West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services
Backstory and Context
The West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services was founded in 1921. Its establishment was put in place after the passing of the Smith-Fess Act by Congress in 1920. It was placed as a part of the Department of Education under the title West Virginia Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. It was given its present title in 1987. In 1994 it was moved to the Department of Education and the Arts, with another transfer in 2018 to the Department of Commerce.
The offices of the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services are spread throughout six districts. Within these six districts, 31 offices are organized. The counselors of these offices preside over select counties depending on what impairment they see their clients with.
The West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services’ main mission is to help impaired individuals gain employment. This mission is achieved through their offered services. These services include driving training for visually impaired individuals, mobility and brail training, and technology assistance.
A highlight of the Division of Rehabilitation Services’ programs is bioptic driving. Bioptic driving is an educational driving program that provides driving skills for visually impaired individuals. This is done with the help of bioptic telescopes. The bioptic telescope is planted within prescription glasses or mounted onto them. With this device, the driver can obtain distant information such as street lights and signs. The finer details of this program vary within each state. West Virginia, for example, requires its bioptic drivers to take a more sophisticated drivers’ exam than that of abled drivers.
2. DRS Offices. West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation services. . Accessed January 26, 2019. https://wvdrs.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.displaystory&groupID=88&itemid=26.
3. Photo of Charleston District Building. West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services. Accessed January 27, 2019. https://wvdrs.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.displaystory&groupID=87&itemid=22.
4. Photo of Vehicle Modification. West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services. Accessed January 28, 2019. https://wvdrs.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.displaystory&groupID=84&itemid=71.