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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Perkins School for the Blind - AFB Directory Profile

General Information

Perkins School for the Blind
175 North Beacon Street
Watertown, MA 02472
(617) 924-3434 (Local)
Info@Perkins.org
http://www.Perkins.org

Brief Description

Perkins is committed to providing education and services that build productive, meaningful lives for children and adults around the world who are blind, deafblind or visually impaired with or without other disabilities.

Hours of operation: 24/7
Clients served on average per year: 104,000
Number of staff: 700
Geographic area served: Students come from all over the country but primarily New England and New York. 0-3 services are in Massachusetts only. International services in 63 countries.
Publications: Perkins produces publications in English and Spanish for families and professionals who work with people who are visually impaired.

Staff

Ed Bosso, Superintendent and Executive Director of Educational Programs, (617) 972-7866, Ed.Bosso@Perkins.org
Betsy McGinnity, Executive Director of Training & Educational Resources Program
W. David Power, President and CEO
Christopher Underwood, Associate Director of Admissions and Evaluations, (617) 972-7285, chris.underwood@perkins.org

Services Offered

Services for Adults

  • Assistive Products
    • Perkins Products, a division of Howe Press manufactures and sells the Perkins Brailler and sells other products for people who are blind or visually impaired. Evaluation and training are provided. Perkins also produces publications in English and Spanish for families and professionals who work with people who are visually impaired.
  • Computer Training/Assistive Technology
    • Offers adaptive solutions for greater independence of people of all ages who are blind, visually impaired or learning disabled.
  • Daily Living Skills/Independent Living Skills Training
    • Perkins resources for older individuals include:Braille and Talking Book Library; Adaptive Technology, a Division of Perkins Products; and Scout Information Clearinghouse on Blindness & Visual Impairment.
  • Library Services
    • Perkins Braille and Talking Book Library provides free services in braille, audio and large print formats to 24,000 patrons. Samuel B. Hayes Research Library offers the most recent and complete sources of information on the non-medical aspects of blindness and deafblindness.
  • Low Vision Services
    • The New England Eye Low Vision Clinic at Perkins provides clinical vision examinations, functional vision assessments and visual-skills training. Also provides optical or nonoptical and electronic vision devices. Works with individuals of all ages and specialized in working with individuals with multiple disabilities in making optimal use of their vision.
  • Travel/Orientation and Mobility
    • Educational Partnerships provide O&M, TVI, TDB itinerant based services within the community.

Services for Children

  • Assessment
    • Diagnostic Evaluation Services:Students who are visually impaired, deafblind, or deaf with other disabilities have unique learning needs. Formally evaluating each student’s strengths and needs allows teachers and parents to develop individualized education programs that provide the best possible learning experience for the student. Our teams of experts provide evaluations for students age three to 22 years. Evaluations assess a broad range of skills or specific areas of educational and/or clinical needs Comprised of the teaching and clinical professionals who work directly with the students enrolled in one of Perkins’ four on-campus programs (Early Learning Center, Lower School, Secondary, Deafblind), our evaluation teams have unparalleled knowledge of and experience with students who are blind, deafblind, and deaf with other disabilities.
  • Community Outreach Programs
    • Every day we strive to reach new populations beyond our campus gates, offering our skills, services and first-hand experience to professionals, caregivers and individuals who are blind, deafblind or visually impaired. Through teacher trainings, public-school support, vision care, advocacy of braille literacy and community involvement, our goal is to encourage an active, healthy and productive life for every individual we reach.

      Infant Toddler Program: This program is designed to assist children, from birth through age 3, with reaching the very first milestones in life. Our family-centered focus guides us in developing an individualized program that addresses each child’s challenges and encourages his or her strengths, while forging an equally vital partnership with the family as a whole through home visits and parent-to-parent support groups.

      Educational Partnerships Program: Committed to supporting public schools, students with visual impairment, blindness or deafblindness, and their instructors, we send itinerant teachers to students through age 22 all over Massachusetts with the goal of giving every person access to the general curriculum of each school. Educators spend time in classrooms with public school students to support their academic learning. We also offer consultation and training for educators, school districts, therapists, caregivers and families, as well as diagnostic assessments and evaluations.

