Eligibility

Admissions Criteria

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The Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind is committed to providing the best possible education and preparation for life for Virginia children who are blind/vision impaired, deaf/ hard of hearing, deafblind, and deaf or blind with other disabilities. Applicants may apply as a residential or day students.

VSDB serves children starting at birth. To be formally admitted into VSDB and its educational programs and services, a student must

  • Have one or more of the qualifying disabilities defined below
  • Be between the ages of 2 and 22 as defined below
  • Be a resident of Virginia
  • Be referred by the local school division in which the student resides

Disabilities defined:

Deafness means a hearing impairment that is so severe that the student is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification, that adversely affects the student’s educational performance.

Hearing Impairment means an impairment in hearing in one or both ears, with or without amplification, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance but that is not included under the definition of deafness.

Visual Impairment including Blindness means an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness.

DeafBlindness means simultaneous hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for students with deafness or students with blindness.

Multiple Disabilities means simultaneous impairments (such as intellectual disability with blindness, intellectual disability with orthopedic impairment), the combination of which causes such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for one of the impairments. The term does not include deafblindness.

Age Requirements

While VSDB serves children starting at birth, to be formally admitted to VSDB the student must be at minimum 2 years old on or before September 30 of the current school year, and must not have reached their 22nd birthday by the same date. Students are not considered for residential placement until they are 5 years old and in kindergarten. Students ages 2 through 5 years old may enroll early in VSDB’s preschool program as day students.

Referral by local school division:

While referral by your local school division is required for admission, we invite parents and guardians to contact us to learn how your child can benefit from what we offer, to ask questions, and to visit us.  

We work in close cooperation with your local school system, as is stated in our Admission Policy excerpted below:

Admission determinations occur through an application process and in cooperation with the referring local school division. Only students referred by their school division are considered for admission. The VSDB works cooperatively with the local school division in which the student resides. If the parent(s) or legal guardian of the applicant contacts the VSDB directly regarding admission, the VSDB refers the parent(s) or legal guardian to the special education director at the local school division in which the student resides. The VSDB also notifies the respective local school division of any inquiries made by the parent(s) or legal guardian regarding admission.