A Family Guide to TSBVI

Information about who we are and what we do including summer, short-term, outreach, and K-12 comprehensive program services. Description of eligibility for our programs and costs associated with them.

A Family’s Guide to Services at TSBVI

Download “A Parent’s Guide to Services at TSBVI” (PDF)

Descargar “Guía para padres sobre los servicios en TSBVI” (PDF)

What We Do

Many years ago, TSBVI was viewed as the place where students who were blind, visually impaired, or deafblind lived and learned throughout their school years. These students rarely returned to their homes except during the summer months. Things have changed a lot since then!  We now have three programs (Outreach Programs, Short-Term Programs, Comprehensive K-12 Programs) delivering services throughout Texas. TSBVI works within a statewide network as partners with local school districts, educational service centers and related agencies. We are no longer viewed as a school where a student is likely to spend most of their school career. Instead, we offer a range of options to provide support to local educational teams when they request our assistance in educating their students.

Students group photo around megaphone

Photo of staff in front of new main building

Outreach Programs

TSBVI Outreach Programs provide support and training to people involved in the lives of individuals ages pre-K through 22 with visual impairments or deafblindness.

Our focus is on students and programs in local communities throughout Texas.

Family Engagement

TSBVI Outreach supports families of children with visual impairment and/or deafblindness to access training and resources, and to connect to other families. Family support and training are coordinated as appropriate with the Health and Human Services Commission, Blind Children’s Program, and the Texas Workforce Commission, Blind Services Program. Click here to view a list of Texas family resources on deafblindness.

School Consultation

Your student does not need to be enrolled as a TSBVI student in order to benefit from the expertise of our staff. Experienced TSBVI educational consultants can work with your local district to help your educational team with recommendations for quality programming. Requests must come from the local district and are coordinated with your regional Education Service Center (ESC) vision consultant to ensure long-term follow-up.

Map of Texas’ Educational Service Centers.

Publications and Materials

The Outreach Program provides webinars, conferences, e-learning, and opportunities to connect with families and educators.

TX SenseAbilities, a publication about visual impairment and deafblindness for families and professionals is available online in English and Spanish.

Sign up for the TX SenseAbilities Bi-annual Newsletter.

A publication about visual impairment and the deafblind community for families and professionals. Available online in English and Spanish.

Sign Up!

Costs of Outreach Program Services

There are no costs to the student’s parent for Outreach Program services. The student’s local school district may support Outreach services when there are costs associated with training (e.g., registration fees) or to help pay for transportation and related travel costs associated with Outreach visits.

Short-Term Programs: School-Year and Summer Programs

TSBVI Short-Term Programs includes school-year and summer sessions.

School Year Short-Term Programs

Short-Term Programs provides school-year classes between September and May to academic students who are functioning on or close to grade level and are able to quickly adapt and learn in a new environment. Ranging from 3-5 days in length, these highly intensive, fast-paced classes introduce students to aspects of the Expanded Core Curriculum that can be difficult to provide during the regular academic school day. Our residential instruction is as carefully planned and supervised as our day program. All classes are provided at no cost to the school or family; this includes transportation. Short-Term Programs also offers online Distance Learning opportunities and Individualized Instruction.

Instruction in Short-Term Programs aligns with the current Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) objectives by teaching:

  • Disability-specific skills needed to access the regular curriculum (e.g., technology, low vision tools and strategies, math tools and strategies
  • Basic concepts that support the curriculum (e.g., college prep, social studies, research, number concepts)
  • Attitudinal changes that support successful learning (e.g., self-determination, social skills, independent living)

In addition to working on state identified objectives, students:

  • Interact with other students and adults with visual impairments who share many of their life experiences, thus supporting social-emotional development, self-advocacy skills, and self-determination skills. This alone can have a life-changing impact on a student’s perspective and willingness to learn in the classroom.
  • Practice supplementary skills and adaptations (before and after school) needed for food preparation, household tasks, personal organization and management, accessible recreational and leisure skills.
  • Experience the independence of living away from home for a short time in a totally supported environment, making choices and trying out new experiences on their own.
  • Better understand the need and value of using special adaptations related to vision loss
  • Join in activities that access the campus at large as well as the community.