      Outreach Short Courses: We immerse public school students with visual impairment or blindness in social activities, events and education structured to teach independence and self-reliance through weekend, school vacation and summer programs. We also provide at-home training and support to a small group of adults who are deafblind or blind with additional disabilities in the community. Our ever-expanding offerings include Campabilities Boston, a sports program for students, and the Co-op Program, which focuses on individuals age 18 to 22 who need job experience and independent living skills in order to become productive adults.
  • Daily Living Skills/Independent Living Skills Training
    • At Perkins Summer Programs and during school vacations, students gain independence as they develop daily living skills and acquire vocational experience. Throughout the year, we offer special opportunities like Space Camp for students who are visually impaired and the Spring Theatre Program to help students develop confidence while having transformative experiences with their peers.

      Find useful tips in developing Daily Living Skills in these Perkins Publications: School to Work is a text that assists parents in developing meaningful vocation activities as well as a template from which to develop transition portfolios for adolescent age students with significant disabilities. Clean to the Touch - Housekeeping for Teenagers and Young Adults with Visual Impairments is a manual providing easy to use step-by-step techniques.
  • Early Intervention/Infant Services
    • Infant/Toddler Program: This program is designed to assist children, from birth through age 3, with reaching the very first milestones in life. Our family-centered focus guides us in developing an individualized program that addresses each child’s challenges and encourages his or her strengths, while forging an equally vital partnership with the family as a whole through home visits and parent-to-parent support groups.
  • Education Services
    • Our expansive, 38-acre campus reverberates every day with the energy, excitement and passion of learning. Educational excellence and best practices are the result of Perkins’ pioneering work in the field of blindness, combined with an openness toward change and new ideas. Each of our programs is a commitment to helping our students develop and trust their unique perspective in life and forge their own definition of success.

      Early Learning Center: Our family-centered program meshes elements of play and early learning to address the unique, ongoing needs of each individual student and focuses on communication, orientation and mobility, as well as other physical and developmental needs. Students learn and interact in our Preschool Program,for ages 3 to 4, or our Transitional Kindergarten, for ages 5 to 6. Our program includes a special focus on preparing students for an appropriate kindergarten setting by ages 5 or 6.

      Lower School: Designed for elementary- and middle-school-age students, this program immerses students in classroom learning, combined with lessons in daily living skills, communication and travel, with a goal of greater awareness and independence. We offer traditional academics and Expanded Core Curriculum learning with an introduction to vocational work. Some students may further immerse themselves in the Perkins experience by living on campus in our residential program.

      Secondary Program:The Secondary Program consists of a four- or five-year high school, a four- to six-year non-graded program and short programs with specific purposes. We help parents, students and the Local Education Authority choose the course of study that best addresses each student's abilities and goals. Graduation from the Secondary Program may result in a high school diploma or certificate of accomplishment, depending on the course of study and guidelines for exit documents from the student's own town or state.

      The Expanded Core Curriculum addresses the disability-specific needs of students who are blind or visually impaired. It includes compensatory or functional academics skills including communication modes, orientation and mobility, social interaction skills, independent living skills, recreation and leisure skills, career education, use of assistive technology, sensory efficiency skills and self-determination.

      Our programs include:

      A traditional graded, accredited four- to five-year program leading to a high school diploma with additional course work in the Expanded Core Curriculum.

      An individual four- to six-year non-graded program that incorporates the Expanded Core Curriculum and leads to a certificate of accomplishment.

      One- to two-year programs that focus on Expanded Core Curriculum areas to help students who have completed high school prepare for higher education, independent living or a job.

      Deafblind Program: Committed to exploring the endless ways student who are deafblind can connect with the world around them, this program incorporates a Total Communication environment, where any and every means of communication that works best for each student is taught and encouraged. We offer comprehensive educational services to students age 3 to 22 who are deafblind or deaf with multiple disabilities, taking a developmental approach to language, communication and curriculum. In addition to academics and functional academics, other offerings include Expanded Core Curriculum, Clinical services, Vocational training and Transition services. Teaching occurs off campus in a natural environment as often as possible to prepare for working and living as an adult in the home community.
  • Employment/Job Training
    • All campus programs provide exposure, training and career exploration experiences. Outreach provides summer exploration program.

