Resources for Serving Students with Sensory Disabilities

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) provides information on educational services and resources to support students who are deaf and hard of hearing, blind or visually impaired, or deaf-blind at its website.  The following links to information and resources are excerpted from the VDOE’s website at Special Education-Specific Disabilities-Sensory Disabilities:

Guidance Documents

Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Guidelines for Working With Students Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing in Virginia Public Schools (Revised September 2019)
Virginia Communication Plan for a Student Who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing (Revised September 2019)

Blindness and Visual Impairment
* Guidelines for Working With Students Who are Blind or Visually Impaired in Virginia Public Schools (Revised December 2017)
* Unified English Braille Implementation Plan for Virginia Public Schools (Updated September 2019)

State Agencies
Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind (VSDB) - The VSDB is located in Staunton, Virginia and provides a K-12 educational day program, outreach services, and residential services exclusively for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, blind or visually impaired, or deaf-blind.  The VSDB Outreach Services assist early intervention providers, local school divisions, and families in meeting the needs of children with sensory disabilities across the Commonwealth.  The VSDB’s admissions policy is available at its website.       
o  Contact: Pat Trice, Superintendent at (540) 332-9000

Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI) - The DBVI’s education services program provides services to early intervention providers, school personnel, and families to help children to be successful in school and the community, and to prepare for the future.  The Virginia Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Vision Impaired offers training in the skills of blindness.  The Library and Resource Center provides services to local school divisions to support the education of children who are blind or visually impaired and persons who are print disabled.
o   Contact: Caren Phipps, Director of Services for Children and Youth at (804) 625-3972

Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH) - The VDDHH provides standards for educational interpreting services and other services to reduce the communication barriers between persons who are deaf or hard of hearing and their families and the professionals who serve them.
o   Contact: Eric Raff, Director at (800) 552-7917 V/TTY

Technical Assistance Centers and Training Programs
Accessible Instructional Materials Center-Virginia (AIM-VA) - The AIM-VA’s extensive library has developed an alternative system for providing accessible educational media under standards set by federal law to students who meet the federal requirements for print disabilities and who are eligible for accessing educational media through an Individualized Education Program (IEP).  The AIM-VA, in conjunction with partnering agencies, provides required accessible educational materials to students and training for school division staff, at no cost to Local Educational Agencies.
o   Contact: AIM-VA Help Desk at (866) 926-1879

§  Center for Family Involvement at the Partnership for People with Disabilities-Virginia Commonwealth University (CFI) -The CFI provides information and training to support children with disabilities, their families and professionals.

            Contact:  CFI Office at (877) 567-1122 or TTY relay; (800) 828-1120

§  Radford University Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program - Radford University offers Virginia’s only academic program leading to Virginia teacher licensure with an endorsement in Special Education-Deaf and Hard of Hearing PreK-12.  Courses are taught through combined on-campus, distance education, and varied educational field experiences.  The comprehensive program teaches all communication/instructional approaches used with students who are deaf and hard of hearing.  Tuition assistance is available for qualified Virginia teachers.

o   Contact: Karen Stinson, Graduate Advisor at (540) 831-5549

Technical Assistance Center for Children Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing (TAC-DHH) - The TAC-DHH provides information, training and technical assistance pertaining to children who are deaf and hard of hearing.  Assistance is available to Virginia public school divisions, including early childhood special education and early intervention programs, through the Virginia Network of Consultants for Professionals Working with Children Who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VNOC).
o   Contact: Ann Hughes, Coordinator at (804) 828-1342

§  Virginia Consortium for Teacher Preparation in Visual Impairment (VI Consortium) - The VI Consortium is the only academic program in Virginia for teacher preparation leading to Virginia teacher licensure with an endorsement in Special Education-Visual Impairment PreK-12.  Classes are offered through combined on-campus, video, and web conferencing through five universities: George Mason, James Madison, Norfolk State, Old Dominion, and Radford.  Tuition assistance is available for qualified Virginia teachers.

o   Contact: Kimberly Avila, Coordinator at (703) 993-5625

§  Virginia Hearing Aid Loan Bank (HALB) - The HALB provides hearing aids and FM systems for children in Virginia under age 18 whose hearing loss is confirmed by an audiologist.  Devices are loaned for free for up to six months while families/school divisions are waiting for a permanent device to arrive.

o   Contact: Lisa Powley at (866) 596-9367

Virginia Project for Children and Young Adults with Deaf-Blindness (VDBP) - The VDBP provides technical assistance, training, distance education, and networking information to service providers and families of children with deaf-blindness/dual sensory disabilities.
o   Contact: Julie Durando, Project Director at (804) 828-8252

§  Professional Development for Educational Interpreters - The VDOE provides grant funding to assist Virginia educational interpreters and cued language transliterators with acquiring and maintaining the skills and qualifications that are required to work with children who are deaf and hard of hearing in Virginia public schools.  Free regional workshops and 1:1 mentoring support are available.

o   American Sign Language-English Interpretation programs/courses are offered at the following Virginia colleges and universities:

·         Liberty University Telephone: (434) 582-2064
·         Northern Virginia Community College Telephone: (703) 323-3192
·         Radford University  Telephone: (540) 831-5549
·         Reynolds Community College Telephone: (804) 523-5604
·         Tidewater Community College Telephone: (757) 214-6157

For additional information, please contact:
Wanda Council, Education Specialist
Virginia Department of Education
(804) 371-4059

Revised 10/2019