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

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

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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.

Community and Career Transition Day Programs

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

Community Transition Program

The goal of this training program is to develop, improve, and expand life-long learning opportunities for persons with physical or developmental disabilities. Consumers participate in personal care and social interaction instruction, arts and crafts, and assembly and sorting activities.

Employment Transition Services

This program provides persons with vision loss or other disabilities a supportive day program where they develop essential skills for everyday success in life and the workplace.

More Information

Both of these programs are licensed through the Pennsylvania Office of Developmental Programs. For details about these Day Programs, contact Karen Lucas at 412-368-4400 ext. 2220 or email at

Strive On - Student Transition Readiness into Vocation and Education

The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation’s Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services (BBVS) is pleased to offer STRIVE ON, Student Transition Readiness into Vocation and Education.

STRIVE ON is an opportunity to interact in a virtual environment with peers with visual impairments, create relationships, get to know yourself, and explore your capabilities in a fun and interactive setting.

The fall session features a virtual class, conducted once a week in the evenings for two hours over a twelve-week period. The session will be filled with exciting and engaging instruction and conversations designed to promote access and utilization of assistive technology, self-advocacy, and employability skills as it relates to students’ future post-secondary and employment goals.

  • Eligible students must be active customers of BBVS.
  • Program is available at no cost to eligible students currently enrolled in 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grade in the 2021-2022 school year.
  • Focus areas include assistive technology, self-advocacy, and employability.
  • Sessions will be held utilizing Microsoft Teams.
  • Students should have the ability to independently access and actively participate in the sessions each week.

Learn more about STRIVE ON.

If you have program questions or are interested in receiving information about STRIVE ON, please contact:

Karen Walsh-Emma, MS, CRC VR Specialist Supervisor, Bureau of Blindness & Visual Services
8 W. Market Street, Suite 200
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701
Phone: 570-704-9835


Your Local BBVS District Office Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor

Altoona: 866-695-7673

Erie: 866-521-5073

Harrisburg: 866-375-8264

Philadelphia: 866-631-3892

Pittsburgh: 866-412-4072

Wilkes-Barre: 866-227-4163

Vision and Blindness Resources Children’s Experience Program

Established in 1990, the Children's Experience Program at Vision and Blindness Resources (VBR) - Erie supplements the school curriculum by teaching visually impaired kids certain skills of daily living that sighted children may learn more routinely. The philosophy of the Children's Experience Program is clear: a blind child — like any other child — can become an independent adult. It just takes the right support. We provide that support by teaching visually impaired children to function independently in a sighted world through a well-rounded, professionally administered set of activities.

Program Highlights

There are 3 components to the Children's Experience Program:

  • After School Enrichment includes instruction in personal care, safety, mobility, physical fitness, fine motor coordination, Braille, and adaptive computer training.
  • Summer Experience Program provides activities that broaden kids' exposure to their community, foster independence and enhance self-esteem. Past activities include visits to the Living Treasures Zoo, fishing with the Sons of Lake Erie, a kite flying picnic at Presque Isle, craft activities, and a ride aboard the Titusville/Oilcreek Railroad.
  • Summer Camp at WLD Ranch offers activities and peer relationships which complete and complement the overall mission of the Program.

Costs and Eligibility

The Children’s Experience Program is offered free of charge to qualified blind or severely visually impaired children between the ages of 5 and 21.

The program runs after school on certain days of the week, early dismissal days, and vacation days. Fully qualified professional and para-professional staff implement and monitor the program on a one-to-one basis with each child and tailor all activities individually.

For more information email or call 814-455-0995.

Keystone Kids Program

The Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in conjunction with the Keystone Blind Association (KBA) is a partner in the Keystone Kids Program for blind children.

Keystone Kids is a community-based instruction program, specifically designed for young people, ages 8 through 21, with vision impairment. The program gives participants opportunity to develop skills for independence and self-sufficiency. The impact of this type of skill development manifests itself in the years ahead as students transition into college or the workplace.

Many of the blind and visually impaired children in our community attend large public schools. More often than not, a child might be the only blind or visually impaired student in the school. Keystone Kids gives these special students a chance to meet and socialize with other boys and girls who understand the challenges of living with vision loss. Keystone Kids offers Saturday/weekend activities throughout the year.

In the summer of 2010, the Keystone Kids traveled to Disney World for a week-long, behind- the- scenes look at the world’s largest theme park. The group participated in the Youth Education Series (YES) at Disney that was specially adapted to accommodate students with blindness and visual impairments. The trip was an exciting one, filled with learning, exploration, and the magic of Disney! Program leaders are planning to sponsor trips to other exciting destinations in the future!

