People with Blindness or Low Vision Outreach Guide

Ask a Question / Leave a Comment 1 person likes this Community Agencies, News, Outreach Guides, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors


Approximately half (50.9%) of people who are blind or have low vision (BL/V) in the U.S. are not in the labor force, according to recent research. This number greatly exceeds the 21.3% rate of people with all types of disabilities and 18.1% rate for people without disabilities.

Research also shows that people with BL/V who reported being unable to work were also more likely to have low income, more chronic health conditions, days with poor physical health, and functional disabilities than all other groups. (Crudden et al., 2023)

These statistics emphasize the need for vocational rehabilitation professionals to renew their efforts to engage effectively with people with BL/V, employers who may have questions about hiring a person with BL/V, and community service providers who provide support services. But first, let’s look at some common misperceptions about blindness.

Misperceptions About Blindness

Employers and service providers’ misperceptions about blindness may contribute to the low employment rates and quality of life challenges reported by many people with BL/V. The National Technical Assistance Center on Blindness and Low Vision (NRTC) at Mississippi State University compiled a list of common misperceptions about blindness and what a person with blindness can and cannot do. Here are a few:

Misperception: People who are blind or visually impaired cannot work or hold a job.

Reality: With the proper training and accommodations, people who are blind or visually impaired work competitively in a wide range

of occupations. You can find examples to share on the NRTC website:

Misperception: Most people who are blind are proficient in braille and own a dog guide.

Reality: Braille is a beneficial skill, but only a small percentage of people who are blind or visually impaired are fluent in braille.

Many people know enough braille for practical use, such as reading notes and labels. Most people who learn braille as adults do not develop the skill to read braille rapidly.

Only a small percentage of blind or visually impaired people use a dog guide. Dog guides are valuable tools and companions for those who use them. Dog guides lead the person safely through crowds, across streets, and around obstructions, but the person who is blind does control the dog. When the dog guide is harnessed, it is on duty, and one should not pet, talk to, or otherwise distract it.

Misperception: People who are blind or visually impaired cannot access print or handwritten materials.

Reality: The advent of computers and technology has made most print accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired,

even some handwritten print. Computer software can translate print into speech, magnify screen images, and enlarge text to a readable size. Occasionally human readers may assist with text that is not recognizable by a computer.

(Source: Orientation Packet for New VR Professionals Working with Individuals who are Blind or Visually Impaired  - NRTC)

Outreach to People with Blindness or Low Vision

Engaging with and providing individualized services is necessary to address the unique experiences and needs of people with blindness or low vision. Here are a variety of resources to get you started.

On-Demand Training

Resources for VR

More Resources

Quickly access popular national programs and services useful to your consumer.

Have a suggestion? Leave us a comment.

Leave a Comment