All birth-to-three year olds with developmental delays or with identified disabilities—including sensory disabilities such as vision impairment or hearing loss—are entitled to individualized, quality early intervention services.

Referrals to early intervention, or “Part C,” services are provided through Local Lead Agencies that operate within counties.  Family Resources Coordinators, or FRCs, help ensure that families access the services their child might need.

For more information about the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part C, and how to find contacts in your county, see Early Support for Infants and Toddlers (ESIT), Washington State’s lead agency for birth-to-three year olds.

Specialized services designed for children with sensory disabilities might be accessed via several different routes.  For example:

  • A hearing loss might be identified through newborn hearing screening, and the family quickly linked to specialty services designed for babies who are deaf/hard of hearing.
  • An infant’s visual impairment might be identified in a well-baby check, and the family quickly linked to specialty services designed for babies who are blind/visually impaired.

In other situations, a child’s developmental delays might be identified as a result of a family’s concerns about his or her early growth and development. The family might already be enrolled in early intervention services before the possibility of a hearing loss or visual impairment is recognized and the child referred for diagnosis. In these situations, specialty services need to be added to the Individualized Family Services Plan (IFSP).

This scenario is often true for children with multiple medical issues and developmental challenges.  These infants and toddlers are at high risk for both hearing loss and visual impairment, but they can be challenging to confirm.

WSDS can help assure that a child is screened for hearing loss and visual impairment either before or after enrollment in Part C, and referred appropriately for diagnosis.  Once a child’s sensory disability is identified, WSDS can help assure that the family and service providers access specialty services.

Contact WSDS for help with screening for sensory disabilities, or to chat with someone about your concerns regarding a specific child.

For concerns about vision. . .

DeEtte Snyder,  State Coordinator for Birth to 3 Services, Blind and Visually Impaired
360-947-3305 or DeEtte.Snyder@wssb.wa.gov
WA State School for the Blind (WSSB), B-3 Services


For concerns about hearing. . .
Kris Ching,  Outreach Director Birth to 5
360-418-4292 (voice) or 360-334-5792 (video phone), Kris.Ching@cdhl.wa.gov


For concerns about a child with multiple challenges. . .
Katie Humes, Director, Washington State Services for Children with Deaf-Blindness
425-917-7828 (voice) or 800-572-7000 (voice), khumes@psesd.org

ESIT Practice Guide for Infants and Toddlers with Sensory Disabilities

This Practice Guide is designed to:
» Provide general statewide guidance
» Provide guidance to Local Lead Agencies (LLAs) and Family Resources Coordinators (FRCs), and
» Support statewide systems

…around the topic of early supports for infants/toddlers with sensory disabilities.

View Introductory Webinar
View Webinar Transcript

To explore more information regarding the ESIT Practice Guide Materials for Infants and Toddlers with Sensory Disabilities (Deaf/Hard of Hearing, Blind/Visually Impaired, or Deaf-Blind)  visit the ESIT Early Intervention Training and Professional Development  web page – scroll to the center until you reach “Practice Guide Materials for Infants and Toddlers with Sensory Disabilities “.   These documents can be accessed at the ESIT site (click the link above):

» Table of Contents
» Practice Guide Infants and Toddlers with Sensory Disabilities (Deaf/Hard of Hearing, Blind/Visually Impaired, or Deaf-Blind)
» Appendix 1a. Pathway Deaf/Hard of Hearing
» Appendix 1b. Pathway Blind/Visually Impaired
» Appendix 1c. Key to Acronyms
» Appendix 2a.Instructions for Completing the Sensory Disabilities Child Registry Form
» Appendix 2b. Instructions for APH Federal Quota Registration for Infants/Toddlers with Blindness or Visual Impairment
» Appendix 3. Self Evaluation Tool for EI Programs
» Appendix 4. Areas to Address with All Families Whose Infants/Toddlers are Identified with Sensory Disabilities