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for the Blind

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New York State School for the Blind - AFB Directory Profile

General Information

New York State School for the Blind
2A Richmond Avenue
Batavia, NY 14020
(585) 343-5384 (Local)
(585) 344-5557 (Fax)
(877) 697-7382 (Toll-Free)

Brief Description

The New York State School for the Blind provides a learning environment where children can achieve their full potential. Specialized instruction and a full range of related, clinical and support services are tailored to meet the needs of each student.

Teachers with professional preparation in the areas of visual impairment, elementary or secondary education, and/or special education work as a team to promote independence and prepare children for successful transitions to adulthood.

Parents and staff work together to help each child reach the goals in his/her Individualized Education Program (IEP). Classes are small in size and educational activities reach into a variety of specially designed areas including our prevocational workshop, gymnasium, pool and Sensory Park playground. Technology is used to augment instruction and promote achievement. Computers, electronic communication boards, low vision reading devices and therapeutic equipment are adapted to enhance each child's unique abilities.

Hours of operation: Mon.-Fri. 8:00 AM-2:00 PM (school).
Staff description: Instructors, instructional assistants, related services, nurses, childcare staff.
Geographic area served: New York State.
Publications: Parent News (quarterly).


Bethany Burgess, Social Worker, Social Work Services,
Sharyl Courter, Admissions Coordinator
Barbara Lemen, Superintendent, Administration,
Deborah Stamp, Department Head, Education Program,

Services Offered

Services for Children

  • Assessment
    • Every three years, all students receive complete evaluations for education, psychological, social history, medical, and all other service areas that are listed in their IEP document. Recommendations provide the framework for the student's IEP and educational program.
      For prospective students whose parents or school district CSE has made a referral to the school for possible admittance, the NYSSB Intake Team conducts an Assessment Process for all service areas, to determine the students abilities and needs. Recommendations help to create an Intake IEP draft that is reviewed by the family, home school district and NYSSB to determine if NYSSB can provide an appropriate education program for them.
      To learn more go to:
  • Braille and Reading Instruction
    • Individual Braille instruction is an optional service for students who have developed an understanding of the Pre-Braille skills and the Braille alphabet, and who could benefit from advanced assistance with learning the contracted Braille code, Nemeth Code (Math) and associated rules. Additionally, all students receive continuation of fundamental Braille reading techniques that affect a student's reading rate, fluency, and comprehension.

      Pre-Braille skills consist of the basic concepts for texture, shape, and size. Also included are the locational skills for finding the top, bottom, left and right of a page or book as well as tracking lines of Braille and use of two hands to read. Contracted Braille, whereby a Braille symbol or group of symbols represents words and punctuation, can be thought of as a shorthand process to reading and writing. Literary Braille represents words and punctuation, while the Nemeth code is a system of Braille symbols that represent numbers, symbols, and processes used for mathematics.

      Services for Braille instruction is determined through the IEP referral process for an assessment. An written evaluation is completed to determine whether the student is ready for individual instruction or whether pre-requisite skill training and objectives can be followed in the classroom through consultation.

      To learn more please visit:
  • Community Outreach Programs
    • Services offered by the NYSSB Resource Center:
      • Ordering of APH Textbooks and Instructional Materials from Quota Funds
      • Textbook Depository that lends Braille and Large Print books
      • NIMAS/NIMAC information regarding materials and ordering
      • Information and Referral Service for Questions about Blindness and Visual Impairment
      Contact Information:
      2A Richmond Avenue
      Batavia, NY 14020
      Phone: (585) 343-5384
      Fax:(585) 343-0652

      Who to contact regarding services:
      Information regarding the NYS APH Quota and general operation of the Outreach Department:
      Mathis Calvin, Superintendent, ext. 205 or
      General information, NIMAC/NIMAS, and referral for vision professionals:
      APH Registration and Orders, NIMAS/NIMAC:
      Textbook and APH Materials Depository:
      Lisa DeSantis, ext. 207 or
      To learn more go to:

  • Computer Training/Assistive Technology
    • At the NYS School for the Blind Assistive Technology focuses on the following skill development:
      1. Computer access skills: Keyboarding, using a mouse, Internet access
      2. Software use: Word Processing, Educational software, braille translation software, magnification, screen readers, and more
      3. Digital book formats and devices
      4. Electronic braille writers
      5. Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) devices

