CHAPTER 18. EDUCATION.
ARTICLE 10J. BLIND PERSONS' LITERACY RIGHTS AND EDUCATION ACT.
§18-10J-1. Short title.
This article may be cited as the "Blind Persons" Literacy
Rights and Education Act."
The following words used in this article shall be construed as
(a) "Blind or visually impaired child" means an individual who
is eligible for special education services and who:
(1) Has a visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye
with correcting lenses or has a limited field of vision such that
the widest diameter subtends an angular distance of no greater than
twenty degrees; or
(2) Has a medically indicated expectation of visual
(b) "Braille" means the system of reading and writing through
touch commonly known as standard English braille.
(c) "Individualized education program" and "IEP team" have the
meanings provided in Section 614(d) of the Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. Section 1414(d)).
(d) "Textbooks and other instructional materials" means any
literary or nonliterary works obtained for use in a course of
§18-10J-3. Individualized education program.
In developing the individualized education program for a child
who is blind or visually impaired, the individualized education
program team shall provide for the child to receive instruction in
braille and the use of braille unless the individualized education
program team determines, after an evaluation of the child's reading
and writing skills, needs, and appropriate reading and writing
media (including an evaluation of the child's future needs for
instruction in braille or the use of braille), that the instruction
or use is not appropriate for the child. Nothing in this section
requires the exclusive use of braille if other special education
services are appropriate to the child's educational needs. The
provision of other appropriate services shall not preclude braille
use or instruction.
§18-10J-4. Standards of competency and instruction.
Instruction in braille reading and writing shall be provided
with the goal of enabling each blind or visually impaired child to
communicate effectively and efficiently with the same level of
proficiency expected of the child's peers of comparable ability and
grade level. The child's individualized education program shall
(a) The results obtained from the evaluations required under
section three of this article;
(b) How braille will be implemented as the primary mode for
learning through integration with other classroom activities;
(c) The date on which braille instruction will commence;
(d) The length of the period of instruction and the frequency
and duration of each instructional session;
(e) The level of competency in braille reading and writing to
be achieved by the end of the period and the objective assessment
measures to be used; and
(f) If a decision has been made under section two of this
article, that braille instruction or use is not required for the
(1) Documentation that the decision was reached after a review
of pertinent literature describing the educational benefits of
braille instruction and use; and
(2) A specification of the evidence used to determine that the
child's ability to read and write effectively without braille instruction is not impaired.
§18-10J-5. Instructional materials.
All publishers of textbooks or other instructional materials
sold to the state or any local education agency (including
post-secondary institutions) shall furnish computer diskettes for
literary subjects in the American standard code for information
interchange from which braille versions can be produced. Further,
the publishers shall furnish computer diskettes in American
standard code for information interchange for nonliterary subjects,
including natural sciences, computer science, mathematics and
music, when braille specialty code translation software is
§18-10J-6. Teacher certification and training.
As part of the professional certification process, teachers
seeking to become certified in the education of blind and visually
impaired children shall demonstrate competence in reading and
writing braille. Before issuing a professional certificate to
teach the blind and visually impaired, the West Virginia department
of education shall require that the applicant demonstrate, based
upon standards adopted by the national library service for the
blind and physically handicapped, library of congress, Washington,
D.C., that he or she is proficient in reading and writing braille.
This requirement becomes effective the first day of July, two
thousand. Teachers already certified in the education of blind and
visually impaired children are not required to demonstrate that
proficiency in order to retain their certification. Further, the
West Virginia department of education shall, on a schedule of at
least once every three years, make available to all teachers of
blind and visually impaired children a continuing education class
in reading or writing braille or a college credit course in reading
and writing braille, or both. In order to achieve successful
completion of a course, a teacher shall demonstrate proficiency in
reading and writing braille at a level commensurate with the
standards adopted by the national library service for the blind and
physically handicapped, library of congress.