Visually Impaired Department
Language and Accessibility
MSDB embraces an approach to educating students who are blind or visually impaired that leads to independence.
The education in the Visually Impaired Department believes in:
- Expanding our own skills and resources in our toolboxes in educating students
- Meeting students at their level
- Giving students as many choices and options as possible for success
- Encouraging students to develop skills from all areas of the Expanded Core Curricular
- Using assessments to determine accommodations and accessibility needs
- Encouraging students to self-advocate
Our Uniqueness in Education
There are many reasons to consider MSDB as a placement option for education. MSDB offers smaller class sizes than public schools depending on the subject. Teachers and Paraeducators spend quality time instructing students in small groups or individually.
We also offer mainstreaming opportunities for students based on IEP Team recommendations. Our public school mainstreaming schools are Lewis and Clark Elementary and East Middle School, which are both located across the street. For high school students, classes can be taken at Great Falls High School (GFHS). Transportation to and from GFHS is provided by MSDB.
Our Uniqueness in Direct Instruction and Peer Interactions
Many of our staff, from the Business Office to the Student Life Staff to the Visually Impaired Department, have learned how to interact with every student on campus who is blind or visually impaired by using direction-specific language (left, right, or cardinal directions), have had an introduction to human guide techniques, and know to speak first and say their name. Staff, including Support Staff, in the Visually Impaired Department provide direct accessible instruction to students to facilitate deeper understanding and learning. Students have direct academic and social interactions with their peers who are like them. Students have access to role models who are blind and visually impaired who are successful employees, including Teachers and Student Life Staff, who are blind or visually impaired.
In response to ‘how do you like this school and the accommodations that you have’, one student responded, “Well, I like this school. The accommodations here aren’t really accommodations. They are just normal. Everybody uses them.”
~ Tevon, a current student
Our Uniqueness in Staff
Most of our teachers in the Visually Impaired (VI) Department are certified Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments (TVIs) who are specifically trained in working with students who are blind or visually impaired. We have Teachers and Paraeducators who are blind or visually impaired and serve as role models. Many staff members have worked at MSDB for over 5, 10, and 15+ years, which shows the dedication our staff have to our students and to each other.
Our Uniqueness in Related Services
Our Support Staff provide instruction in foundational skills so students are able to access the curriculum. Related Service providers include our Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, Speech and Language Pathologist, School Counselor, School Psychologist, Behavioral Specialist, and Audiologist. See the Support Staff page for more information about these services.