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West Virginia Schools For The Deaf and the Blind

Health and Related Services

Health Services

WVSDB Nursing logoThe West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind’s (WVSDB) Health Services     (HS) provides medical services to all students ages 3 through 21 who are enrolled at   WVSDB.

Our professional HS staff not only provide care to students when they are ill, but also educate and counsel them on how to prevent illness and maintain good health. HS staff believe that good health is a vital part of each student’s social-emotional development and academic achievement.

HS provides 24-hour medical services from 6:00 p.m. Sunday through 12 noon Friday. A Nurse Practitioner is also available as warranted. School-based HS services are located in both schools during school hours. Seaton HS remains open 24 hours throughout the week as the central location for students requiring additional health care support during school and residence hall hours.

In addition to providing medical services, HS staff consult with outside medical health professionals, including dental, visual, and psychiatric practitioners.

Related Services

Under the Federal definition as specified in Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the term “Related Services” includes a wide array of supportive services provided to students with disabilities to assist them in benefiting from his or her special education program. At WVSDB Related Service providers work directly with students by providing extra assistance and support in needed areas, such as moving, sign language pragmatics, speech articulation, or ambulating on campus. Related service areas provided include:

  • Audiology
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Orientation and Mobility
  • Physical Therapy
  • Psychological Services
  • Speech-Language Services


WVSDB Service Providers also provide indirect (consultation with teachers and staff) and evaluation services. In specific to evaluations, both IDEA and WVDE Policy 2419 stipulate that a child be assessed in all areas related to his or her disability. This evaluation must be sufficiently comprehensive so as to identify all of the student’s special education and related services needs, whether or not those needs are commonly linked to the identified primary exceptionality for that student.

Child Study Center
Audiological services
Our Doctor of Audiology provides services to any student enrolled at WVSDB who requires audiology services, as well as to deaf and hard-of-hearing children throughout the state of WV, time permitting. Services provided include:
   *Hearing evaluations
   *Hearing aid evaluations, recommendations, fittings, adjustments, cleanings, troubleshooting & repairs
   *Speech processor cleanings, troubleshooting & repairs
   *FM technology recommendations, fittings, adjustments, cleanings, troubleshooting & repairs
   *Cochlear implant aural (re)habilitation
   *Teacher/staff in-service regarding hearing loss, its impact on a child’s development and education, and the needs of the deaf/hh child in the classroom setting
Dr. Melanie AshworthDr. Melanie Ashworth
Fax: 304-822-4835
Ophthalmology services
A doctor of ophthalmology from the WVU Eye Institute is contracted by WVSDB to perform examinations for our students who require ophthalmology services.
The Child Study Center also hosts other clinics in their facility:

Children with Special Health Care Needs
The Children with Special Health Care Needs program advances the health and well-being of children and youth with certain chronic, debilitating conditions by providing specialized medical care and care coordination services to children under 21 years of age who meet financial and medical eligibility criteria. The following clinics are held in the Child Study Center at WVSDB:
   *ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat)

The Occupational therapy department at WVSDB serves students across the campus, providing skilled services for a variety of needs. Occupational therapy staff members are on site each day when classes are in session.

 Services provided

  •      Comprehensive Occupational Therapy evaluations conducted by a registered occupational therapist
  •      Direct and consultative Occupational Therapy services in individual and group settings, designed to meet specific needs of the students and support the classroom setting
  •      Occupational Therapy led seasonal swimming program when facilities are available
  •       A spacious, on site Occupational Therapy treatment area equipped with a variety of instructional and sensory tools
  •       An active Occupational Therapy internship program, providing placement for OTR and OTA students attending Allegheny Community College and West Virginia University
  •      Occupational therapy staff members with a combined 57 years of practice experience and site specific skills in American Sign Language, pre braille skills and blind adaptations
Occupational Therapy department staff members

Margie OrthMargaret Orth, OTR/L 

Margie brings a total of 38 years of experience in the field of Occupational Therapy. Margie is licensed to perform occupational therapy evaluations, screenings and supervise occupational therapy assistants and interns. Margie currently has advanced level sign language skills and a background in early intervention and working with the deaf psychiatric population. She has been practicing at WVSDB since March of 2013.  








Renee FawleyRenee Fawley, COTA/L

Renee brings a total of 19 years of experience as an occupational therapy assistant. Prior to coming to this campus, she worked in a variety of settings across the local area. She has been building her practice skills in the school setting since coming to work here in September of 2015.  

Orientation and Mobility (O&M) is a profession specific to blindness and low vision that teaches safe, efficient, and effective travel skills to people of all ages:

Simply put O&M is not limited to travel from one place to another. It is having the ability to combine sensory information, facts about your surroundings, and skills such as using a cane, scanning the environment for information, problem solving, the ability to handle money, and having the tools needed to interact in various environments.

Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Specialist provides instruction that can help you develop or re-learn the skills and concepts you need to travel safely and independently within your home and in the community.




Orientation and Mobility Specialists
Lydia Moreland
See our website at: WVSB O&M

Physical therapy (PT) is one of the related services under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and is provided to support the Individualized Education Program (IEP) for students ages 3-21, who have a disability that interferes with their educational performance and ability to benefit from their educational environment. The PT designs and performs therapeutic interventions based on the eligible student’s strengths and needs so that he/she can more effectively participate in educational activities. The PT focuses on functional mobility and safe, efficient access within the buildings and throughout the campus. The PT acts as a liaison among school, medical personnel and medical equipment vendors and participates in selecting, modifying or customizing adaptive equipment.


Physical Therapist

Carl Laitenberger

School psychologists are uniquely qualified members of school teams that support students' ability to learn and teachers' ability to teach. They apply expertise in mental health, learning, and behavior, to help children and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally. School psychologists partner with families, teachers, school administrators, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments that strengthen connections between home, school, and the community (see for more information).

WVSDB currently employs two full-time and one part-time speech language pathologists (SLPs). These therapist serve students all over campus by providing direct therapy, performing comprehensive evaluations, and consulting with school staff. SLP’s evaluate and treat disorders of communication including speech sounds and expressive and receptive language. They help students develop skills using the communication system or language that is most appropriate, whether it be sign language, spoken English, or an alternative system (picture communication, communication devices, etc.).


Speech and Language Pathologists

Kelsey Heavener, 304-822-4809

Ashley Suddath, 304-822-4827