Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions2017-10-02T08:56:20+00:00

Questions From Families

How can I get help for my two-year-old son?

Contact your local family resources coordinator (FRC).  FRCs are located in each county or geographic area of the state. They can help a family access early intervention services a child may need. They can provide a screening or suggest other resources.

For more information or help, call the “Family Health Hotline ” number at 1-800-322-2588, TTY 1-800-833-6384 for the name of the family resources coordinator (FRC) in your local area. You can also click to find the lead family resources coordinator and local lead agencies contact information for your county.

To learn more about early supports for your family, go to the website for Early Support for Infants and Toddlers: Questions About Early Intervention.


I want to talk to another parent.  Can you help me link up with someone?

Yes.  Check our resources for state and national parent organizations.  If your child is deaf or hard of hearing, or has a combined visual impairment and hearing loss, contact our deaf/hh family consultant or our deaf-blind family consultant.

What’s the difference between an Individualized Education Program and a 504 plan?

An Individualized Education Program (IEP) describes the specially designed instruction needed (for example, from a teacher of the deaf or blind) to help the student develop the skills she needs in order to learn in school.  A 504 accommodation plan identifies how the classroom or materials need to be adapted or modified (e.g., large print, seating at front of class) so that the student can learn in school.  A 504 plan does not provide instruction in specialized skills.

Where can our teenager meet other kids who are deaf, blind, or deaf-blind?

WSDS offers an annual family weekend for children and teens who are deaf or hard of hearing as well as other family events.  Check the WSDS calendar for upcoming events sponsored by WSDS and other agencies such as Washington State School for the Blind, Washington School for the Deaf, and Department of Services for the Blind.

At what age should we start thinking about life after high school for our teen?

Although the new special education law (IDEA 2004) doesn’t require that transition planning begin until age 16, you can ask your school district to begin this process sooner. By starting early, your son or daughter has the chance to experience a variety of paid or volunteer jobs and can begin thinking about education or training options. Planning for transition includes thinking about recreation, medical care, independent living, transportation, and guardianship.


Questions From Service Providers

Where can our birth-to-three service providers get training on how to work with babies who are deaf, blind, or deaf-blind?

WSDS offers training on screening for hearing and vision concerns, the impact of sensory disabilities on early childhood development, and effective early intervention strategies. Training is designed to target early intervention professionals, teachers of the deaf, and teachers of the blind and visually impaired.

How can we get our hands on curricula, videos and other resources?

Check out our WSDS online lending library, or for birth-to-three resources, contact us via our central phone or email.

Where can our rural school district find a qualified educational interpreter?

Contact our coordinator for deaf/hard of hearing services. She can help advertise your position via our listservs, and may be able to help assess your applicants’ qualifications. Also, check Washington’s Education Recruitment Service.

Does a student with a mild hearing loss and cortical vision impairment qualify for your deaf-blind services?

Any combination of an educationally significant hearing loss and visual impairment may qualify a child for services through the WSDS deaf-blind project.  Read about the eligibility requirements and then contact us to learn how to get started.

I’m interested in working in Washington but wonder if my credentials as a teacher of the visually impaired will be valid here.

We need certified teachers of the visually impaired, as well as specialists in other areas (e.g., orientation and mobility, teachers of the deaf, educational interpreters).  Check training & certification for requirements to work in special education in Washington, as well as job openings.  And contact us to introduce yourself.