Examples of our many Short-Term Program classes are:

  • Elementary Access to Academic Skills
  • High School Access to Academic Skills
  • Low Vision Tools and Strategies
  • College Prep
  • Tech for Tykes
  • Iron Chef: Working in the Kitchen
  • Safe Driving with Low Vision
  • City Travel
  • Accessible Math Tools

Summer Programs

Summer Programs are available to Texas students are not enrolled full-time at TSBVI during the regular school year. These programs, which range from 1-5 weeks in length, serve students from elementary through high school, including those who are visually impaired with additional disabilities. Classes focus on various aspects of the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) for students with visual impairments. Each summer, we bring approximately 300 students to our campus from all across the state. TSBVI offers these programs at no cost to parents, but does not provide or pay for transportation.

Summer Programming is:

  • Secondary Enrichment
  • Practical Experiences in Expanded Core (PEEC)
  • Elementary Summer Enrichment
  • Working and Living in the Community (WALIC)
  • Summer Work Experience in Austin Texas (SWEAT)

Summer applications are posted on our website in early January each year, and they are due no later than February 14. They are completed jointly by the student’s parent and Teacher of the Visually Impaired.

Students working with a geometric model

Additional information for Short-Term Programs

Get additional information regarding TSBVI's Short-Term Programs: School-Year and Summer Programs

Short-Term Programs

photo of the 2012 braille challenge team

Comprehensive Programs (K-12, Post-Secondary, EXIT)

K-12: As in the past, we continue to have our on-campus regular school year program for students. Most students reside on campus Sunday night through Friday afternoon, traveling back to their homes either weekly or every other week. Students who live close to the school continue to live at home during their enrollment and are transported to the school on a daily basis by their local school districts. We know families are important! We work hard to make sure students are home and connected to their communities as often as possible.

Like all students with disabilities throughout the country, each student enrolled in Comprehensive Programs has an Individual Educational Plan (IEP) developed by the student’s local Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) committee, which includes the student’s parents or guardian. For students attending TSBVI, our staff also participates in the ARD meeting, offering support to the local district.

TSBVI is a center of expertise in visual impairment. Our teachers and other support staff (O&M, OT/PT, Speech Language Pathologists, Nurses, and Paraprofessionals) are uniquely able to provide specialized support to you and your district when a student needs a period of intensive services on our campus. We are able to evaluate each student’s learning needs and help the local district build its capacity to provide appropriate instruction when the student returns home.

If you and your district determine that your student may need a period of intensive services in Comprehensive Programs, a referral can be initiated by the student’s local ARD committee.  If the student is accepted for Comprehensive Programs, an ongoing process of collaboration among TSBVI, you, and your district begins right away and continues throughout the student’s enrollment at TSBVI.  The purpose of the collaboration is to ensure that TSBVI makes an effective contribution to your student’s long term educational plan.  TSBVI will deliver an appropriate on-campus educational program while at the same time assisting you, your local school, and other agencies to prepare for the student’s successful return to the district or to adult life after graduation.

Comprehensive K-12 Eligibility Requirements

To be enrolled as a student at TSBVI, the student must be a resident of Texas who has been determined by the local school district Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) Committee to be visually impaired or deafblind. By law, students who are admitted to TSBVI:

  • Must require specialized or intensive educational or related services related to the visual impairment
  • Must not have needs that are appropriately addressed in a home or hospital setting or in a residential treatment facility; and
  • Must not have primary, ongoing needs related to a severe or profound emotional, behavioral or cognitive deficit.

For more information about referral for admission, contact: Cathy Olsen, [email protected] TSBVI Admissions Coordinator, or by phone 512-206-9182.

Photo of the TSBVI Champion Robotics Team--the DotBots

Costs Associated with Comprehensive K-12

  • The student’s local school district shares in the cost of the student’s education when the student is enrolled in TSBVI. The cost to the district is based on each local school district’s property tax revenue.
  • The district also funds the costs of the student’s transportation at the beginning and end of the school year, and at each of the TSBVI school holidays when the School closes. There are eight school closings in the typical school year.
  • The student’s education is free to the parent. The student’s medical treatment is the responsibility of the student’s parents. Parents are encouraged to provide students with an “allowance” for personal items and special recreation activities, although most recreation activities are funded by TSBVI.

Post-Secondary Program

Get more information regarding TSBVI's Post-Secondary Program

Post-Secondary Program

EXIT Program

Get more information regarding TSBVI's EXIT Program.

EXIT Program

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
1100 W. 45th Street Austin, TX 78756
Main Number: (512) 454-8631
Toll free: 1-800-TSB-KARE

Emily Coleman, Superintendent
[email protected]
(512) 206-9133