The National Center for Blind Youth in Science (NCBYS) web portal is designed to provide educators, parents and students (who are themselves blind or otherwise visually impaired) the tools and knowledge they need to overcome barriers related to accessing science curriculum and labs. Created by the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, the goals of the NCBYS are comprised of the following items:
- Establish a center of excellence for resources and information about how blind youth can best learn and understand scientific and mathematical concepts.
- Promote opportunities for blind youth in science through demonstration projects, partnerships, and public education.
- Provide technical support to projects working to improve materials and instruction for blind youth in science and math.
- Provide a national mentoring program built on the foundations established by the blind professionals of the NFB Science and Engineering Division.
- Centralize research previously completed in this area and coordinate ongoing research efforts.
According to the developers, this "clearinghouse model presents the best opportunity for sparking innovation and increasing the participation of individuals who are blind, or who have low vision, in STEM fields." The developers further state that, "by providing an all-inclusive STEM resource relating to students who are blind, or who have visual impairments, barriers will be eroded leading to increased participation and pursuit of STEM studies and careers by students who are blind or who have visual impairments. The sharing of knowledge among teachers, parents, and students will cut down on the amount of duplication of effort that now takes place by teachers, parents, and students trying to find accessible means to study STEM subjects."
Funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation's Research in Disabilities Education (RDE) program, the NCBYS is a promising practice for creating a central repository of information related to science for students who are blind or otherwise visually impaired. The NCBYS promotes the exchange of knowledge among teachers, parents, and students, in addition to strategies and resources for fully including students who are visually impaired in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.