“The Idaho Educational Services for the Deaf and the Blind (IESDB)” is the common name established by Idaho Statute 33-3403 in 2009. Formally known in statute as Idaho Bureau of Educational Services for the Deaf and the Blind, the IESDB is the state authorized provider of supplemental services for students who are deaf or hard of hearing and/or blind or visually impaired. The goal of the IESDB is to assist school districts and state agencies in providing accessibility, quality and equity to students in the state with sensory impairments through a continuum of service and placement options. In addressing the continuum of services, the IESDB operates a school for the deaf and the blind (ISDB), located in Gooding, which provides residential and day campus programs for students ages 3-21. Furthermore, IESDB also operates an outreach program intended to provide services to students outside the campus area, as well as early intervention, in partnership with the Infant Toddler Program, and family consultation.

"Blind or visually impaired" means that a person is impacted by impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness.

"Deaf or hard of hearing" means that a person is impacted by an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance, or impacted by a hearing impairment that is so severe that the child is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.

Outreach services are off-campus statewide supplemental services provided by the Idaho Educational Services for the Deaf and the Blind to school districts, students, other agencies and families.

Sensory impairment denotes an impairment of vision or hearing, or both.

Specialized/Certified Personnel refers to all personnel who are nationally certified and/or certified by the state of Idaho as required by applicable law to provide services and instruction to students who are deaf or hard of hearing and/or blind or visually impaired, including, but not limited to, certified teachers of the deaf, certified teachers of the visually impaired, certified interpreters, certified orientation and mobility specialists, speech language pathologists, and certified low vision therapists.

The state board refers to the Idaho State Board of Education.

Supplemental services are services provided to deaf or hard of hearing and/or blind or visually impaired students and their families, in addition to and in support of services the student may receive from his or her school district. Such services may include assessment, consultation and direct instruction.

An Educational Specialist refers to the Specialized/Certified personnel who provide outreach services throughout the state of Idaho.

Starting in the fall of 2015, all new textbooks and materials will be brailled in the Unified English Braille Code (UEBC) and will officially be adapted by the United States (as it has been in other English-speaking countries) on January 5, 2016, While most of the braille code remains the same or similar, some braille signs and symbols have been removed and some added to make the literacy code more streamlined and less ambiguous when transcribed electronically. Certified teachers of students who are blind or visually impaired still need to assess and teach braille skills.

Orientation and Mobility (O&M) services involve teaching students who are visually impaired or blind how to safely and efficiently navigate their environment through use of their senses, specific techniques, problem-solving skills, and may also involve the use of white cane and other tools.  It is a related services defined in IDEA and part of the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC).  An O&M specialist may be part of the educational team and provide assessments; direct instruction and/or consultation with a student; and in-services to staff.

The Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) is used to define concepts and skills that often require specialized instruction with students who are blind or visually impaired in order to compensate for decreased opportunities to learn incidentally by observing others. In addition to the general education core curriculum that all students are taught, students with visual impairments, starting at birth, also need instruction in the ECC. There are nine areas

  1. Assistive Technology
  2.  Career Education
  3. Compensatory Skills (i.e., concept development, communication skills, braille, audio materials)
  4. Independent Living Skills
  5. Orientation and Mobility
  6. Recreation and Leisure
  7. Self-Determination
  8. Sensory Efficiency
  9. Social Interaction Skills

(from the TSBVI website)

What's New?


As Educational Specialists we can give a variety of in-services. We give in-services for staff ranging from one-on-one in-services for the teacher to whole staff in-services. The in-service can cover a variety of topics including the student’s hearing/vision loss and impact on their education, accommodations for the student, use of technology or specialized equipment, access to captioned or described media, and other resources.

We can also give classroom in-services for students to help them understand the sensory loss and how to best communicate with their classmate.

Yes, IESDB Educational Specialists can provide an in-service to classmates of a student who uses braille or other tools. We will work out the type and length of presentation with the classroom teachers. As much as possible, we want the student to be an active participant in the presentation, and we may also discuss with classmates how to assist appropriately, answer questions about the eye, and touch onother relevant topics.

BARD, Learning Ally and Bookshare are electronic book resources which ensure that those persons unable to access print will have timely and equal access to printed materials in digital format which can be listened to on a digital player or read on a braille display.

You can get more information at:


Learning Ally-


A student attending in any Idaho LEA, who is deaf or hard of hearing and/or blind or visually impaired, can be considered to enroll in the ISDB on-campus Independent Living Skills (ILS) program for 18-21 yr olds. There are some conditions, however.

1) If the student has met high school graduation requirements that match typical high school rigor, and has received the diploma, the student is not eligible for an 18-21 program such as the ILS Program at ISDB. If the student’s IEP outlines individualized graduation requirements that are not fully aligned with high school rigor (include adapted coursework or specialized courses to meet that student’s learning need), then the student can be considered for the ILS program.

