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Principal: Miles Fain
Miles Fain
(512) 206-9251


Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) is a center for educational services for all blind and visually impaired students in Texas. We provide opportunities for children and youth with visual impairments to develop the skills necessary to lead personally, socially, and vocationally satisfying and productive lives.

TSBVI is a special public school established and funded by the state of Texas to provide specialized and intense services that focus on the unique learning needs of students with visual impairments, including those with additional disabilities. The School is accredited by the Texas Education Agency as part of the public education system of Texas. TSBVI provides a broad range of instructional programs and specialized instruction, including a residential program, at no cost to students or their families during the regular school year and in summer programs. Students receive instruction that can prepare them for high school graduation, for return to their local school districts, or for transition to further education, training or placement in local communities.

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) serves as a special public school in the continuum of statewide placements for students who have a visual impairment. Students, ages 6 through 21, who are blind, deaf-blind, or visually impaired, including those with additional disabilities, are eligible for consideration for services on the TSBVI campus. It is also a statewide resource to parents of these children and the professionals who serve them, from birth through transition from school.

In Comprehensive Programs, students attend school and usually live at the campus in Austin for the regular school year.

This program:

  • Provides a comprehensive core curriculum and training in skills for independence to meet the needs of each student during the regular school year.
  • Puts a special focus on the expanded core curriculum (ECC):
    1. Braille and other modes to access the general curriculum
    2. Orientation and mobility
    3. Assistive technology
    4. Career education
    5. Independent living skills
    6. Recreation and leisure
    7. Self-determination
    8. Sensory efficiency
    9. Social interaction skills
  • Includes opportunity for coursework in Austin ISD schools.
  • Includes on-campus residential living skills training.
  • Provides weekends home transportation.
  • Comes with a full array of recreational and competitive extracurricular activities, including: drama, art, musical performance, student council, track and field, wrestling, goal ball, swim team, rowing and tandem biking.
  • Puts a strong emphasis on successful transition to adult life.

General Information 

For Parents

For Students



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Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) has an array of programs that serve the almost 11,000 students identified blind, visually impaired and DeafBlind throughout Texas.  Our goal is to transform educational outcomes for students, ages birth to 22.  In some cases, we serve as a special public school for students ages 6 through 22 on the TSBVI campus. We also provide support in the form of online courses, consultations, publications, and in-person trainings throughout Texas, addressing the needs of students that may never set foot in Austin.  Family education and engagement is at the heart of what we do.

Parent's Guide to TSBVI Services

A School District Guide to Accessing Services at TSBVI

A Brief History of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired was established by the Sixth Texas Legislature on August 16, 1856, as The Blind Institute, with five members of the board of trustees appointed by Governor Elisha M. Pease. The location of the first Blind Institute was at the residence of Mr. W. L. Hill who leased the premises for the purpose of establishing a school for the blind. Dr. S. W. Baker, family doctor and close personal friend of Governor Pease, was the first superintendent. By 1857, three students were in attendance with one student being 25 years of age at the time of his admittance to The Blind Institute. Parents of the students paid tuition and expenses but, as needed, the tuition and expenses of the students were met by the Institute.

Originally, students were expected to work while at the Institute, making brooms and other marketable products.

Continue Reading 'A Brief History of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired'

Visit the TSBVI History Site for much more information,  fun facts about the school and how we are connected to Austin and the world!

100 Year Commemorative Video

Description: A brief video commemorating 100 years at TSBVI's permanent location in north Austin with all the exciting changes that have taken place over the years; interviews with alumni, current and former staff, and footage from the 1920's to 2017.

Downloads: Transcript (txt) Audio (mp3)

100 Años Conmemorativo [Español]

Description: En español.

Downloads: Transcripción (txt)

Short-Term Programs provide short-term services to visually impaired students who attend their local districts during the school year. Students travel to Austin to attend programs on the TSBVI campus, or may participate in Distance Learning either self paced, or on-line at scheduled times with a TSBVI instructor.

