by Kathleen Zeider, President/CEO, Success Beyond Sight
To address foundational issues in the blindness field, nonprofit organization Success Beyond Sight (SBS) was launched in 2020 by ACVREP (the Academy for Certification of Vision and Education Professionals), the organization that establishes quality standards and certifies the professionals providing services to individuals who are blind or have low vision. Some issues addressed by SBS are the shortage of highly qualified professionals, insufficient service funding to meet the needs of the aging population with vision loss, and the need for evidence-based practice outcomes. The SBS mission is to empower individuals who are blind or have low vision to advance professionally and fully engage in community life by eliminating barriers to their equal opportunity for success.
The organization achieves its goals through four areas of focus:
Raise the Bar: Educate key decision makers about the critical need to ensure high service delivery standards. SBS serves as part of the National Policy Collaborative led by VisionServe Alliance and is partnering in the National Coalition on Aging and Vision Loss, which includes organizations from both the vision and aging fields.
Team Up! Collaborate and partner with other organizations to overcome foundational barriers so that individuals who are blind or low vision are fully included in community and professional life. SBS’ initial project was the creation of the National Registry for Teachers of Students with Visual Impairment (NRTSVIs), collaborating with university personnel preparation program leaders, to facilitate communication with TSVIs nationally. In its first year more than 600 TSVIs registered.
Build Capacity: Engage high school and college students to raise awareness of the profession of providing services to those with vision loss and the variety of specialties available in this field. SBS is positioned to take a leadership role in the recruitment of professionals to enter the vision loss field and is developing strategies and funding for these projects.
Elevate: Make access to affordable continuing education easier and create evidence-based practice guidelines for professionals. In the near future, SBS, collaborating with the American Council of the Blind (ACB), will host ACB’s assessment-based training program for Audio Describers on its education platform.
To find out more, visit the website for Success Beyond Sight.