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Colorado Department of Education Exceptional Student Services Unit - AFB Directory Profile

General Information

Colorado Department of Education Exceptional Student Services Unit
201 East Colfax Avenue
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 866-6681 (Local)
(303) 830-0792 (Fax)

Brief Description

The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) is the administrative arm of the Colorado State Board of Education. CDE serves Colorado's 178 local school districts, providing them with leadership, consultation and administrative services on a statewide and regional basis.

CDE is made up of over forty units, 25 different programs, and 300-plus staff members, all pursuing the Department's Organizational Commitment. In keeping with this commitment, the Department not only administers K-12 public education, but also the State Library System, Family/Adult Literacy efforts, and the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind.

The Exceptional Student Leadership Unit with CDE provides leadership and support to parents of and administrative unit personnel who provide educational services to children and youth with disabilities, including blindness/visual impairment and deafblindness.

The agency is also the site for the Colorado Services for Children with Vision and Hearing Loss Project.

Hours of operation: Mon-Fri. 8:00 AM-5:00 PM.
Number of staff: 60 staff specific to special education
Staff description: State consultants in all disability areas, parent assistance, alternate assessment, early childhood, and secondary transition
Geographic area served: State of Colorado
Publications: Guidelines for Learning Media Assessment; 0-5 Vision Screening Guidelines; newsletters on deaf-blindness orientation and mobility training, teaching of the visually impaired. The department also has a multitude of other items specific to other disabilities than blindness/low vision or deafblindness.


Tanni Anthony, State Consultant on Blindness/ Visual Impairment, Exceptional Student Services Unit, (303) 866-6681,

Services Offered

Services for Children

  • Assessment
    • The Colorado Department of Education oversees state summative and alternate assessment for all learners in Colorado. The summative assessment undergoes an annual bias visual bias review process and an annual braille-format preview to ensure its accessiblity for learners who are blind/visually impaired or deafblind.
  • Braille and Reading Instruction
    • All school-age learners who are blind/visually impaired must have a Learning Media Assessment / Plan tied to their Individualized Education Program. All teachers certified in the area of visual impairment must demonstrate braille competency per established state guidelines.
  • Education Services
    • Provides technical assistance for local school districts in Colorado. Funds instructional materials center providing alternate format educational materials.
  • Information and Referral
    • Provides information and referral services throughout Colorado pertinent to individuals with visual impairments.
  • Low Vision Services
    • The Colorado Department of Education Exceptional Student Services Unit co-sponsors five annual regional low vision evaluation cinics across Colorado.
  • Support for Parents
    • The Colorado Department of Education Exceptional Student Services Unit co-sponsors an annual Family Learning Retreat for families of children, ages birth through 21, who are blind/visually impaired, Deaf/Hard of Hearing, or deafblind.

Services for Professionals

  • Consultation/Technical Program Assistance
    • Provides technical assistance to Colorado teachers/service providers working with visually impaired and deafblind individuals and visual screening guidelines/training assistance, and consultation to schools.
  • Professional Training
    • Holds an annual state conference on blindness/visual impairment, annual summer institute on deaf-blindness, and an annual orientation and mobility workshop.
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