For more information about CBVI’s Keystone Kids Program please call 610-874-1476 ext.161 or email

Summer Fun for Kids with Vision Impairment

Beacon Lodge

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 features an Adult Camp area and a Children’s Village.

Each summer they hold an 8-day program specifically for visually impaired (VI) children. This program is geared for individuals that are legally blind with best correction, totally blind, have Macular Degeneration, Retinitis Pigmentosa, Glaucoma, etc.

The program promotes independence; therefore, campers must possess the ability to work well, socialize with, and interact in peer group situations. They must have the ability to self bathe, dress, feed, and follow directions, camp rule, and policies. Our VI sessions operate on a 1:8 counselor to camper ratio.

The Adult Camp consists of 9 buildings which can accommodate up to 120 people including staff. It has a Main Lodge with lodging, kitchen, and dining facilities, an Infirmary, an Arts & Crafts building, a Canteen, Camper Housing units, laundry facilities, a large gazebo, outdoor swings, seating, and a stone fire ring. The Children’s Village consists of 16 building which can accommodate 73 people including staff. The main building houses the kitchen and dining facilities, the Unit Director's apartment, laundry facilities, and children's lounge. It also has an Infirmary, an Activities building, an Arts & Crafts and Nature Center, and 12 Cabins. The grounds include several activity areas including Governors Green, Outdoor Bowling Alleys, Swimming Pool, Hodges Hand Car Railroad, a Pond, an Overnight Shelter, A-frames Primitive Camping, Climbing Tower, and Zip Line.

For more information please call 814-542-2511 or e-mail

ENVISION Summer Sports Camps and Seasonal Day Clinics

ENVISION offers over 25 different sports each summer. It is their goal to continually find new sports to add to the program and expand the opportunities for children who are blind or visually impaired.

Day clinics are offered throughout the year so the children can reconnect with friends that they met at camp as well as give them additional opportunities to be physically active.

Sports Offered:

  • Archery
  • Basketball
  • Beep Baseball
  • Beep Kickball
  • Bowling
  • Canoe
  • Dance
  • Drums Alive
  • Floor Hockey
  • Goalball
  • Golf
  • High Ropes Course
  • Horseback Riding
  • Ice Hockey
  • Ice Skating
  • Judo
  • Kayak
  • Long Boarding
  • Rock Climbing
  • Rowing
  • Soccer
  • Stand Up Paddle Boarding
  • Swimming
  • Tandem Biking
  • Tennis
  • Track and Field
  • Trampoline Park
  • Wresting
For more information contact 724-967-4712 or


NFB BELL Academy

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning (BELL) Academy provides children ages 4-12 with Braille and nonvisual skills instruction through fun, hands-on learning activities. The NFB BELL Academy prepares blind and low-vision children to grow into confident and independent blind people who live the lives they want.

Activities are provided in a day program or residential setting, depending on location. In addition to Braille crafts, games, and other engaging projects, children learn vital independent living skills, interact with blind adult mentors, and enjoy field trips to sites related to the NFB BELL Academy curriculum. Through these activities and interactions, the children learn that blindness or low vision does not define them or their future.

NFB BELL Academy typically runs Monday through Friday for six hours each day for two weeks.

For more information, please contact us at

Camp Abilities PA at West Chester University

Camp Abilities PA at West Chester University is an educational sports camp for youth, ages 7-17, who are blind or have low vision. The purpose of the camp is to empower children to be physically active, improve their overall health and wellness, encourage them to make food choices that support an active lifestyle, and develop their confidence and self-esteem through sport and physical activity. Athletes receive one-on-one instruction during all physical activities and events. Camp Abilities PA is an overnight camp experience that introduces children to a variety of sports, including 5-a-side soccer, cross-country and track running, field events, tandem biking, and swimming, and provides opportunities to participate in goalball, football, golf, lacrosse, frisbee, and beep baseball.

Please contact for more information.

Lions Bear Lake Summer Camp (Michigan)

The Lions Bear Lake Summer Camp in Lapeer, Michigan, is a summer residential program for kids age 5-15. Their mission is to develop leadership skills, build confidence, and provide a premier outdoor educational and recreational experience year-round to all persons, regardless of ability. The Camp offers two sessions per summer for visually impaired campers. The 2022 sessions for kids who are visually impaired are:

Session 1: July 10-16, 2022

Session 2: July 24-30, 2022

Camp activities include:

  • Trail Hikes
  • Low Ropes
  • Climbing Tower & Zip Line
  • Team Building
  • Games
  • Group Bonding
  • Bonfires
  • Swimming
  • Camp Food
  • Songs
  • Crafts

For more information, please contact or 810-245-0726.

Need help choosing a program?

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