2) If the student is on track to graduate with a diploma representing typical high school rigor, and the student and IEP team agree (before the student graduates) that it is critical for the student to also receive additional training in skills for independent living, the IEP team can choose to amend the student’s graduation plan to include a requirement to attend the ILS program.

3) The ISDB ILS program has limitations in staffing and space. Students who have attended high school in their home district are considered on a space available basis. Student numbers for the ILS program can vary greatly from year to year—some years there will be space for additional students and some years that may not be the case. The ISDB staff is able to make fairly accurate predictions for ISDB campus student numbers for the ILS program looking forward a few years. Thus, teachers and parents at the home LEAs who want to consider their student for participation in this program should discuss the possibility with the IESDB Education Specialist for their district, and he/she will answer questions and help you get connected with ISDB campus staff to discuss it further.


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    Cortical Visual Impairment
    Source: Perkins School for the Blind
    Website access: Visit Perkins - Cortical Visual Impairment
    Description: Four short “chapters” give a definition of CVI, the implications for the learner, and how to make accommodations in the classroom.

    Title: Video Clips on Blindness Tips
    Source: Washington State School for the Blind
    Website access: Visit Washington State School for the Blind
    Description: Several short videos showing teachers of students who are visually impaired/blind (frequently paired with a student who is VI/B) demonstrating and explaining skills related to daily living skills in the school day and the ECC. Printable handouts are available. Topics include money folding, orientation to a classroom, cutting, pouring, and labeling medication.

    Title: Keeping Up with Technology and Student Needs
    Source: Perkins eLearning
    Website access: Visit Perkins eLearning
    Description: Dr. Yui-Ting Siu provides insight into the challenges of matching appropriate technology to student needs after assessment. This presentation is in 6 short “chapters.”

    Northern Rockies AER Conference
    Dates: October 14-16, 2015
    Where: Oxford Suite Hotel, 1426 S. Entertainment Av., Boise
    Description: This annual regional (Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho) conference is for professionals who work with the visually impaired/blind population and is open to the public. Stipends are available to cover the registration fee. Topics will range from assessment for preschoolers to socio-emotional health to transition considerations for all ages.
    Registration: Please visit the AER website for more information and to register. AER is the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired.

    Literacy and Evidence-Based Practices in Deaf Education: What We Know and We Suspect

    Date: March 13, 2014
    Description: This webinar reviewed the key predictors of reading success, the evidence-based practices in literacy instruction and the current standing of DHH readers. This presentation also provided educators with a strategy to aid them in determining the efficacy of an instructional practice in the absence of existing evidence.
    Presenter: Jessica Trussell is a doctoral candidate in Deaf education at Georgia State University studying under the guidance of Dr. Susan Easterbrooks. She is a former teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing (TODHH) in Idaho, Virginia and Georgia. Her research is focused on literacy interventions for deaf/Deaf/hard of hearing students as well as the development and retention of TODHHs.
    Handouts: PowerPoint Slides, The Signed Reading Fluency of Students Who Are Deaf/Hard of Hearing, Signed Reading Fluency Rubric for Deaf Children, Decision Flowchart for Determining EBP , Slides with Speaker Notes
    Recording: Link to view recorded webinar

    How Early Intervention Can Make A Difference: Research and Trends

    This webinar is for professionals who work with young children who are deaf and hard of hearing and their families. Presented by Gallaudet University Clerc Center.
    Date: February 12, 2014
    Presenter: Dr. Beth Benedict
    Recording: View recording here

    The Idaho Educational Services for the Deaf and the Blind, with the Idaho Department of Education, is offering the following training opportunities:

    Paraprofessional Training, 2017
    Dates: June 26-30, 2017
    Open to: Paraprofessionals, Classroom Teachers, Parent, Teaching Assistants, Administrators, High school students interested in this profession.
    Topics covered: Braille, Travel skills iincluding introduction to cane use, Adaptations for daily living skills, Accommodations in the classroom, Modifications for learners with low vision, Resources on students with CVI and co-occurring impairments.
    Where: ISDB campus in Gooding, Idaho
    Cost: Free
    Flyer: Paraprofessional Training Flyer

    Early Childhood Day, 2017
    Date: June 21, 2017
    Open to: Preschool and Elementary Teachers, Paraprofessionals/Teaching Assistants, Early Intervention Educators, Parents
    Topics covered: Early literacy, including tactual skills, Adaptations of the environment to encourage movement, Exploration of space (and how to expand it), Communication and compensatory skills, Resources on CVI and co-occurring impairments.
    Where: ISDB campus in Gooding, Idaho
    Cost: Free
    Free: Early Childhood Day Flyer

    Educational Interpreter Act/Emergency Authorizations

    Date: May 8, 2014
    Presenter: Joelynne Ball
    Description: This webinar explains the minimum standard requirement in the statute for educational interpreters. It describes database for tracking interpreters and their continuing education hours.
    Recording: Link to view recorded webinar

    Resource Links

    Contact one of the educational centers in your area to inquire about the ASL classes being offered.

