be used to determine levels of service delivery based upon the unique, and individualized, disability related needs of the student.  

Workload Determination Resources 

Who can help me?

The Outreach Team at WCBVI can help you! Check out the website for services and programs including an Outreach Service Request (OSR)!  

Outreach Service Request

WCBVI Outreach Mentoring program can help you! We match new Vision Professional’s (TVIs and O&Ms) with veteran Wisconsin Vision Professional’s 

Mentoring Home Page

WCBVI Outreach Weekly Update can help you! We send a Weekly Update to provide families, Vision Professional’s, and other stakeholders with information regarding events, initiatives, and other important updates throughout the state of Wisconsin.

Join the email list

Professionals Organizations

Wisconsin Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (WAER) hosts a moderated, two-way digital community! To join, please take a few moments to fill out a join request.

Orientation and Mobility Specialists Association

Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology: Listserv Sign Up

NFBnet Mailing List

AER Membership Page

Where do I go for support for students who are deafblind?

WCBVI Outreach has a link to DPI (Department of Public Instruction) Deafblind Resources on the WCBVI Resources page.

Accessible Educational Materials (AEM)

The Accessible Education Materials (AEM) Center is part of the Outreach Program at the Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Did you know that Assistive Technology (AT) is a part of AEM?

AEM services are available to public, private, and home schools and agencies providing educational programs for prekindergarten through 12th grade children and students who are blind or visually impaired.

How do I obtain books and materials for my students?

Our AEM Center also provides the following services:

  • Ordering of K-12 textbooks and educational materials for qualifying children and students through funds provided by the American Printing House (APH) Federal Quota Program
  • Textbook research, information, dissemination, and referrals.

To order textbooks, please follow this process: WCBVI Book Request Process

To order APH consumable materials, please complete a WCBVI APH Consumable and Loan Request Form and select Requesting APH Consumables in the How Can We Help You section of the form.

How can I get assistive technology for my student?

It is easy to borrow from WCBVI’s AT Loan Library at

AT Loan Procedures

Please note that to borrow equipment from the AT Loan Library, the following requirements must be met:

  • The TVI must submit a WCBVI APH Consumable and Loan Request Form using the new online form. Please ensure all of the correct contact information was provided so a DocuSign Link can be sent to the TVI and identified LEA.
  • All first semester loans are due back the third Friday in January and all second semester loans are due back the third Friday in June.  Please consult the Capital Equipment Loan Agreement Form you receive with your equipment for the exact date.
  • Please read Frequently Asked Questions document for further information.
Where can I get a brailler for a student?

Students are allowed to borrow only two braillers regardless of whether it is through another district or a different type of brailler. If a student is not on the APH Census, we will still lend one standard brailler.

To borrow a brailler, go to the WCBVI APH Consumable and Loan Request Form. In the How Can We Help You section of the form, please select Borrowing equipment.

Equipment is not shipped to PO boxes or homes unless the student is attending a virtual school or is homeschooled.

Be thorough when you fill out the form. The information we receive will be transformed into a DocuSign form that will be sent to you, your LEA, and our Outreach Director for an electronic signature. A copy of the form will be sent with the equipment.

What if a student’s Perkins brailler needs to be repaired?

When you receive a brailler, keep the box. Each box is labeled to correspond with the brailler that it comes with. If your student is done with the brailler, moved or graduated, then address the box to:

Attn: AEM Center
1700 W State St
Janesville, WI 53546

If your student needs a replacement, make a note that you need a replacement along with the student’s name and what is wrong with the brailler. Place the note in the box and then, send the brailler to:

Attn: AEM Repairs
1700 W State St
Janesville, WI 53546

The brailler can be sent back “Free Matter for The Blind or Handicapped” but it will get here faster if you pay for shipping.

Evaluation and IEP Development

I’m not sure when I must do evaluations for my students?

The DPI Special Education team has developed text and visual versions of the Special Education Evaluation and IEP Evaluation Timelines. These resources explain the time requirements of each step in the evaluation process and are a useful tool for students, parents, and school staff.  

I have questions about the policies and procedures for the IEP process in Wisconsin. Where can I find this information?

The DPI has created a comprehensive and user-friendly document, Special Education in Plain Language. This document provides information on special education laws, policies and practices in Wisconsin.  

To learn more about the administrative rules that govern special education in Wisconsin, please see Chapter PI 11 – Children with Disabilities

Additionally, you can find information about the disability criteria category of blind and visually impaired on the DPI blind and visually impaired program website. 

Finally, a place that you may use to answers to share with families regarding IEP processes and procedures, is the Wisconsin Statewide Parent-Educator Initiave (WSPEI) Resource File for Families. 

What are the rules in Wisconsin governing special education?

To learn more about the administrative rules that govern special education in Wisconsin, please see Chapter PI 11 – Children with Disabilities

My IEP looks different from DPI’s! How do I fill it out?

Local education agencies (LEA’s) may use different vendors for their IEP systems. Because of this, if you work in different LEA’s, the IEP’s you complete may look a little different. Check out the newly updated Guide to Special Education Forms. Model IEP team forms developed by the DPI serve as a guide and the primary tool for documenting compliance with federal and state special education requirements related to the IEP team process. This companion document provides guidance on the use of the forms. It includes a discussion of the specific requirements relating to each form, directions for the use of each form, and tips for implementing the IEP team process. 

How do I find a child eligible for special education under the disability category criteria of blind and visually impaired during a comprehensive special education evaluation?

