Services for Youth -- Frequently Asked Questions, Bureau of Services for Blind Persons, Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA)

Please note: The answers provided are not meant to be a substitute for legal advice. 

Q:  How old does my child have to be before receiving services from the Youth Low Vision Program? 

A:  Youth Low Vision Services from the Michigan Bureau of Services for Blind Persons are available to visually impaired and blind Michigan residents from birth to 26 years, as long as the child is enrolled as a student in the local school district. 


Q:  What is provided through the Youth Low Vision Program? 

A:  The program assists students with low-vision exams when not covered by insurance. The program also assists with the purchase of low-vision devices worn on the head, such as telescopic and microscopic glasses, complex contact lenses, light-filtering eyewear, prescription sports goggles, bifocals, and prismatic lenses not covered by insurance that will enhance the student's ability to read textbooks, see the board in the classroom, and generally improve the child's ability to participate in home, school and recreational activities. 


Q:  How do I enroll my student in the Youth Low Vision Program? 

A:  Referrals for services are initiated by your ISD (intermediate school district) Teacher Consultant for the Visually Impaired. Parents are required to sign an application for services and provide documentation of visual impairment.  


Q:  Where do I take my child for the exam needed for the Youth Low Vision Program documentation? 

A:   Any licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist who provides low-vision services can do the exam. 


Q:  How much of the costs are paid for by the Youth Low Vision Program? 

A:  Reasonable costs will be paid by the Youth Low Vision Program on head-borne devices as recommended by the optometrist or ophthalmologist. Limits may be imposed on the number of items and cost of items. It is expected that your vision insurance, if available, will be used to cover costs before Youth Low Vision Program funds are used. Assistance is limited to Youth Low Vision Program available funds. 


Q: How often can we take advantage of this program? 

A:  Youth Low Vision services are available every other school year, as long as needed, up to age 26 (age at the start of the school year).