Blind Task Force (BTF)

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Three image box - First image is of braille, second is a braille reader device, third image is student with teacher learning about a braille device

Overview

According to Article 3 of the BTF Bylaws, a task force on blind student academic and vocational performance is hereby established and shall be comprised of members appointed by the commissioner of education, in cooperation with the director of the department of social services, to represent consumer organizations, parents, teachers, public school special education administrators, school building principals, rehabilitation services for the blind, the Missouri school for the blind, employers, and others interested in quality services for blind students. This task force shall develop goals and objectives to guide the improvement of special education, related services, vocational training, transition from school to work, rehabilitation services, independent living and employment outcomes for eligible students.

Purpose

The purpose of the Blind Task Force is to actively develop and achieve goals that guide the improvement of special education students with visual impairments.

 

Summary of House Bill

Requires an annual report from DESE to the State Legislature about the literacy of blind and visually impaired children; requires DESE and Rehabilitation Services for the Blind to develop a joint referral system; creates the Blindness Skills Specialist Fund; requires school districts to give preference in purchasing textbook materials to textbook vendors that make materials available in Braille, or an electronic format approved by DESE; requires that every infant born in MO shall be screened for hearing loss, and establishes the Newborn Hearing Screening Advisory Committee; requires that health insurance companies provide coverage for the Newborn Hearing Screening, Rescreening, Audiological Assessment, and Follow up, and Initial Amplification.

  • 162.1130 Definitions
  • 162.1133 Blindness Skills Specialist available at each regional professional development center, duties - task force established
  • 162.1136 Annual study conducted, educational status of eligible students report to the general assembly, contents.
  • 162.1139 Joint referral service developed, rehabilitation services
  • 162.1142 Blindness skills specialist fund created
Bylaws

Bylaws [pdf]  [word]  [rtf]

Important to Note The Blind Task Force shall meet at least quarterly. Currently, members meet on Tuesdays during the first full week of February, May, August, and November. Chairperson determines if the meeting will be held virtually or in-person. All meetings of the Blind Task Force shall be open to the public except as provided in Chapter 610 RSMo.

Membership
Meetings/Calendar of Events
Blindness Skills Specialist Program

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has contracted for​ three Blindness Skills Specialists. Specialists will consult with public schools in the identification and service planning for students who are blind. See House Bill Summary Chapter 162.1133.

MSB Outreach Services/Blind Skills Specialists Service Delivery Areas
2019 Overview of Blindness Skills Specialist (BSS) and Vision Supervisor (Outreach MSB): Reporting Period July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019

Outreach Services Staff MO Deafblind Technical Assistance Project

Missouri School for the Blind - Outreach Services
Jane C. Herder
Phone: 314-633-1582
Email: Jane.Herder@msb.dese.mo.gov
Website: https://msb.dese.mo.gov/

Truman State University - Northeast RPDC
Jessica Hall, Blindness Skills Specialist
100 East Normal Avenue
Kirksville, Missouri 63501
Phone: 573-289-9441
Email: jhall@truman.edu
Website: https://rpdc.truman.edu/programs/blind-skills/

Missouri State University - PCOB 1207 - Southwest RPDC
DJ Butcher, Blindness Skills Specialist
901 S. National Ave.
Springfield, Missouri 65897
Phone: 417-836-8872
Fax: 417-836-5997
Email: butcher2@missouristate.edu
Website: https://education.missouristate.edu/bss/

Missouri State University - PCOB 207 - Southwest RPDC
Anthony Blades, Blindness Skills Specialist
Missouri State University - PCOB 207
901 S. National Ave.
Springfield, Missouri 65897
Phone: 417-836-8872
Fax: 417-836-5997
Email: janthonyblades@missouristate.edu
Website: https://www.missouristate.edu/

Related Resources
Additional Resource Sites