Outreach Student Activities

Short Courses, Counseling and Braille Challenge

Short Course Programs

Due to their unique needs, blind and visually impaired students often require deliberate instruction in skill areas beyond the core curriculum that are crucial for success in life.  These skill areas are part of the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) and include: compensatory or functional academic 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; and self-determination.

Because it is difficult to address these needs in a typical academic school day, MSB offers short course programs to students (1st-12th grade) monthly on weekends throughout the school year and during the summer to promote skill development in the nine areas of the ECC.  During the school year, short courses vary in length from 1 -3 days.   During the summer, we provide 1-4 week intensive programs in specific academic and ECC skill areas.  Our short courses are taught by highly trained and highly qualified MSB staff as well as staff from county vision programs around the state and other organizations that provide services to the visually impaired population.  Some of these programs may include a small charge. Short courses can be provided on the MSB campus or regionally.

Below is a list of short courses that can be provided upon request:

  • Take Me Out to the Ballgame – includes a multi-sensory tour of Camden Yards in Baltimore and instruction in beep ball
  • Building Everyone’s Safety Techniques (BEST) – instruction in improving self-awareness, coping with stranger danger and bullying and basic self-defense
  • Holiday Cooking/Crafts Make ‘n Take – multi-sensory fun with holiday cookie decorating and arts and crafts for the students to explore and take home (offered in November-December only)
  • Adapted Sports and Fitness – instruction in adapted sports specifically designed for the visually impaired population as well as strategies to adapt regular sports activities and backyard games
  • “Looking Good” – instruction in hygiene and daily living skills using adaptations for low vision and blindness (provided separately to girls and boys)
  • Spring Fling – hands on instruction in popular dances to prepare students for school dances and proms
  • “Top Cook” – instruction in planning and preparing main course dishes with adapted cooking tools and strategies
  • “Dessert Boss” – instruction in planning and preparing tasty desserts with adapted baking tools and strategies
  • Family Adventure Weekend – fun outdoor multi-sensory activities for families and students to engage in together at one of the many local area parks
  • Braille Carnival – designed to raise awareness about Braille by having Braille readers, and print readers who are curious about braille.  Participants will enjoy a variety of carnival themed activities to practice braille skills.
  • Social Networking – instruction in safely accessing popular networking sites for visually impaired students
For more information or to schedule a short course, contact:

Ruth Ann Hynson, Director of Statewide Outreach Services
410.319.5726 | ruthh@mdschblind.org


Individual student and/or family counseling can be provided by a licensed clinical social worker to address social emotional issues related to the impact of vision loss on educational performance and daily life as well as other family or environmental stressors. Services can be provided at MSB, in school or in the home with the family.

For more information, contact:

Ruth Ann Hynson, Director of Statewide Outreach Services
410.319.5726 | ruthh@mdschblind.org

Braille Challenge

Braille is an important key to literacy! It allows for the enjoyment of reading, leads to school success, and opens the doors to future employment. Each year in February, students who read braille in grade Pre-K through grade 12 are invited to participate in the Maryland Regional Braille Challenge reading and writing contests. Parents are invited to participate in workshops about current topics related to visual impairment , the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) and education, while students are taking the tests. Teachers and school staff are invited to assist with test proctoring and scoring and helping to facilitate the day.

Students whose test scores qualify for the National Braille Challenge will be invited to compete at the annual competition which is held at the Braille Institute in Los Angeles, CA each June.

For more information, contact:

Jackie Otwell
410.444.5000, ext. 1488 | jacquelineo@mdschblind.org