Sightseeing. A periodic tour of CVI news, views and events.

CVI Starts Pilot Program for Young Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Image of CVI teacher working with preschooler

On October 1st, CVI launched a full day, five-day-a-week Toddler Class for young children as an addition to the services provided through the BEGIN Program. This class has been specifically designed through a private-public partnership with the Georgia Department of Education Division of State Schools and the Georgia Parent Infant Network for Education Services (Georgia PINES). This is a first-of-its-kind instructional setting in the state, putting CVI at the forefront of meeting the unique learning needs for children and families who are impacted by vision loss.

Early learning is vital to the success of all young children, assisting them with developing social, emotional, physical, and cognitive skills. The ultimate goal in offering a specialized educational setting for young children with a visual impairment is to prepare them to transition to Kindergarten, while using the same early instructional standards found in traditional early learning programs.

CVI teacher working with preschoolers on assistive technology

The BEGIN-PINES Toddler Class has been developed to meet the specific learning needs of young children who have a medically diagnosed visual impairment. The specialized instruction and support from highly certified staff allows for experiential learning that is not available anywhere else. The instruction provided to students on a daily basis helps to begin to equip and empower them to be successful throughout their lives.

“There are not enough words to describe how truly proud we are to be able to offer this pilot class to young children and their families. Early intervention for children with vision loss is extremely important, as vision is the primary sense used for learning,” said Stephanie Pizza, director of children and youth services. “When that sense is severely distorted or absent, we must implement best-practice strategies and individualized accommodations to meet the unique learning needs of each and every student we are fortunate to work with. The earlier, the better. The Center for the Visually Impaired is beyond grateful for the collaboration and dedication of our partners at the Georgia Department of Education Division of State Schools and Georgia PINES to make this opportunity happen.”

CVI teacher walking across the street with preschoolers using canes and walkers

Currently, the class has five students enrolled. We anxiously anticipate increasing the number of students in the near future. Additionally, this Program offers guidance, support, and essential tools to the families in order to help them be their child’s best advocate outside of the classroom. Offering comprehensive services to young children and their families supports the creation of a strong educational foundation – which will have an overall positive impact on quality of life.

To learn more about CVI and the services we provide, visit cviga.org/services.