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Florida Rehabilitation Council Quarterly Meeting

The Division of Blind Services Florida Rehabilitation Council Quarterly Meeting and Public Forum is scheduled for July 27-28 in Orlando.

Meeting Locations

  • July 27 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. – The Florida Hotel & Conference Center (1500 Sand Lake Road, Orlando, Florida  32809)
  • July 28 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. – The Florida Hotel & Conference Center (1500 Sand Lake Road, Orlando, Florida  32809)

Public Forum to which all interested individuals are invited

  • July 27 from 5 to 6 p.m. – The Florida Hotel & Conference Center

If you plan to attend the meeting, sign in cards will be available outside the entrance to the meeting room for anyone wishing to speak. To participate by telephone, dial 1-888-670-3525 (Passcode 1242528392#)

The Florida Division of Blind Services helps individuals with visual impairments achieve employment and independence under Title 1 of the Rehabilitation Act. 

For more information, contact Selena.Sickler@dbs.fldoe.org.

Florida Department of Education Recognizes 75 Recipients for the DBS ‘Successful 75’ Award

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., May 30, 2017 – Today, the Department of Education’s Division of Blind Services (DBS) announced all 75 recipients of the “Successful 75” Award. Over the last year, DBS celebrated its 75th Anniversary with a series of informative, family-friendly events throughout Florida. At each event, local individuals, organizations and businesses were recognized for their outstanding contributions to the blind and visually impaired community.

“It is with great pleasure that I congratulate and thank these individuals for the difference they are making in our blind and visually impaired communities,” said Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart. “We have come a long way in just 75 years, thanks in large part to the individuals, organizations and businesses who have supported our efforts to continue opening doors for blind and visually impaired Floridians. We remain committed to increasing accessibility, and I hope that these recipients will serve as an inspiration for more Floridians to get involved.”

"We are pleased to recognize these dedicated individuals as members of the Division of Blind Services' Successful 75," said DBS Director Robert L. Doyle. "The recipients have worked tirelessly to make a difference in their communities through outreach, advocacy, hiring practices and via their individual commitments to achieve self-sufficiency. Through these efforts, Florida continues to strive to become a barrier-free environment for residents with visual disabilities."

To view the winners in each category, please visit:

Florida Division of Blind Services Wraps Up Year-long 75th Anniversary Celebration with Expo in Pensacola

PENSACOLA, Fla., May 10, 2017 – Today, the Department of Education’s Division of Blind Services (DBS) commemorated its commitment to fostering independence for individuals who are blind and visually impaired during its final 75th Anniversary Regional Ceremony and Expo in Pensacola.

DBS Pensacola 2: Rep. Frank White (L) with Division of Blind Services Director Robert L. Doyle, III, during the DBS 75th Anniversary Ceremony in Pensacola.

“Since 1941, DBS has made vast strides in attacking the barriers that have hindered persons with visual disabilities from fully participating in our society and our workforce,” DBS Director Robert L. Doyle, III, said. “This year, we provided services to 562 individuals in Escambia and nearby counties, which included 317 jobseekers who were preparing for or looking to retain employment. As we look to the future, we continue to charge toward our goal of Florida being a barrier-free environment for residents with visual disabilities.”

Through DBS, blind and visually impaired Floridians have access to many educational, vocational, medical, social and recreational services beginning at birth. In addition to helping younger clients learn to navigate the many aspects of life that may be more difficult for persons with visual impairments, the agency works with adults to attain independent living solutions and career and vocational education skills so they can accomplish their life goals.

The 75th Anniversary Regional Ceremony and Expo featured informational sessions, networking opportunities, a community and technology showcase and inspirational testimonials from former DBS clients.

Pamela Wirick, who was born with only 10 percent of her vision due to macular degeneration, shared her story with the audience during the ceremony.