  • Information and Referral
    • Perkins Scout is a comprehensive resource of carefully evaluated information about blindness and visual impairments. Parents can explore hundreds of online resources on topics including “Child Development and Early Intervention,” “Family,” “Orientation and Mobility,” “Transition,” and a “Resource Directory of Massachusetts Agencies.” The site includes an interactive feature for you to share your own stories and teachable experiences.

      The Braille & Talking Book Library has Reader Advisors and a Reference Librarian who offer general information referral for people who are blind or visually impaired.

      The Samuel P. Hayes Research Library, founded in 1880, offers the largest and most comprehensive collection on the nonmedical aspects of blindness and deafblindness that is available to the public.

      Through Perkins Publications, parents can purchase texts, resource guides, and books in a variety of subject areas.

      Conferences on a variety of topics including early intervention, preschool-age, and the issue of transition from school to adult life offer valuable information and resources to parents with children of all ages.
  • Library Services
    • The Braille & Talking Book Library provides talking books, talking book machines, large-print books, audiocassettes, braille books, downloadable audiobooks, described videos and Newsline service for people who are blind or visually impaired or have a physical disability or organically based reading disability.
  • Low Vision Services
    • New England Eye Low Vision Clinic at Perkins: As one of the region’s few facilities that serves patients of all ages with multiple disabilties, our Clinic provides primary and consultative eye care for infants, children and adults who have visual, physical and/ or cognitive disabilities. For more than 20 years we have served Perkins students and individuals from across the US and other countries who seek the expertise practiced at our Watertown campus.
  • Preschool Programs
    • Evaluations, individualized instruction and support services for children ages 3-6 provided through on-campus Deafblind and Early Learning Center programs.
  • Support for Parents
    • Perkins Scout is a comprehensive resource of carefully evaluated information about blindness and visual impairments. Parents can explore hundreds of online resources on topics including “Child Development and Early Intervention,” “Family,” “Orientation and Mobility,” “Transition,” and a “Resource Directory of Massachusetts Agencies.”

      Conferences on a variety of topics including early intervention, preschool-age, and the issue of transition from school to adult life offer valuable information and resources to parents with children of all ages.

      Perkins Assistive Device Center creates customized materials for children with disabilities. Hundreds of professionals, parents and university students have attended workshops at Perkins and around New England led by Assistive Device Center professionals.

      Through Perkins Publications, parents can purchase texts, resource guides, and books in a variety of subject areas.

      Early Intervention: The Infant/Toddler Program (0-3 years) We provide a three-tiered approach to helping families from the very beginning: on-campus education, parent support groups, and services to infants and toddlers in the home and community settings.

      The Early Learning Center (3-6 years): We provide a comprehensive preschool/kindergarten readiness program designed to prepare children with visual impairments with and without additional disabilities with the foundational skills essential for learning.

      Community-based Support (3-22 years) We can bring our expertise to your child's school. We partner with New England school systems, families and educators to ensure your child is receiving the specialized services he or she needs.

      Supports day and evening parent groups. Works closely with NAPVI, whose headquaters are on campus. Outreach programs have parent training component.

      Provides consultation, counseling, conferences and in-service training for parents and families.

Services for Professionals

  • Consultation/Technical Program Assistance
    • Provides consultation, technical assistance and training for the development of programs and services for children who are deaf-blind or multihandicapped blind in the United States and in developing countries through the Hilton/Perkins Program. Provides consultation services to professionals and agencies that provide direct services for children who are deaf-blind and their families throughout New England. Provides consultation to community-based early intervention programs.
  • Professional Training
    • Perkins Training Center supports conferences, professional development workshops, in-service training, and courses, for vision and early intervention professionals, school teachers, elder-care providers, medical professionals, community resources, parents, and family members. These programs are offered both on and off campus and topics are selected in collaboration with community partners.
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