Blind and visually impaired means even after correction a child’s visual functioning adversely affects educational performance. The IEP team may identify a child as blind and visually impaired after all of the following events occur:

  1. A teacher of the blind and visually impaired licensed under s. PI 34.051 conducts a functional vision evaluation which includes a review of medical information from an ophthalmologist or optometrist, formal and informal tests of visual functioning, and a determination of the implications of the blindness or visual impairment on the educational and curricular needs of the child.
  2. An orientation and mobility specialist licensed under s. PI 34.089 evaluates the child to determine if there are related orientation and mobility needs in home, school, or community environments. A child may meet the criteria under this subdivision even if they do not have orientation and mobility needs. PI 11.36 (3), Wis. Admin. Code

For more information and guidance on implementing the updated rule, see the 
“Blind and Visually Impaired Criteria” section of this web page.

This is my first time completing a functional vision assessment…where do I start?

Check out the assessment folder in our Vision Professional’sToolkit, where you will find a list of items you may want to include in your functional vision assessment kit. There is also information on O&M assessment, learning media assessment, ECC assessment, and psychoeducational assessment.

How can I work with our school psychologist on assessment?

The WCBVI Outreach team has received many requests for assistance when working on assessment with their school psychologist. As a result, the Support and Training for School Psychologists, Related Service Providers and LEAs Regarding Blindness and Visual Impairment resource document.

Support and Training for School Psychologists – Copy.docx

Keep in mind, important timelines for statewide testing!

How do I know if a student needs extended school year services (ESY)?

Extended school year services are an IEP team decision. For guidance on making this decision, please see Information Update Bulletin 10.02, Extended School Year (ESY) Services for Children with Disabilities. 

What is the difference between education-based services provided by a TVI and medically-based Vision Therapy?
What tools are available to help me write an IEP?

Writing IEP’s is a huge responsibility! The following tools are here to support you in writing student IEP’s: 

Resources regarding minutes for braille instruction: 

These are important excerpts in the guidance from the OSEP Dear Colleague Letter on Braille to LEAs  

“IEP Teams must ensure that the instructional time allotted for Braille instruction is sufficient to provide the level of instruction determined appropriate for the child. For example, if a particular student has little or no skill in Braille reading and writing, the IEP Team may conclude that frequent and intensive instruction in Braille likely would be necessary to enable the student to have meaningful access to the general curriculum.”  

 Also, important are these excerpts: “The information obtained through the evaluation generally should be used by the IEP Team in determining whether it would be appropriate to provide a blind or visually impaired child with instruction in Braille or the use of Braille as required by the IDEA. Factors, such as shortages of trained personnel to provide Braille instruction; the availability of alternative reading media (including large print materials, recorded materials, or computers with speech output); or the amount of time needed to provide a child with sufficient and regular instruction to attain proficiency in Braille, may not be used to deny Braille instruction to a child. Rather, it would be appropriate to deny Braille instruction to a child only when the child’s IEP Team, based on the results of a thorough and rigorous evaluation, determines that instruction in Braille would be inappropriate for that child.” 

Does the Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired offer any alternate placement options for students who are blind and visually impaired in Wisconsin?

In conjunction with local education agencies, schools, and parents, Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired provides support to students who are blind or visually impaired. Placement at WSBVI, as defined in DPI Bulletin 11.01, is determined through a meeting of the student’s IEP team that includes key staff members from WSBVI, families, and the LEA. WSBVI conducts a 45-day observation/assessment period on campus at the start of a trial placement. For more information go to Information Update Bulletin 11.01: Statewide Services Provided by the Wisconsin Educational Services Program for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and the Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Check out CCR and Little Peanuts 

Expanded Core Curriculum

What is the ECC?

In addition to instruction in the core curriculum (math, science, etc) that all students receive, students who are blind and visually impaired may require instruction in the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) in order to access those subjects. Vision Professional’s provide instruction in the ECC for a student who is found eligible as blind or visually impaired.  It is best practice to have the ECC addressed in their IEP. The 9 areas of the ECC are  

  1. Assistive technology 
  1. Orientation and mobility 
  1. Career education 
  1. Self-advocacy 
  1. Social skills 
  1. Recreation and leisure 
  1. Compensatory skills 
  1. Independent living skills 
  1. Sensory efficiency skills 
  1. For more information please read, “What is the ECC?.”
Where do I look for Lesson Plans and Goals, including for the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC)?
My students would benefit from extra support or social opportunities. Does WCBVI offer any student programming?

In order to promote, facilitate, and provide appropriate educational opportunities for all Wisconsin children who are blind or visually impaired, regardless of their educational placement, Outreach staff offer Individual and Group Short Courses with an emphasis on the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC). For the latest Short Course opportunities, please visit our website or check out the Weekly Update

Additionally, WCBVI Outreach offers a summer Employability program for students ages 16-21, focusing on preparing for community employment. For more information, visit the Employability website or check out the Weekly Update.

Where can I find professional development opportunities?

APH Hive  

Some examples of classes offered on the APH Hive website that have assessment related courses. The titles of these courses are  

  • Evaluation Independent Living Skills Using the Functional Skills Assessment  
  • Evaluation and Treatment of Children with CVI  
  • From Evaluation to Instruction Using the Barrage Visual Efficiency Program  

TVIs and O&M Specialists can access support when conducting their own Functional Vision Evaluations, Learning Media Assessments and Orientation and Mobility assessments in the field through the WCBVI Outreach Service Request (OSR) 

The Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired (WCBVI) offers opportunities for professional development throughout the year. They include classes on educationally related topics requested by Vision Professional’s, individual research, and resources to assist teachers of the blind and visually impaired, families of children, and service providers. The Center periodically surveys the field to determine areas of interest. For more information, please contact type “Professional Development” in the subject line.