Visually Impaired Preschool Services (VIPS) opens doors to Simon & Estelle Knoble Family Resource Center

INDIANAPOLIS — Visually Impaired Preschool Services (VIPS) Indiana cut the ribbon today for the grand opening of the Simon & Estelle Knoble Family Resource Center near downtown Indianapolis, the first physical space in Indiana for children ages birth to 3 with visual impairments. The center will serve as a hub for parents to receive more resources and programming and allow for children to receive intervention onsite.  

“We have been dreaming of this day for years,” said Meredith Howell, regional director of VIPS Indiana. “Coming from our three-room office where resources were stacked on filing cabinets to this beautiful facility, it’s truly a dream come true. We’re grateful for the generous support of our donors, including Lilly Endowment Inc. and the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, who helped make it possible.”

VIPS Indiana is a nonprofit agency that provides critical early intervention services to young Hoosiers, birth to age 3, who are blind or visually impaired, and comprehensive support to their families. This new center will allow VIPS to provide the services these children need to engage in their world and succeed in life—and provide families with the assistance and encouragement they need and deserve.

Sensory room

The new center is the first in Indiana designed specifically for children with visual impairments and includes an in-house clinic for doctor appointments and cortical visual impairment therapy, making it just one of three facilities in the country to provide both services. Other amenities include a teletherapy room; a parent resource library including lightboxes, braille writers, braille board books, sensory toys, and vision-specific printed parent resources; and “Toddler Town,” which is specifically designed to meet the curiosity and educational needs of children with visual impairments. Expanded office space for VIPS employees will allow the organization to provide more programming to parents and providers.

“Although VIPS has been providing early intervention to Southern Indiana’s youngest children with vision loss since 1985, we were thrilled to expand our services to Bloomington in 2011 and then to the entire state when we located to Indianapolis in 2014,” explained Diane Nelson, VIPS executive director. “Today, our dreams have come true as we open the doors to our VIPS families and say, ‘Welcome home!’”

The VIPS Family Resource Center is located on the first floor of the Line Lofts, an affordable multifamily housing development designed to meet the needs of low-income seniors and adults with visual impairments. Coupled with VIPS’ Family Resource Center, this makes the building the only place in Indiana — and one of a few in the U.S. — to offer birth to elder services for individuals with visual impairments.