At MSB, occupational therapists help students to do their best in school activities, and work with teachers, residential staff, other therapists, and parents to help carry out and implement best practices to provide each student with an optimum learning environment so they may become as independent as possible.
Occupational therapy (OT) services are provided to students based on assessment results and agreed on by the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) team. Services can be provided in a variety of ways including direct and/or indirect, in the classroom, on campus residential settings or in the OT clinic.
OT services are available in the following areas:
- Self care skills
- Adaptive equipment
- Task analysis
- Environmental accommodations
- Work related tasks/skills development
- Upper extremity skills
- Hand function
- Fine motor skills
- Motor planning
- Home management
- Telephone use
- Money management
- Time management
- Housekeeping skills
- Play skills
- Leisure skills/self-occupation
- Concept development
- Sensory/tactile assessment
- Sensory profiles
- Sensory diets/accommodations
- Organizational skills
- Environmental access
- Visual perception
- Parental education/communication
- Staff training and assessment
Orientation & Mobility
Safe travel is only achieved when a student learns how to integrate both their orientation and mobility skills as they move through their environment. Traveling is about safety – and safe travel leads to independence!
Our Orientation and Mobility (O&M) specialists teach students of all ages and abilities how to travel safely – on campus, in the community, in their homes, at their job sites, and any place they need or want to go.
O&M is offered as an IEP related service for our students, and is also available statewide to students with visual impairments who attend any public or private school in Maryland.
Lessons are geared to meet each child’s individual needs and abilities, and can be scheduled during the day or evening hours
O&M skills are taught by trained specialists on a one-to-one basis. Through a sequence of lessons, instruction focuses on sensory awareness, concept development, spatial concepts, orientation skills, sighted guide travel techniques, functional use of vision, public transportation, and long cane travel.
MSB’s Physical Therapy team strives to ensure all students with disabilities participate in, and benefit from, their learning environment with the fewest possible restrictions.
We address the neurophysiological, sensory-motor, and developmental functions that affect a child’s ability to acquire skills and benefit from the educational process.
MSB’s Physical Therapists:
- Screen and assess students to determine the need for services and recommend strategies, adaptations and/or modifications that support the educational program
- Participate in IEP development
- Provide recommended therapy services
- Determine equipment/assistive technology needs and training
- Consult with school staff, family members, and other service providers
- Participate in transition planning for students leaving MSB
We collaborate on:
- Facility design and modification for accessibility
- Program and curriculum modifications
- Equipment and technology
- School-related transportation
- Emergency evacuation of students with physical disabilities
And, we offer training to:
- Staff and families who manage students with physical disabilities
- Bus drivers and attendants who transport students with physical disabilities
- Physical therapy interns who work with children educational settings
The Psychology Department at MSB is dedicated to helping our students succeed academically, socially and emotionally. Staffed by licensed psychologists and behavioral specialists, our focus is to enhance the educational experience for our students.
MSB’s Psychological Therapy teams:
- Assess and identify cognitive, social/emotional and other mental health challenges that can interfere with a student’s ability to learn
- Develop treatment plans to maximize a student’s ability to engage in their educational program
- Provide psychological counseling
- Design and implement behavior management programs
- Help staff and families understand a student’s development and how it impacts learning and behavior
- Consult with staff and families about strategies for enhancing learning and behavior management
Social Work Services
MSB’s Social Work Service provides services related to a student’s social, emotional and life adjustment to school and/or society. Our social workers are the link between home, school and the community in providing direct, as well as indirect services to students, their families and school personnel in order to promote and support our students’ academic and social success.
The Social Work Service works as part of a student’s interdisciplinary team and serves an integral part of the pre-admission process as a student enters The Maryland School for the Blind.
Services provided by the Social Work Service include:
- Clinical counseling
- Crisis intervention services
- Social skills training (group and individual)
- Staff consultation and training
- Parent training including advocacy and psycho-education
- Comprehensive diagnostic assessments
- Coordination of community resources
- Networking groups for families, such as sibling support groups, parent education and extended family events
- Case management for students and families requiring multiple resources
Speech and Language Therapy
Communication is a critical life skill and our students need to communicate to understand, learn, share information, express needs, preferences and ideas as well as to express feelings and ask questions.
MSB’s Speech and Language department is committed to providing the highest quality speech, language, and communication services within language enriched learning environments.
Our therapists maximize progress in speech, oral motor skills, eating, overall communication and language areas by combining the latest research and most innovative treatment methods.
Individually tailored programs are created to best meet the needs of each student. Treatment may be provided individually or in small groups integrated in the classroom or in traditional pull out sessions.
Our highly qualified, proficient, innovative, and caring speech language pathologists are dedicated to working in collaboration with family members and staff to ensure students learn to their fullest communicative potential.
Adaptive Physical Education is specially designed instruction to meet the students’ individual needs and abilities in a physical activity setting. We are a direct service under the education program that is provided to all students who attend MSB. Our program emphasizes small group instruction with modifications that meet the students individual needs to promote student independence. APE instruction includes but is not limited to: Gross Motor Skills, Team Sports/Games, Fitness, Swimming, etc. Collaboration with classroom staff, therapists, and related services is an integral part to assure student success in our APE program. Our goal is to help the students become physically active throughout their lifetime.
MSB’s AT department provides training, support and strategies for using the most current assistive technologies in functional daily activities for students, family members and staff who have visual impairments, including those with multiple disabilities.
Many MSB students have multiple disabilities, so a high emphasis is placed on meeting the needs of those students through the use of AT devices. These devices help nonverbal students communicate, learn functional life skills, access computers and other equipment, maximize limited motor skills, and meet class and homework needs. AT staff work with students in classroom and residential settings and partner with staff by providing resources and ideas for integrating assistive devices into the curriculum.
Devices used by our students include:
- iPads with tactile overlays and manipulatives
- Portable note takers with braille displays and speech output
- Print reading machines with speech output, talking spellers and dictionaries
- Digital players for audiobooks
- Talking calculators
- Electronic Magnifiers to magnify text to allow reading and writing in large print
- Scanners, screen readers, screen enlargers, and braille translation programs, equipment and software
- Touch screen computers, alternative keyboards, and switch interfaces
- Environmental controls and switches to operate a variety of toys and appliances
- Low tech adaptations for art activities
- Communication devices
Educational Audiology Services include evaluation and monitoring of personal and classroom amplification systems; identification and evaluation of access to educational content; collaboration with other related service professionals; training and support of educators and para-educators; and provision of age-appropriate screening services as required by MSDE.
MSB’s Health Center is staffed by nurses who have years of experience in pediatric nursing. The manager of the health services department is an RN. Nurses are on duty whenever students are on campus, which is 24 hours per day from Sunday evening until Friday after school.
Our Medical Director is a pediatrician and the Coordinator of our clinic services is also an RN. Consultant physicians and other professionals provide clinic services in Ophthalmology, Neurology, Orthopedics, Nutrition, Pediatric Medicine and Pediatric and Adolescent Psychiatry on an as-needed basis for our students.
Members of the health services staff strive to work cooperatively with the student, family, community healthcare provider and other team members to meet the student’s health care needs.
MSB’s Transition program assists students and their families as they prepare to leave school and move to:
- Post-secondary education
- Vocational training
- Integrated employment (including supported employment)
- Continuing education
- Adult services
- Independent living
- Community participation
As students complete their educational entitlement programs, they enter the adult service world of eligibility, where individuals may be deemed eligible for services based on agency guidelines and funding availability. Establishing linkages with adult funding agencies such as the Developmental Disabilities Administrations (DDA) and the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) is an integral part of transitioning and learning to navigate the adult service world.