      6. To learn more please visit:
  • Counseling
    • Counseling is offered to students whose has determined to need counseling services through the IEP process. These services are offered by the School Psychologist or the School Social Worker.
  • Daily Living Skills/Independent Living Skills Training
    • Daily Living Skills are integrated into the full educational program with carry over into the residential program, dependent on their age and developmental level. Students learn skills for carrying for their personal hygiene needs, dining skills, food preparation, and home living skills, such as making their bed, caring for their clothing, and basic clean up skills. Teacher works closely with the residential staff and the Occupational Therapy staff for Home Living Skills Training Program for older students.
  • Education Services
    • The NYS School for the Blind provides quality education to the children of New York State who are visually impaired and have additional disabilities.
      Teachers and Support Services Staff work closely together to offer a very student centered program for the student to learn from consistent approaches and skill development.To learn more, please contact Bethany Burgess, 585-343-5384, Ext. 214 or visit:
  • Employment/Job Training
    • Students attending the NYS School for the Blind, who are 13 years or older, begin to work on transitional work-related and living skills for post-school life.
      The school has a Prevocational workshop where students are evaluated and have the opportunity to develop work-related skills. All students begin learning basic work table skills, incorporating hand and fine-motor manipulation of materials and equipment for completing small task. As their skills develop, they begin the process of working with one or more peers to complete an assembly line style task. Eventually, students are provided the opportunity to work out side the Prevocational setting to perform in school jobs, and later community training jobs. All skill development will lead to the opportunity for greater success once they graduate.
      to Learn more go to:
  • Health
    • The goal of the NYSSB Health Center is to provide efficient, effective, individualized, integrated, high quality health services to each student. The level and type of services provided will be based on need and as indicated by law and regulation.
      Health Center staff assisting in maintaining your child's health so he/she may fully participate in the education program.
      Services available to all students:
      • Daily Nursing Services
      • Physician Services
      • Emergency Services
      • Laboratory Services
      Registered Nurses are on duty 24 hours a day, beginning at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday evening until Friday at 3:00 p.m. To learn more go to:
  • Information and Referral
    • In order to attend NYSSB, a child must:
      Legally Blind;
      School-age (5 – 21 years of age);
      New York State Resident;
      Students may have additional disabilities which could include:
      Mental retardation or significant developmental delay (at an early age) Cerebral Palsy, Hearing Impairment, Autism, Traumatic Brain Injury, Medical Fragility, Speech Impairment, Hearing Impairment, or Other Health Impairment.
      To find out more, please visit:
  • Low Vision Services
    • When a student has usable low vision abilities, the classroom teacher and TVI conducts a Functional Vision Assessment to determine what and how the student can see. This information offers the education staff information regarding instructional strategies and materials that will benefit the student's ability to participate in the education process.
  • Recreation Services
    • Adapted Physical Education is an educational program that focuses on each student individually while being taught in a small group setting of 5 to 8 students. To learn more about our Adapted Physical Education Program please visit:
      In our residential programs Recreation Therapists develop monthly calendars of recreation/leisure activities available to all residential students. Among the most successful of these programs is Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Crafts, Story Telling, Weightlifting, and Swimming. It is our intent to offer experiences that offer choice making and develop specific skills of interest.

      The emphasis of the Art Therapy program at the NYSSB is to know each student on an individual level and to draw forth the maximum potential in each student. Through a multi-sensory approach students are given the opportunity to develop skills, and express their unique experience of the world. The emphasis in art therapy is sometimes placed on the process or all that occurs within the art experience. The real therapeutic aspect is in creating the work of art.

      To learn more about Art therapy please visit
      In Music Therapy, music is used as a tool to help motivate our students to maintain, increase or to learn new skills which will enhance their lives. Skills that are learned in Music Therapy will be carried over into the student’s daily routine. Students participate in either group or individual Music Therapy sessions as determined through evaluation by the music therapist, who determines a students needs.
      To learn more about music therapy please visit:

  • Summer/Day Camps and After-school Programs
    • Recreational therapists develop individual/group activities including after-school programs focusing on IEP skill development.
  • Support for Parents
    • The parents of the NYS School for the Blind have a Family Association that attempts to meet at several times a year for learning, to plan fundraising and special activities, and to participate in school wide events. To learn more please visit:
  • Support Groups
    • The parents of the NYS School for the Blind have a Family Association that attempts to meet at several times a year for learning, to plan fundraising and special activities, and to participate in school wide events. To learn more please visit:
  • Travel/Orientation and Mobility
    • Student's receive training in one or more of the following:
      • Basic concepts
      • Motor, cognitive, communication and social skills necessary for O & M travel
      • Body and spatial awareness
      • Sensory awareness
      • Laterality and directionality
      • Awareness & localization of sounds and smells
      • Identification of textures and terrain
      • Indoor travel skills
      • Identification and use of landmarks, clues, and cues
      • Trailing and self-protective techniques
      • Sighted guide techniques
      • Safe travel in familiar buildings (school)
      • Outdoor travel skills
      • Techniques for using a long cane
      • Techniques for using low vision and/or travel devices
      • Safe travel in a residential neighborhood
      • Travel in a business environment
      • Appropriate use of public transportation
      • Safe travel on and off campus/in the community
      • Social, self-advocacy and consumer skills for making purchases
      To learn more, please visit:
      If a child needs to develop the pre-requisite skills required for direct O & M instruction, a classroom instructor and various staff members, who have received in-service in the proper O & M skills and techniques, will teach their student's these pre-requisite skills under the O&M instructors consultation and guidance.

Services for Professionals

  • Consultation/Technical Program Assistance
    • Refers and provides consultation to other agencies for other counseling/social work services.
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