“I am very grateful for the Division of Blind Services and its resources that came to my rescue,” said Wirick, a child care resource and referral specialist for the Early Learning Coalition. “I am meeting goals and completing tasks that I never thought I could do. Thank you to the DBS staff who go beyond their job expectations to assist, teach, support and listen.”

As part of the celebration, DBS inducted new members into the "Successful 75," an award program that recognizes individuals, organizations and businesses who have remained steadfast in the advancement of independence for persons who are blind and visually impaired. 

For more information about the Division of Blind Services and its programs, visit dbs.fldoe.org

Division of Blind Services Policy Discussion with the Florida Rehabilitation Council for the Blind

June 13 from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Telephone Number:          1-888-809-7262
Participant Passcode:        246-528-68#

A copy of the agenda may be obtained by contacting Selena Sickler at the Division of Blind Services, 325 West Gaines Street., Room 1114, Turlington Building, Tallahassee, FL  32399, 850-245-0329, Selena.Sickler@dbs.fldoe.org

For a list of current DBS policies, please go to the DBS website by using the link DBS Policies.

DBS Celebrates 75th Anniversary with Regional Ceremony and Expo in Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla., February 24, 2017 – Today, the Department of Education’s Division of Blind Services (DBS) commemorated its commitment to fostering independence for individuals who are blind and visually impaired during its 75th Anniversary Regional Ceremony and Expo in Orlando. 

“Since 1941, DBS has made vast strides in attacking the barriers that have hindered persons with visual disabilities from fully participating in our society and our workforce,” DBS Director Robert L. Doyle, III, said. “This year, we provided services to 3,011 individuals in the Central Florida area, which included 1,323 jobseekers who were preparing for or looking to retain employment. As we look to the future, we continue to charge toward our goal of Florida being a barrier-free environment for residents with visual disabilities.”

Jeff Whitehead, DBS district administrator; Dwight Sayer,

Through DBS, blind and visually impaired Floridians have access to many educational, vocational, medical, social and recreational services beginning at birth. In addition to helping younger clients learn to navigate the many aspects of life that may be more difficult for persons with visual impairments, the agency works with adults to attain independent living solutions and career and vocational education skills so they can accomplish their life goals.

The 75th Anniversary Regional Ceremony and Expo, which took place at the Ronald Blocker Educational Leadership Center, featured informational sessions, networking opportunities, a community and technology showcase and inspirational testimonials from former DBS clients.

Dwight D. Sayer, who currently serves as the president of the National Association of Blind Veterans, shared his story with the crowd of more than 100. He was honorably/medically discharged from the Air Force in 1969 due to blindness.

“Loss of sight is just an event,” said the Rochester, N.Y. native. “A lot depends on your attitude. There are no barriers you can’t get beyond. It takes time and persistence. The more you invest in yourself, the better you will be.”

For former DBS client Wanda Walerius, the biggest transition for her was the overwhelming feeling of being rejected by society. “After many months of counseling before and during visual rehabilitation, I learned that I am still the person I always was -- just functioning a little differently,” said Walerius, who has found gainful employment at Walt Disney World. “My low vision does not define me, but rather shows  the world that I do have something to contribute.”

As part of the celebration, DBS inducted nine new members into the "Successful 75," an award program that recognizes individuals, organizations and businesses who have remained steadfast in the advancement of independence for persons who are blind and visually impaired. 

Department of Education Celebrates Braille Literacy Month at Tallahassee Elementary School

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., January 18, 2017 – In honor of National Braille Literacy Month, staff from the Florida Department of Education’s (FDOE) Division of Blind Services (DBS) read the braille version of “Three Little Pigs” to 60 Pre-K students at J. Michael Conley Elementary School in Tallahassee.

Walter Blackmon of the Florida Division of Blind Services reads 'The Three Little Pigs' in braille to the several pre-k students at Conley Elementary for Braille Literacy Month.

Following the reading, students learned about the varying levels of blindness, as they participated in activities using vision simulators. The students were later presented with copies of their names written in braille and the braille alphabet.