  • Short-Term Programs - Students who are working on grade level in their local school district come to TSBVI for three to five days to receive intensive instruction in the Expanded Core Curriculum for students with visual impairments.
  • Summer Programs

For information about admission to any of the programs, contact the TSBVI Short-Term Programs 512-206-9241,   

About School Year Programs

Referral, Admission, and Attendance Procedures

Class is Over, Now What?

Questions & Answers


The Outreach Programs serve as a statewide resource  for families and professionals on blindness and/or deafblindness.  The Outreach Programs:

  • consult with local districts on student programming, in coordination  with regional education service centers
  • sponsor local and regional workshops, statewide conferences and  regularly scheduled videoconferences
  • produce original materials, including a quarterly newsletter,  SensAbilities, in print and on the website
  • administer a technology loan program, through which local programs  may borrow specialized technology for use by individual students  for up to one school year
  • coordinate statewide registration of students with visual impairments  and the deafblind census
  • distributes specialized materials from the American Printing House  for the Blind with federal quota funds
  • coordinate mentors for new teachers and orientation and mobility  specialists, and supports personnel prep programs

In Memory of Dr. Phil Hatlen

Dr. Phil HatlenDr. Phil Hatlen earned his Bachelor's degree in elementary education and a Master's degree in special education from San Francisco State College before being awarded a Doctorate in Education from University of California, Berkeley. He served as the Superintendent of Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired from 1990 to 2007.

While Superintendent, he realized the need to enhance the opportunity for Teachers of the Visually Impaired and Orientation and Mobility specialists to provide Expanded Core Curriculum activities to their local district students. To fill that gap, he created All Blind Children of Texas, a nonprofit that funds these activities by teacher request. He continued to serve on the board of ABCTX until his death.

Considered a visionary of change, Dr. Hatlen was an inspiration to countless professionals during his career as a teacher, university professor in teacher preparation programs, and in his many leadership roles in national and state organizations and committees. From the very first moment Phil Hatlen ventured into a classroom of blind kids, his curiosity about how they learned generated a lifetime of dedicated interest and fascination, leading to changes in the way the world educates blind children.

His hand in the creation of the Expanded Core Curriculum and the development of a National Agenda to provide guidelines on teaching beyond the basics has been a lifetime achievement and formed Phil’s fifty-plus year career as a world leader and game-changer in his profession. 

His broad, sweeping changes at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired will be remembered in our school's history as one of its greatest chapters. Changes from expanding our Orientation and Mobility resources to expanding our Outreach department so that curriculum going far beyond the 'normal' curriculum in classrooms is made available across the globe.

Donations may be made in memory of Phil to the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired or All Blind Children of Texas, 1100 W. 45th St, Austin, TX 78756.

This page is dedicated to the work of Dr. Phil Hatlen. May he rest in peace.

Obituary for Dr. Phil Hatlen - A service to celebrate Phil's life will be held at St. Matthews Episcopal Church, 8134 Mesa Dr., Austin on February 6th, 2016 at 1:30 p.m.
Donations may be made in memory of Phil to the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired or All Blind Children of Texas, 1100 W. 45th St, Austin, TX 78756.

Guestbook for Dr. Phil Hatlen - Share your memories and thoughts.

EXIT (EXperiences In Transition) - Designed to focus on transitioning young adults from school to the adult world.

Designed to focus on transitioning  young adults from school to the adult world. This course of study  will provide programming for Practical Academic students ages 18-22  in an environment that more closely replicates the adult environment  in which they will be living.

The EXIT program focuses on these areas  of transition: personal management; housing/household management;  adult leisure, recreation and fitness; physical and mental health  needs; transportation; employment; post secondary education; and  age of majority. Also included will be instruction in social skills  and self determination skills.

The School hosts this accessible resource,  recognized throughout the world for content concerning visual impairment  and the education of blind and visually impaired students.

This department develops curriculum written by teachers and other certified  professionals for blind and visually impaired students in all curricular  approaches. Curriculum and resource guides are published and sold worldwide  to assist parents, teachers, and other professionals and paraprofessionals  in areas such as independent living, career education, technology, Braille  instruction, orientation and mobility and low vision. Each guide contains  assessment and instructional methodology.