Image of the first words of the act creating the school along with early pics of buildings




Historical Perspective

1856   The Institute for the Blind was established on August 16th, by the Texas legislature. The first classes met at the residence of Mr. Washington Hill (now the Neill-Cochran Museum). The building was leased to the state for $900.00 a year and the first pupil arrived December 29, 1856.

1857   The school moved to its own location at the corner of Martin Luther King and Red River. The building, which has undergone various transformations, is now the administration building for the Center for American History on UT’s campus. The school remained at this location until 1917.

1865   The school closed briefly because of political turmoil. After the Civil War, Custer occupied the school until the fall of 1866 when the school reopened. This was the only interruption of service in the school’s 150-year history.

1887   The Deaf, Dumb, and Blind Institute for Colored Youth was established on 100 acres on Bull Creek Road in Austin. In 1943 it would be combined with the State Colored Orphan’s Home and renamed the Texas Blind, Deaf and Orphan School. This school moved to 601 Airport Boulevard, the site of the old Montopolis Theater.

1915   The school was renamed to Texas School for the Blind.

1917   The main school moved to its present 45-acre campus on West 45th Street in Austin.

1965   The blind students and some of the teachers at the Texas Blind, Deaf and Orphan School were integrated into the Texas School for the Blind or Texas School for the Deaf.

1972   A special program for deaf-blind children was initiated in response to the needs of children affected by rubella syndrome. The program began at a separate campus, formerly the Confederate Widows' Mansion, on West 38th in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Austin. The first students arrived on September 5th. The campus, then called the Deaf-Blind Annex, moved to the main campus 10 years later.

1975   The Texas Legislature enacted H.B. 1673 adding statewide responsibilities to the school's enabling statutes and mission. Governance of the school was transferred from the Texas Education Agency to a subcommittee of the Texas State Board of Education.

          U.S. Congress enacted the Education of All Handicapped Children Act (now called IDEA), significantly impacting the provision of special education services to children, guaranteeing a free, appropriate public education to all handicapped children in the least restrictive environment. One effect on the school was an increase in the number of children with multiple disabilities requesting the services of the school.

1981   The governance of the school was transferred to a separate nine-member school board whose members are appointed by the governor with the consent of the senate. Three members represent visually impaired persons, three represent parents of visually impaired children, and three are employed in the field of education of the visually impaired.


1982   The Deafblind program moved onto the main campus of the school.

1989   The school was given its current name, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) in order to reflect more accurately the population it serves.

1990   TSBVI consolidated and expanded its Outreach services into a separate division.

1994   Summer school programs were expanded to include multiple sessions with varying focuses and durations in response to needs expressed by the parents and educators of visually impaired children in public schools.

2000   TSBVI initiated a series of new short-term programs during the regular school year. Students who attend their local public school come to TSBVI for weeklong and weekend programs to acquire independent living skills and using technology.

2002   A post-secondary program for graduates of public schools was initiated in collaboration with the Texas Commission for the Blind. The program focuses on preparation for independent living, work, and higher education.

2006    TSBVI Sesquicentennial – the school celebrates 150 years of service to Texas children.