    Idaho Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired focuses on adults becoming productive and successful members of their community. Offices are located throughout the state and counselors may begin communicating with students and their families from age 14 and up. Summer Work Experience programs may be available to high-school students, as well as college-readiness programs.

    The Independent Little Bee is for parents and educators and focuses on practical ways to reinforce the Expanded Core Curriculum.

    Learning Ally produces educational accessible audiobooks for visually impaired, dyslexia, and other disabilities students, including textbooks and literature. Contact your Educational Specialist to see if this service is appropriate for your student who is visually impaired or blind.

    American Printing House for the Blind is a federally-funded organization that products and educational materials specifically for the B/VI. Many (not all) may be available for temporary check-out to school districts with qualifying students through an Education Specialist.

    Washington School for the Blind offers distance learning classes for students who are B/VI from a certified TVI. Classes are for high school credit and frequently include a a brailled textbook.

    Perkins School for the Blind has a wealth of information, including accessibility to science; the Common Core for students with B/VI; and strategies for working with students with co-occurring disabilities.

    All About Vision provides a list and description of common eye conditions

    Braille Authority of North America provides basics in the braille code, as well as the information on the upcoming changes in the code that will be adopted in January, 2014 as the Unified English Braille Code. (UEBC).

    Wonder Baby has information from accessible Ipad apps for young children to how to introduce a child to a new teacher, and provides parents blogs and links to relevant websites.

    Interested in becoming a Certified Teacher of Students who are visually Impaired/Blind? Please check out Teaching Visually Impaired for more information.

    pepnet 2: deaf and hard of hearing

    pn2 is a national collaboration of professionals with expertise in a broad array of content areas and a variety of environments, including research, technology, personnel development, media production, and technical assistance. Recognizing the full range of post-secondary education and training options available for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, including those with co-occurring disabilities, pn2 strives to enhance the capacity of those institutions to appropriately serve this diverse student population.

    Critical Needs of Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

    Five Major Barriers Impacting Deaf and Hard of Hearing K-12 Students

    pn2 Research Brief: Post-Secondary Enrollment and Completion for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students

    pn2 Research Brief: Employment Data for Adults who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing

    pn2 Research Brief: The Common Core State Standards - Considerations for Teachers of Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

    pn2 Research Brief: Serving Individuals who are DHH in Rural Communities

    pn2 Research Brief: Mental Health Care for DHH Individuals - Needs, Risk Factors, and Access to Treatment

    NETAC Teacher Tipsheet: Classroom Technology - How to Use AV Equipment for Visual Learners

    NETAC Teacher Tipsheet: Notetaking

    NETAC Teacher Tipsheet: Retention

    NETAC Teacher Tipsheet: Providing Testing Accommodations for DHH Students

    NETAC Teacher Tipsheet: Tutoring

    Tipsheet: Adjusting to Hearing Loss During High School - Preparing Students for Successful Transition to Postsecondary Education or Training

    PEPNet Tipsheet: Tips for a Successful Job Search

    PEPNet Tipsheet: Transitioning to College - From Dependence to Independence

    PEPNet Tipsheet: Vocational Rehabilitation for Postsecondary Programs that Serve Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

    Idaho Moving-On Binder
    A tool for students and families to plan and get organized as youth prepare to leave high school and move into the adult world.

    Idaho's Health Care Transition to Adulthood
    Parents can learn how to support youth in taking charge of their health care, and youth, teens, and young adults can learn the skills that will prepare them for success. Youth with special health care needs may need more time and practice to reach that goal. Start early and plan ahead!

    DO-IT: Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology
    DO-IT is a program promoting the success of individuals with disabilities in post secondary education and careers, using technology as an empowering tool.

    Graduation Planning Guidance for Idaho Students with Disabilities
    The purpose of this document is to provide districts, especially IEP teams, with guidance on graduation planning for students with disabilities. IEP teams should reference this document in the development of individualized education programs, planning for graduation, & transition to post-school options.

    College Resources for Students with Disabilities Guidebook

    Guide to Home Remodeling for Disability and Special Needs

    Contact Us

    Paula Mason

    Director of Outreach

    Joelynne Ball M.S., RID CI, CT

    State Interpreter Education Coordinator

    Brian Darcy

    IESDB Administrator

    Jeanne-Marie Kopecky

    IESDB Assistant Director of Outreach

    Gretchen Spooner

    Idaho School for the Deaf and the Blind
    Gooding Campus
    Director of Education
    Idaho Educational Services for the Deaf and the Blind
    Idaho Educational Services for the Deaf and the Blind
    1450 Main Street
    Gooding, ID 83330