South Sarasota County Council of the Blind

Don't Let Your Life Stop 

Because You Have Lost Your Vision

We are here to help you live a full active, productive life regardless of how much vision you have lost.

Welcome to the South Sarasota County

Council of the Blind



The South Sarasota County Council regrets to announced that due to declining membership and the lack of volunteers able to serve as officer, the SSCCB has dissolved as of December 31, 2020.  

Please contact the Florida Council of the Blind website for information on services for blind and low vision residents of Florida.

This website will remain open until December, 2021.

You may still contact Tom Hanson, former President of the SSCCB, at 941-218-9090 for questions or local information.

Who We Are and What We Do

The SSCCB is a group of people just like you.  We understand what you're going through because we've been there.  Whether you are a person who has suffered or is currently suffering a vision loss, whether you are totally blind, legally blind, or low vision, or whether you are a friend or a relative or a caregiver of someone with a vision loss, you will find friends in this group who know exactly what you are facing now.

We've been around since 1982 and we have seen many improvements in the treatment of eye conditions, technology, and accessibility for persons with vision loss.  But the most important aspect of losing your vision is fear of the unknown, and we're here to help you realize that losing your sight doesn't mean losing your independence, it just means you might have to learn new ways of doing things, and we have lots of experience doing just that!                                                                   

How We Can Help

We can offer assistance in the following areas

  • Information and referral to agencies providing training and education.  Having trouble crossing the street because you can't see the traffic signal very well?  Can't make out the letters on the computer screen?  We can refer you to agencies that can provide mobility training or demonstrate various screen reading devices to help you live your life more easily.
  • Social opportunities to meet other visually impaired area residents.  Monthly lunches at local restaurants, picnic, holiday parties and special events are fun opportunities to meet people and share stories, tips and suggestions about living with vision loss.
  • Monthly meetings with guest speakers on topics of interest.  Do you like to vote in every election but you also like to keep your choices private?  Did you know that every precinct has a voting machine that lets you vote by yourself, in private, using headphones?  Learn about accessible voting machines, how to apply for SCAT door-to-door transit and private transportation services, perform CPR, and hear about the latest helpful devices and technology.  
  • The opportunity to get involved on the state and national level with the Florida Council of the Blind and the American Council of the Blind, receive their newsletters full of relevant and helpful information, and receive financial assistance to attend state and national conventions where you can meet even more interesting people, experiment hands-on the with the latest equipment, and hear what changes are coming for those with vision loss. 
  • Interest-free loans are available to help purchase equipment and devices to help you cope with vision loss, such as CCTVs, smart phones and screen-reading software for your computer.

The Florida White Cane Law

(Florida ss. 316.1301

(2) Whenever a pedestrian is crossing, or attempting to cross, a public street or highway, guided by a dog guide or carrying in a raised or extended position a cane or walking stick which is white in color or white tipped with red, the driver of every vehicle approaching the intersection or place where the pedestrian is attempting to cross shall bring his or her vehicle to a full stop before arriving at such intersection or place of crossing and, before proceeding, shall take such precautions as may be necessary to avoid injuring such pedestrian. A person who is convicted of a violation of this subsection is guilty of a moving violation punishable as provided in chapter 318.

(3) Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to deprive any totally or partially blind or otherwise incapacitated person not carrying such a cane or walking stick, or not being guided by a dog, of the rights and privileges conferred by law upon pedestrians crossing streets or highways. The failure of any such person to carry a cane or walking stick or to be guided by a dog shall not be considered comparative negligence, nor shall such failure be admissible as evidence in the trial of any civil action with regard to negligence. 

The Differences Between Service Dogs, Emotional Support (Assistance) Animals, and Therapy Animals

A service dog is individually trained to perform tasks that mitigate the disability of their owner. Training typically takes 18-24 months. Because of their advanced training, a service animal is considered medical equipment and is permitted to accompany their disabled owner to many places where pets are not allowed.

An emotional support (assistance) animal belongs to a person who is disabled. The person's doctor has determined that the presence of the animal is necessary for the disabled person's mental health and writes a prescription stating the pet is necessary in the person's home, despite any "no pets" regulation of the landlord, for the person's health. Little or no training is required. The owner of an emotional support animal has no more right than any other pet owner to take their emotional support animal with them other than to keep one in a home where pets are not permitted or to fly with one in a cabin when pets are not allowed.

A therapy animal is a pet that has been trained, tested, registered, and insured to accompany their owner to visit patients and residents of facilities like hospitals and nursing homes to cheer up the people living there. A well-behaved pet can typically complete training in about 8 weeks. A therapy animal is legally a pet. It is not permitted to go anywhere that pets aren't without permission from the facility owner. The objective of registration is to show facility managers that this animal is well behaved, safe around people, and insured against liability. It is not a license to walk into a hospital or nursing home without permission.

In short: a service animal works to help the owner perform tasks he/she cannot perform on their own because of their disability, an emotional support (assistance) animal works to improve the health of his/her owner who is disabled, and the therapy animal works with his/her owner to improve the health of others.

Service Dogs

ADA Titles II and III

• Limits the animal to dogs

• Dog is not a pet

• Florida includes dogs in training

• Only 2 questions may be asked:

      1. If the dog is a service animal

       2. What special tasks has the dog been trained to do for the person

• May NOT ask what the disability is

• May NOT require medical documentation of disability

• May NOT require identification

• May NOT require training documentation for the dog

• May NOT charge special fees required of pets

• NOT subject to usual policies for pets, i.e., deposits, limits on number of pets, or restricted areas

Emotional Support (Assistance) Animals

• Fair Housing Act Chapter 42

• May be animals other than dogs

• Animal is not a pet

• Only 2 questions may be


      1. Does the person have a

disability that substantially limits one

or more life activities

      2. Does the animal provide

a service that mitigates the effects of

the disability

• May require written documentation of

the disability-related need if the disability is not known or readily apparent, usually a letter from a medical doctor or treating therapist.

• May NOT ask for medical records

• NOT subject to usual policies for pets, i.e., deposits, limits on number of pets, or restricted areas

Therapy Animals

• Not protected by the ADA or FHA.

• Legally considered pets; not allowed any special accommodations