Services for Students and Youth

Collage of young people with visual impairments walking down street, studying, and working in commercial kitchen.


The Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) serves children and students who are blind or have low vision. Our services are focused on building the foundation of a productive, independent, and successful childhood, youth, and adulthood.

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Pre-Employment Transition Services

Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS), are available to an individual with a disability, in a secondary, postsecondary, or other recognized education program, aged 14 through 21 who is eligible or receiving special education or related services under the Individual with Disabilities Act or for purposes of section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Pre-Employment Transition Services refers to the workshops, programs, and activities provided by DSB to help students achieve future careers by providing: 

Job exploration counseling

WIOA wants to make sure young people are getting the information they need to help them decide on their future careers. This includes discussion or information on:

  • Labor market
  • In-demand industries/occupations
  • Non-traditional employment options
  • Identification of career pathways of interest 
  • Career awareness and gaining knowledge of career paths and the skills/qualifications necessary to be successful in those positions
  • Career speakers

Work Readiness Training to Develop Social Skills and Independent Living

Since there’s more to a career than knowing how to do the job, WIOA and DSB want to make sure young people have the “soft skills” that are important in today’s workplace. This includes:

  • Social/interpersonal skills
    • Communication
    • Positive attitude
    • Teamwork
    • Problem solving
    • Talking/writing
    • Cooperation
    • Active listening
    • Decision making
    • Conflict resolution
    • Body language
    • Empathy
    • Professionalism
    • Good manners
    • Supporting others
    • Respectfulness
  • Independent Living Skills
    • Good hygiene
    • Time management
    • Healthy lifestyle
    • Using cell phone
    • Using transportation
    • Money management 
    • Nutrition/meal prep
    • Accessing community services/supports
    • Community participation
    • Civic responsibility
    • Community safety
    • Developing friendships
    • Appropriate dress
    • Appropriate behavior
  • Other soft skills
    • Financial literacy
    • Orientation and Mobility
    • Job seeking skills

Work based learning experiences to explore careers

To help young people get more information on potential careers, WIOA asks that DSB provides work-based learning experiences, which may include in-school or after school opportunities, or experience outside the traditional school setting (including internships), as well as: 

  • Job shadowing
  • Career mentorship
  • Information interview
  • Simulated workplace experience
  • Volunteering
  • Workplace tours/field trips

Counseling on enrollment for comprehensive transition and post-secondary transition opportunities

Education relates to career. DSB provides young people opportunities to learn about training programs, college majors, and other options to learn the skills needed to move into the career of choice. DSB has programs to discuss and introduce young people to things like: 

  • Community colleges (AA/AS degrees, certificate programs/classes)
  • Universities (Public/Private)
  • Career pathways related workshops/training programs
  • Trade/technical schools
  • Military

Instruction in Self-Advocacy

To make sure students and youth with disabilities can get the supports they need to succeed in school, college, and at work, DSB works to help teach things like:

  • self-awareness
  • disability understanding
  • disability disclosure
  • decision making
  • set goals
  • evaluate options
  • identify independence
  • accommodations
  • request & utilize accommodations
  • know your rights & responsibilities
  • self-determination
  • know how to request & accept help
  • intrinsic motivation
  • taking a leadership role
  • in support plans
  • assertiveness
  • listen to others opinions
  • problem solving
  • monitor progress
  • positive self-talk  

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Workshops and Programs

To provide students with the benefits of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), DSB Pre-Employment Transition Services Specialists host a variety of educational and fun Pre-ETS Workshops and Programs across the state throughout the school year. These workshops provide young people with opportunities to:

  • Define their strengths and goals.
  • Learn about educational and career paths.
  • Strengthen daily living skills.
  • Meet others and have fun!

Learn more about DSB Workshops and Programs

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Services for Families and Children

DSB offers resources and information for families with infants and small children who are blind or have low vision, and technical consultative services to schools, Birth-through-3 centers, and other community organizations who work with blind or low vision children.  

When questions arise on how a blind or low vision child might overcome obstacles to participate in activities, we offer ideas, resources, and support on how it can be done. 

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External Resources

Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB)

WSSB is a valuable resource for families looking for educational resources for students who are blind or visually impaired. DSB partners with WSSB on programs, workshops, and the Learning Independence For Today and Tomorrow (LIFFT) program
Visit the Washington State School for the Blind

PAVE - Partnerships for Action | Voices for Empowerment

PAVE provides support, training, information, and resources to empower and give voice to individuals, youth, and families impacted by disabilities. 
Visit PAVE.

National Federation of the Blind of Washington - Parents Group

The NFBW sponsors a Parents Group to support both parents of blind children and blind parents. Contact Jennifer Gandarias at for more information.


Request DSB services online. Or contact us at 800-552-7103 or for more information.


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*  Students must be eligible to work in the U.S. to participate in programs providing paid work experience.