Two VSDB students shelve books in the library


VSDB provides an integrated, holistic approach to education and personal development with a full array of services and programs that are simply not available at any other school in Virginia. Students grow in every aspect, do to expand capabilities and gain confidence, and become capable adults who succeed in post-secondary education, in the workforce, and as citizens in their communities.

Zero Cost to Families

First School for the Deaf and the Blind

180 Years of Continued Service

6,400+ Students Served Since 1839

175 Dedicated Employees


Admission Criteria

The Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind is committed to providing the best possible education and preparation for life for Virginia children who are blind/vision impaired, deaf/ hard of hearing, deafblind, and deaf or blind with other disabilities. Applicants may apply as a residential or day students.

VSDB serves children starting at birth. To be formally admitted into VSDB and its educational programs and services, a student must:

    • Have one or more of the qualifying disabilities defined below
    • Be between the ages of 2 and 22 as defined below
    • Be a resident of Virginia
    • Be referred by the local school division in which the student resides

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Disabilities Defined

Deafness means a hearing impairment that is so severe that the student is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification, that adversely affects the student’s educational performance.

Hearing Impairment means an impairment in hearing in one or both ears, with or without amplification, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance but that is not included under the definition of deafness.

Visual Impairment including Blindness means an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness.

DeafBlindness means simultaneous hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for students with deafness or students with blindness.

Multiple Disabilities means simultaneous impairments (such as intellectual disability with blindness, intellectual disability with orthopedic impairment), the combination of which causes such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for one of the impairments. The term does not include deafblindness.

Age Requirements

While VSDB serves children starting at birth, to be formally admitted to VSDB the student must be at minimum 2 years old on or before September 30 of the current school year, and must not have reached their 22nd birthday by the same date. Students are not considered for residential placement until they are 5 years old and in kindergarten. Students ages 2 through 5 years old may enroll early in VSDB’s preschool program as day students.


While referral by your local school division is required for admission, we invite parents and guardians to contact us to learn how your child can benefit from what we offer, to ask questions, and to visit us.  

We work in close cooperation with your local school system, as is stated in our Admission Policy excerpted below:

 Admission determinations occur through an application process and in cooperation with the referring local school division. Only students referred by their school division are considered for admission. The VSDB works cooperatively with the local school division in which the student resides. If the parent(s) or legal guardian of the applicant contacts the VSDB directly regarding admission, the VSDB refers the parent(s) or legal guardian to the special education director at the local school division in which the student resides. The VSDB also notifies the respective local school division of any inquiries made by the parent(s) or legal guardian regarding admission.

“I can see the progress. My son has definitely grown a lot, and he has friends and other people he can communicate and socialize with.”

Ronnie Roscoe, Parent

“I really enjoy VSDB because I like a Deaf school where I can talk to my friends and teachers in ASL.”

Douron, VSDB Student

"My favorite things about VSDB are that [my daughter] has learned ASL, made a lot of new friends, and learned a lot about Deaf Culture."

Trisha Thompson, Parent

"I have nothing but good things to say about this school…(my son) has made a complete 180 change with his attitude, socially, and with academics. The staff here is great, phenomenal, they really, really love and embrace and bring you in as a family."

Darren Maxwell, Parent

"Joining VSDB was a definite plus for [my son]. Two thumbs up!"

Anthony Velasco, Parent

“This school is the best for deaf children because of the education and the direct communication in American Sign Language with peers and teachers. I don’t have to have an interpreter with me all day…at VSDB, we are all equal, the same. VSDB is the best school I’ve ever attended!”

Danyeal, VSDB Student


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Step #1: Referral Through Your Local School System

It’s a good idea to contact the Special Education Director at your local school division early in the process, since referral through your school system is required for admission. 

Step #2: Completing the Application Packet

The parent/legal guardian of the applicant must complete the entire application packet and submit it along with the following documentation:

    • Documentation of applicant’s residence in Virginia
    • Copy of birth certificate
    • Medical records and immunization certificate
    • Educational records including evaluations, transcripts, current signed IEP, and disciplinary records if applicable
    • Release of information consent
    • Permission for emergency/routine medical care
Step #3: Admissions Interview

Once VSDB has received a complete application packet and school system referral, the Admissions Coordinator will contact you to schedule a pre-placement interview with both the applicant and parent(s) or legal guardian. This will occur on the VSDB campus in Staunton. If you would like additional individuals to attend this meeting, please let us know at least one week in advance.

If any accommodations are needed, including an interpreter of spoken language, please notify VSDB at least two weeks in advance.

The interview will be conducted by an Admissions Committee consisting of a member of the VSDB Admission staff, relevant VSDB service providers, a VSDB educational representative, and other VSDB faculty and staff as deemed appropriate by the Admissions Coordinator.

For applicants who are identified as multi-disabled with a disability of sensory impairment, a visit to the applicant’s current educational site may be conducted as well.

Step #4: The TEMP Program

All prospective students must attend a TEMP week before a final admission decision can be made. The TEMP Program allows students to attend VSDB for one or two weeks on a trial basis. Students attend classes and experience residential living if applicable. This provides valuable insight to the student, the parent or guardian, the Admissions Committee, and the local school division regarding the appropriateness of VSDB as an educational placement.

Step #5: Admission Determination and Notification

The Admissions Team considers many factors when determining a student’s admission status, including but not limited to:

    • Availability of space
    • Applicant’s eligibility as outlined in the Admissions Criteria 
    • Applicant’s academic, behavioral, therapeutic, emotional, physical, and medical needs, and VSDB’s capacity to provide for them
    • The applicant’s level of independence and daily living skills (for applicants considering living on campus)
    • Insights obtained through the student’s participation in TEMP

Within 10 days following the pre-admission interview and completion of the TEMP requirement, we will notify the applicant, the parent/guardian, and the local school division about whether a student will be admitted. The notification will be provided in writing.

Visit VSDB

Contact Information

Kim Dayhoff

Kim Dayhoff

Admissions Coordinator


Phone: (540) 332-9004