Vision Impairment Programs for Kids and Families

Whether your child is getting ready to find a job, go to college, or somewhere in between, there are many programs available.

Government agencies and nonprofits may even be able to help offset the cost of these programs for the vision-impaired. You can reach out to your local Lion's Club for financial assistance.

At the Vision Enhancement Center, we've listed some transition programs and summer camps for kids with vision impairments and their families.

The Perkins School for the Blind offers tips for choosing the best programs for your child with visual impairments.

Transition Programs for Vision-Impaired Children

Summer Academy

June 17-July 26

Register Now

Summer Academy for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired is a three-week program for college-bound high school students.

Run by the Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services, the academy focuses on:

  • Daily living skills
  • Travel skills
  • Self-advocacy and networking skills
  • Career awareness
  • Social skills
  • Assistive technology skills
  • Low-vision rehab

Students of the program:

  • Live in dorms at Penn State University’s University Park campus.
  • Eat meals in the campus dining hall.
  • Enjoy other pursuits that reflect college life.

Summer Academy STEM Week

Students can learn about careers in the STEM fields through hands-on activities. STEM Week is at Penn State University directly following Summer Academy.

Junior Summer Academy

Junior Summer Academy is a five-day program held at Kutztown University for students in grades 6 through 8. The program focuses on:

  • Assistive technology
  • Orientation and mobility
  • Vision rehab therapy
  • Self-advocacy skills
  • Career exploration
  • Team-building skills

Junior Summer Academy is run by the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Services and the Bureau of Blindness and Vision Services (BBVS).

VEC Vision Camp

The Vision Enhancement Center (VEC) will partner with Camp Kon-O-Kwee/Spencer in Zelienople, Pennsylvania, to provide school-aged children ages 8 through 18 who are blind and visually impaired the opportunity to attend summer camp.

Campers will be able to participate in the following activities:

  • Swimming in the brand-new aquatic center
  • High and low ropes course
  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Archery
  • Arts and crafts
  • Canoeing
  • Rock climbing wall
  • Ziplining
  • Special activities run by the VEC

By sending your child to any of the programs listed here, they will have the opportunity to meet other children who are just like them.

The IDEAL (Individual Development Through Experience, Assessment, and Learning) Transition Program

Register Now

This summer residential program offers full days of classes and activities in group and one-on-one settings. Students may choose a college oriented or employment directed course of study.

The program takes place at the Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Chester, Pa.

Career and Community Adjustment Program

Transition programs from Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh include:

Employment and Technology Instruction
July 16-Aug 13

To register, contact Bonnie Rizzino at 412-368-4400 or brizzino@pghvis.org.

The Employment Opportunities Project pairs students with a successful adult mentor with vision impairment and offers:

  • Job readiness classes
  • On-the-job training
  • Job coaching
  • Follow-up services

Adjustment and Blindness Training
June 25-July 13

To register, contact Bonnie Rizzino at 412-368-4400 or brizzino@pghvis.org.

The Career and Community Adjustment Program is an individualized program with rehabilitation and work components.

It allows students to gain independent living skills and earn a paycheck while:

  • Exploring vocations.
  • Learning strategies for promoting wellness.
  • Enjoying recreational activities.

Summer Fun for Kids with Vision Impairment

Beacon Lodge

July 13-20

Registration forms and information can be found on the Beacon Lodge website.

Pennsylvania Lions Beacon Lodge Camp is a summer camp for children and adults with special needs.

The camp sits on over 500 acres in the woodlands of central Pa. and offers programs and activities in:

  • Music
  • Drama
  • Art
  • Nature
  • Games
  • Swimming
  • Boating
  • Fishing

VIP Sports Camp

July 14-19

Register Now

The VIP Sports Summer Camp at Slippery Rock University is for children with visual impairment, ages 5 to 18.

It gives kids the chance to take part in specially adapted sports and recreation, such as:

  • Archery
  • Biking
  • Goalball
  • Horseback riding
  • Ice hockey
  • Judo
  • Kayaking
  • Paddle boarding
  • Rock climbing
  • Soccer
  • Swimming
  • Track and field

Bell Academy

July 30-August 10

BELL (Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning) Academy is a summer program for kids, ages 4 to 12.

The program, from the National Federation of the Blind, teaches Braille through fun, hands-on learning including:

  • Crafts
  • Games
  • Other engaging projects

Camp Abilities PA

May 24-27

For more information, email campabilitiespa@gmail.com.

Camp Abilities PA @ West Chester University is an overnight camp for youth, ages 7-17, who are blind or have low vision.

The purpose of this educational sports camp is to:

  • Empower kids to be physically active.
  • Help them gain confidence and self-esteem through sport and physical activity.
  • Teach them to make food choices that support an active lifestyle.
  • Improve their overall health and wellness.

Braille Beats Fine Arts Program

First Session: July 7-13
Second Session: July 21-27

Register Now

The Braillebeats Fine Arts Program in Michigan is a summer residential program for kids, ages 9 through young adulthood.

It focuses on:

  • Music
  • Art
  • Movement
  • Independence skills

Need help choosing a program?

Find tips for choosing the best vision impairment programs for your child from the Perkins School for the Blind.