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Assessment Program

Assessment Program Contact Page


California School for the Blind

The Assessment Program of the California School for the Blind is a statewide resource offering expertise in the education of children and young adults who are blind, visually impaired and deafblind. Our mandate is to provide the following services to California's school districts:

  • Student assessments
  • Parent and staff consultation
  • Professional development for administrators, teachers, specialists and paraprofessionals

Eligibility for Service

We serve students who:

  • Are residents of California
  • Have been identified as visually impaired or blind by an eye care specialist
  • Have exhausted local assessment resources
  • Continue to have educational issues which are not resolved at the local level

Low Vision Assessments

We work with the University of California Eye Center in Berkeley to schedule appointments for our assessment students who can benefit from a low vision examination in the course of the educational assessment. Young students and those who are not reading are scheduled for an eye examination at the Special Visual Assessment Clinic for the Handicapped. Students who are reading are scheduled for an appointment at the Low Vision Clinic where the use of low vision devices, such as sunshades, magnifiers and monoculars, is explored and prescribed.

Center-Based Assessments

Students who are residents of California are offered a week-long, comprehensive assessment during which they stay with their families at the CSB campus in Fremont, California. Transportation to and from CSB is usually provided by the local district. The cost of the assessment itself is covered by the California School for the Blind at no expense to the district. Food and lodging for the student and family are also provided by CSB.

The staff of the Assessment Program works as a collaborative team to assess each area of the child's educational needs in order to put together as accurate a picture of the whole child as possible.

Both before and during the assessment week, the student's home district teachers are consulted and school and medical records are reviewed.

While at CSB, parents and caregivers are interviewed about the strengths and needs of the child being assessed. They are offered counseling and education about raising a child who is blind or visually impaired. Although assessment services are not related to referral to the California School for the Blind as a student, parents and caregivers are offered a tour of the school to observe educational activities and assistive technology in action.

The student is assessed in the following areas, as appropriate:

  • Functional vision
  • Speech and language
  • Cognitive development
  • Academic achievement
  • Learning/reading media
  • Technology needs
  • Orientation and mobility
  • Daily living skills
  • Social and emotional functioning

During the week of living on campus, assessment students and their families are invited to participate in after school activities with the residential students at the school which include swimming in our warm, indoor pool, playing games with equipment chosen for its accessibility for visually impaired children and perusing the school library's collection of descriptive video tapes, books on tape and large print and braille books. Meals are provided by CSB in the school dining hall, offering another opportunity to meet other students who are blind and visually impaired. (Meals may also be eaten in the privacy of the apartment provided if the family prefers.)

The week ends in an exit conference with family and home district professionals to discuss the findings and recommendations which have been derived from the assessment. A comprehensive written report follows within six to eight weeks.

Field-Based Observation/Consultation

Specialists from the Assessment Program travel to districts throughout California to observe students whose skills will best be demonstrated in a familiar environment. Field-based consultation usually addresses one or two specific questions from district professionals or from parents or caregivers.

Field-based services include observation in the home and school environments, consultation with local teachers, specialists and administrators, as well as consultation and education for parents and caregivers.

Referral Process

  • Local teachers and administrators complete referral form.
  • Parents complete referral form.
  • Parents and district submit other required documents.

Student is placed on the waiting list when the referral process is complete.

Training and Workshops

California teachers and specialists may come to the CSB campus for week-long training in assessment of students who are blind, visually impaired, multiply impaired and deafblind. District professionals may accompany a student with whom they work during a comprehensive assessment week at CSB in order to observe the assessment process.

Assessment staff is available to travel to a student's district in California to offer workshops for parents and caregivers, professionals and paraprofessionals.

Possible training topics


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