Psychology Department

The California School for the Blind (CSB) provides a variety of psychological services for blind and visually impaired students currently attending CSB.

The CSB school psychologists apply expertise in learning, development, mental health, and behavior to help address students’ academic, social, and emotional challenges. These services are provided directly to the students as well as indirectly through collaboration with other staff members and families. Some of the core services the school psychologists provide include:


  • The CSB school psychologists conduct comprehensive psychoeducational assessments, including three-year re-evaluations and Assessments of Suitability for Placement at CSB. These assessments typically include observations, interviews, and tests designed to evaluate cognitive, academic, adaptive, social/emotional, and behavioral functioning and skills. The assessments are multidisciplinary, meaning that staff members from various disciplines, such as the classroom teacher, Braille specialist, Orientation and Mobility specialist, and Assistive Technology specialist, each completes his or her own assessment. These assessments are compiled into a multidisciplinary report by the psychologist, along with the results from the psychoeducational evaluation.
  • A psychoeducational evaluation may also be performed when a parent requests a new assessment or when a new assessment is needed to address a particular concern, such as a change in behavior or a decline in performance.


  • The CSB School Psychologists collaborate with teachers, related service providers, dormitory staff, administrators, and families regarding individual students’ academic, functional, and social-emotional needs.
  • The CSB School Psychologists also consult with other school psychologists throughout California and beyond regarding appropriate psychoeducational assessments and other needs of Visually Impaired students.


  • If someone your know is suicidal, get help immediately. The following are resources for parents and students who are concerned about suicide.
  • Short- and long-term individual counseling is provided to students as needed in order to address specific needs that may be interfering with student performance or success.
  • Interventions also include connecting students with community-based resource and services to support their personal growth and post-secondary opportunities.
  • The CSB School Psychologists also work with teachers and related service providers to create and monitor Positive Behavior Support Plans when needed to support students’ behavior at school.
  • Group processing and learning experiences are provided, covering topics such as social skills training, adjustment to vision loss, and health and sexual education.
  • Crisis intervention services are also provided, including helping students deal with urgent or unexpected crises such as a death or community trauma.

If you have any questions or comments about the services provided by the CSB Psychological Services department, please feel free to contact us at 510-794-3800.

Rebecca Dowling, PhD.
Laurie Estridge, Ed.S, NCSP
Julie Manning, PhD.
Marisa Smith, PhD.