The Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired (PRCVI) is charged with providing learning resources, leadership, information, training, and consultation to support school districts’ and independent schools’ goal of ensuring equitable access and enhanced educational opportunities for students with visual impairments including those with additional exceptionalities.
A staff of 16 professionals, including qualified teachers of students with visual impairments, braille transcribers, library personnel, alternate format production specialists, and an IT/Multimedia specialist exercise this mandate by working collaboratively with school districts and independent schools to provide for the instructional and material resource needs of students with visual impairments and their educational teams.
Professionals and educational teams access PRCVI service delivery through a qualified teacher of students with visual impairments, across one or more of three service domains: Consultation, leadership, and resource support.
Consultation-based services include support from the PRCVI outreach team through direct or remote collaboration with TSVIs to support best practices in educational programming for students with visual impairments in inclusive settings. Leadership initiatives are planned to address the professional development and training needs of TSVIs and other educational professionals serving students with visual impairments in BC. These initiatives also work within the PRCVI program mandate to promote high-quality service delivery for students with visual impairments through the development and implementation of new guidelines and resources at the provincial and national level. Finally, PRCVI provides learning materials in accessible alternate formats for students with visual impairments across BC.
Materials on Loan from PRCVI
PRCVI maintains a library of alternate format instructional materials in braille and large print, as well as specialized equipment, tools, resource kits, models, and professional resources. Qualified Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments (TSVIs) request materials on behalf of students with visual impairments. These materials are shipped to the student's school or to a secondary location (e.g., TSVI's office). Most items in circulation are loaned for one academic year.
PRCVI requires that materials be returned at the end of the academic year. Reminders and complete lists of active loans and overdue items are sent to TSVIs in May of each year. Many resource kits and models need to be cleaned, checked, and in some cases, updated or repaired.
For more details on the PRCVI Library, please see the sections below:
- Alternate Format Instructional Materials
- Specialized Equipment
- Professional Resource Publications
- Training for Educational Assistants and Transcribers
- PRCVI Outreach Coordinators
Our alternate format materials for primary and secondary students include braille, large print, and a variety of digital formats available to registered users through ARC-BC.
PRCVI has a mandate to produce primary learning materials in braille format to meet the instructional needs of students with qualifying visual impairment in the BC K-12 education sector.
For more information on the full range of alternate format instructional materials available from PRCVI, please see our Alternate Format Production Policy.
Centralized materials production at PRCVI has significant financial and time efficiency benefits for the K-12 education sector in British Columbia. Before producing new resources in braille format, PRCVI will seek to borrow materials from other resource centres or libraries, where available. PRCVI is a member of the Canadian Association of Educational Resource Centres for Alternate Format Materials (CAER) - an organization of alternate format producers in the K-12 and post-secondary sectors in Canada. Material loans and production coordination between CAER members create significant value in terms of cost savings and ensures that students across the country have timely access to learning materials in alternate formats.
In order to ensure that your students will have the materials they require PRCVI must receive all requests for transcription well in advance. In some cases, we already hold the required books but if we have to transcribe them this process will take up to eight months where there are maps and/or diagrams, (this includes transcribing, creating tactile diagrams, proofreading, embossing, binding, cataloguing, labeling and shipping). We normally have a production queue so our team is committed many months ahead of time.
PRCVI sends out a reminder each year, normally at the beginning of March, for braille requests to be submitted for the following school year. Even if your student is on a semester system, we still need to know what they will require for the second semester to ensure their request gets prioritized in the production queue. Where schools are reluctant to confirm class allocations or resources anticipated, PRCVI Outreach Coordinators are available to assist you to work with school administrators. Classroom teachers and administrators need to understand the importance of knowing what materials are needed early in order for your student to receive the alternate format learning resources they require to meet their learning objectives.
Our specialized equipment and resources for loan include:
- assessment materials
- braille writers
- beginning braille resources
- talking calculators
- science models
- tactile maps, globes, and diagrams
- mathematical aids and kits
- early learning materials and kits
All alternate format instructional resources and specialized equipment are listed in the PRCVI online catalogue. Ordering is restricted to the student’s teacher of students with visual impairments or their designate.
Our professional library includes books, kits, digital resources and journals pertaining to visual impairment, blindness, and deafblindness. This collection is available for loan to teachers in public and group I or II independent schools.
For more information on training in the Unified English Braille code for educational assistants/braillists please refer to the UEB Correspondence Course for Educational Assistants.
Our highly skilled team of Alternate Format Transcribers offer training programs on Braille Translation software and the production of tactile illustrations. They also offer ongoing support via email or telephone to individual transcribers and teachers in the province. The Outreach Coordinators are happy to offer suggestions on implementation and appropriate format choices available. Emails or phone calls to transcribers or coordinators are welcome any time and their contact info can be found on the PRCVI contact page.
PRCVI Outreach Coordinators are qualified Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments (TSVIs). Upon request, they provide a variety of support services to school districts, TSVIs, and district administrators.
These services include:
- Consultation support to district administrators, teachers of the visually impaired and other professionals who work directly with students who are blind or partially sighted, including students with additional disabilities (e.g. caseload analysis, caseload management, appropriate format selection and consultation around specific student needs).
- Assistance in the selection, administration and interpretation of assessment tools and inventories (e.g. functional vision assessment).
- Facilitate resource development and implementation of the expanded core curriculum areas and consultation in the selection and adaptation of student learning materials.
- Collaborate on the development and implementation of various student activity days.
- Provide leadership in research projects, best practice initiatives and the development of instructional resources (e.g. GPS Project, Provincial Vision Focus Group, Shared Vision multi-interest group).
- Present and coordinate professional development activities specific to best practices in the education of students with visual impairments.
- Review and approval of Certification of Eligibility for vision resources requests.
- Lead and coordinate the Accessible Resource Centre (ARC-BC).
For more information, please see the PRCVI Outreach Services page.