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for the Blind

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South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired - AFB Directory Profile

General Information

South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
423 17th Avenue SE
Aberdeen, SD 57401-7699
(605) 626-2580 (Local)
(605) 626-2607 (Fax)
(888) 275-3814 (Toll-Free)

Brief Description

Preparing students to step forward with confidence and a vision of lifetime success: The South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (SDSBVI) has been designated by state law to provide a variety of services to meet the individual needs of students in South Dakota who are visually impaired, blind, or deaf-blind. As a part of the state’s educational system, the school does not charge for tuition, room, and board or fees for any services provided by the school or staff, including educational assessments. We encourage you to tour the school or talk with us about our services.

Hours of operation: Mon.-Fri. 8:00 AM-5:00 PM.
Clients served on average per year: 200
Number of staff: 52
Staff description: All program staff are certified or state licensed in their areas of expertise.
Geographic area served: South Dakota. Out of state tuition students.
Publications: Newsletter: Pioneer, Wagon Trails Brochures: General Information, Outreach Services & Transition Services


Jodi Carlsgaard, Principal, (605) 626-2580,
Clauden Hluchy, Business Manager, (605) 626-2580,
Marjorie Kaiser, Superintendent, (605) 626-2580,
Dawn LaMee, Liaison for Services, (605) 626-2580,
Janel Ludwig, Student Services Director, (605) 626-2580,
Deb Mitchell, Director of Human Resources, (605) 626-2580,

Services Offered

Services for Children

  • Assessment
    • The SDSBVI does comprehensive evaluations for children on the campus in Aberdeen. Generally these evaluations are scheduled Monday-Wednesday three weeks each month. In addition to evaluating academic achievement, we focus on the skills in the Expanded Core Curriculum. Parents (and when possible) public school teachers are on campus during the evaluation.
  • Braille and Reading Instruction
    • Direct instruction in braille is provided to all students as determined by their IEP team, either during the school year or the summer program.
  • Community Outreach Programs
    • Our Outreach Vision Consultants are located in Aberdeen (2), Mitchell(1) and Spearfish (1). Each provides consultation and loans materials to parents and teachers, visiting home and schools on a frequency determined by the Individual Family Service Plan or Individual Educational Plan.

      We also have a Low Vision Specialist who provides training in the use of magnification and lighting to maximize visual function in the classroom.

      A Transition Specialist works with families, schools and adult VI services to help with transition planning and job experiences.

      Outreach Vision Consultants assist parents and local schools in providing appropriate educational programs, on-site visits, in-service training, educational materials and resources. Services in Aberdeen, Sioux Falls and Spearfish.
  • Computer Training/Assistive Technology
    • Training in use of computers using a variety of assistive techology is provided on the campus in Aberdeen during the school year and the summer program.
  • Counseling
    • The SDSBVI has a certified counselor/psychological examiner who conducts evaluations. The counselor also works with families, provides individual and group counseling to students, implements social skill instruction, works with behavorial interventions. Provides social evaluation, psychological testing and evaluation, individual and group counseling.
  • Daily Living Skills/Independent Living Skills Training
    • All students receive instruction in daily living skills in the classroom and in the dormitories both during the school year and summer program. Students help prepare breakfast daily, learn to do their laundry, and clean their rooms. There are many opportunities for working on these skills in the community.

      Older students have an opportunity to live in an on-campus apartment, where they can further perfect their skills.
  • Early Intervention/Infant Services
    • These services are coordianted with the Birth-Three program in SD. The Outreach Vision Consultants are included on the Individual Family Service Plans and provide services in the home or other designated location. They loan educational materials, toys to the children and information share resources with the parents.
  • Education Services
    • The SDSBVI provides a full educational program on the campus in Aberdeen during the nine-month school year. Students may enroll as day students or take part in the residential program. In addition to academic courses, students learn the skills in the Expanded Core Curriculum (skills necessary for students with vision loss). Students have Individual Education Plans which are reviewed annually with parents.

      This program has been accredited by the state of SD since 1935. We are also accredited by the AdvancED.
  • Employment/Job Training
    • Students generally begin with jobs on campus and then in the Aberdeen Community. The SDSBVI takes part in the Project Skills program through vocational rehabilitation that pays the salaries (and workman's comp)for students as they gain job experience. Job coaches are provided as needed when students are placed in community employment.
  • Health
    • General health services are provided on campus to students by the school nurses. They manage and dispense medications and take students to local appointments.
  • Information and Referral
    • This is a primary task for our Outreach Vision Consultants, but all faculty and staff provide resources to parents and local schools. We work cooperatively with other state/private agencies and local schools to determine resources as needed.
  • Low Vision Services
    • The SDSBVI has a full time Low Vision Specialist (nationally certified Low Vision Therapist). The Low Vision Specialist works with students to understand how they use their vision in the classrooma and community, follows through with training on any prescribed low vision devices, and helps students learn to understand their eye condition and advocate for their visual needs.
  • Preschool Programs
    • The SDSBVI offers an on-campus program for area preschool students.
  • Recreation Services
    • Recreational programs are provided through the residential program during the school year and during the summer program (June and July). In addition students may participate in track, goal ball, swimming, forensics and music. Students are offered a wide variety of experiences in the community. There are opportunities for students to explore their own interests (ranging from knitting to Tai Kwando). Offers after-school programs, arts and crafts, bowling, swimming, track, wrestling, rifle club, cross country skiing.
  • Summer/Day Camps and After-school Programs
    • The SDSBVI offers a six-week summer program that runs for three weeks in June and three in July. The emphasis of the program is maintaining skills and working on the Expanded Core Curriculum (skills of blindness) that are generally not available in public school programs in SD. The summer program helps local school districts meet the FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education)requirement under federal law (IDEA). The summer program is written into the student's IEP and is conducted by our faculty and residnetial program staff.
  • Support for Parents
    • Outreach Vision Consultants, Low Vision Specialist and Transition Specialist are available to provide support for parents. The on-campus staff will also provide assistance.

      Parents often invited to vision-related in-service training sponsored by the SDSBVI.
  • Support Groups
    • SD started a NAPVI chapter this past year. The families meet once a month. There are speakers on topics selected by the parents and special activities are planned for families.
  • Travel/Orientation and Mobility
    • The SDSBVI has five certified Orientation and Mobility Instructors. O&M is written into the IEP for all on campus students as determined by the IEP team. Instruction takes place in the school building, on campus, and in the community, with students learning the skills to travel safely and efficiently. Students learn to access local transportation and conduct business in the community. GPS training is available.

Services for Professionals

  • Professional Training
    • Provides internship/field placement, low vision, orientation and mobility, special education and offers regular in-service training programs, open to enrollment from other agencies.
South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, is this page missing one of your services, events, programs, or announcements? Update your information for free.

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