The Washington State School for the Blind’s Birth to 3 Program is committed to providing specialized services for infants and children who are diagnosed with visual impairments or blindness, no matter where they live in the state. It is well documented in research of learning, that almost 80-90% of what a child learns in the first 3 years of life occurs through the use of vision through incidental learning. When a child does not have vision, they will still learn to play with toys, crawl and walk through their environments, explore the world, and build meaningful relationships with their families, however they may do this in a different way through the use of other senses. Because vision plays such a critical role in how a child learns and the loss may impact all developmental areas, it is critical that early identification and appropriate interventions supports begin immediately to support children, and families, to reach their full early learning potential!
Who should be referred to WSSB for vision support and services? Any child between the ages of birth to 3 years of age who has a diagnosis of a vision condition documented by a pediatric ophthalmologist that has a high probability to lead to a visual impairment. If there is a concern raised by the family or team regarding the ability of the child to use vision as expected, the team should complete the “3 Pronged Vision Screen” to establish a plan of action to address with pediatrician, pediatric ophthalmologist, and/or early intervention team. DeEtte can be contacted for initial vision consultation visits, training opportunities or technical assistance.
Who can refer a child to WSSB for vision support and services? Anyone! To refer a child with a diagnosis of BVI or just a concern, contact DeEtte Snyder, State Coordinator for Birth to 3 Services, Blind and Visually Impaired (360)947-3305 or (360)696-6321 x172 OR Email DeEtte at DeEtte.Snyder@wssb.wa.gov