MSDB offers a variety of enriching summer programs for students and their families.
- Family Learning Weekends offer opportunities for families to draw support from one another as well as from MSDB staff and other experts.
- Summer Camp is a chance for students who attend school in their home communities and those who attend MSDB to come together for a week to socialize with their peers, develop independence, and learn new communication and technology skills.
Family Learning Weekends
One Family Learning Weekend is designated for families of deaf and hard of hearing children, and one is for families of blind and visually impaired children. These popular weekends include dynamic national speakers and a wealth of information on learning to relate to their child’s unique needs.
Learning Weekend for Families of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children
Dates for this year are June 7-9, 2024.
The Learning Weekend for Families of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children is a creative program that provides opportunities for families to learn about deafness, share their experiences with other families, and learn how to communicate more fully with their child in a warm, caring atmosphere.
The purpose of the weekend is to enhance each family’s personal knowledge of deafness and how it relates to the education and development of their child. We accomplish this through informal workshops, group discussions and hands-on activities. Participants benefit from the wealth of information that is presented by audiologists, computer specialists, transition specialists, speech therapists, teachers of the deaf, sign language specialists, assistive technology specialists, parents, and especially from interacting with each other.
The weekend includes separate activities for children of all ages and their siblings.
Learning Weekend for Families of Blind and Visually Impaired Children
Dates for this year are May 31 – June 2, 2024.
The Learning Weekend for Families of Blind and Visually Impaired Children is designed to be both informative and empowering for families. The weekend provides opportunities for families to learn about blindness and visual impairment, share their experiences with other families, and communicate with one another in a warm and caring atmosphere.
Participants include families, professionals, and children of all ages, both blind and visually impaired, and their siblings. A wealth of information is presented by various experts, including technology and computer specialists, transition specialists, teachers of students who are visually impaired, orientation and mobility specialists, and most importantly, parents.
MSDB offers two week-long camps – one for blind and visually impaired students and one for deaf and hard of hearing students. The camps, for students from around the state, offer skill-building in the key areas of communication, social interaction, independent living, and the use of technology.
The camps include structured leisure and recreational activities, such as trips to the local water park, Great Falls baseball games, and the historical, art, and children’s museums in Great Falls. The Montana School for the Deaf & the Blind has a complete recreation complex, where campers can swim and enjoy other group activities. For the blind and visually impaired students, learning these activities can be powerful accomplishments.
Deaf Summer Camp is June 16-22, 2024.
Deaf Camp is for deaf and hard of hearing students between the ages of 9-14 (7 and 8 year-olds will be considered on a case-by-case basis). This week-long program offers a great opportunity for deaf and hard of hearing children who attend schools in their home districts to be with other children who communicate like they do. This is a powerful antidote to the isolation deaf and hard of hearing students experience. It also gives them an opportunity to further develop their language skills.
Visually Impaired Summer Skills Program
VI Summer Skills Camp is June 23-29, 2024.
The Visually Impaired Summer Skills Program is open to blind and visually impaired students, ages 9-16. Participants learn a wide range of living skills, which builds self confidence. They cook their meals, do laundry, learn to sew, plan menus, shop, and use public transportation. They learn new orientation and mobility skills, which can dramatically increase their independence. They learn new communication skills, including Braille, JAWS – a computer program that reads information on the screen aloud – as well as other assistive technology. They play pool, and bowl, and overcome obstacles to living as other students do, all the while enjoying the company of other students who are blind or visually impaired, which greatly increases their sense of connection.
The camp, room, board and entertainment is at no cost. Transportation is not automatically provided by MSDB. Mileage may be reimbursed to the families. This summer, as in the past, the Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI), MSDB, and the MSDB Foundation have co-sponsored summer programs at MSDB.
If you would like additional information on any of these programs, please contact MSDB at email@example.com.