The West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services has been in place since 1921. Displayed is their office in Nitro, with 30 other offices spread across the state of West Virginia. Providing services to physically and mentally impaired individuals, DRS strives to establish stability within these individuals, and help them live independently. The Division of Rehabilitation provides services like brail education, and observation and mobility training for the blind.
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
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.