Our on-campus and off-campus Outreach services provide instruction in all areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum. These services are provided during the school day, but also on evenings, weekends and throughout the summer.
In addition to student-specific services, we also provide on-site and regional consultation, assessment, and training for parents and educational professionals to support student success. Most services are provided free of charge.
Direct Instruction, Assessment and Consultation Services
MSB offers a contractual Teacher of the Visually Impaired and Orientation and Mobility services to local school systems on an as needed basis. Services are provided by highly qualified Teachers of the Visually Impaired and Orientation and Mobility Specialists. MSB recruits and provides oversight and accountability for contractual staff.
The cost for these services can be obtained by contacting the individuals listed below. Related travel to and from the local school district and between schools is at the prevailing IRS rate (currently $.56 cents per mile). Contractual staff will provide student evaluations and consultations as well attend IEP meetings and department meetings as work schedules allow. Charges are billed on a monthly basis.
MSB provides diagnostic assessments on a fee for service (see below) basis in several areas to provide a better understanding of a student’s functioning, specifically as it is impacted by vision or the inter-relationship of vision with additional disabilities. Assessments are customized to the individual student needs and provide valuable information to design and implement an effective educational program. They are offered in the following areas:
- Low Vision – functional use of vision and clinical assessment < link to Low Vision Services here >
- Education – academic performance, compensatory skills and Learning Media Assessment
- Psychology – cognitive functioning, behavioral/adaptive functioning
- Assistive Technology
- Orientation and Mobility
- Activities of Daily Living
Assessments in the areas of fine motor, gross motor and speech/language can be provided on a case by case basis.
In conjunction with local school staff and parents, MSB Outreach staff can provide on-site observation and collaboration regarding issues that are impacting student performance and progress within their local school programs. Our consultative services are designed to provide information and suggestions for strategies, accommodations and interventions that can promote student success within their local school programs. Consultation can be provided in all areas listed under Diagnostic Assessment
Outreach Student Activities
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
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.
School Year Activities for Students
FIRST Lego League Robotics Team
Students ages 9-14 can join MSB’s Outreach Robotics team, 180 Optimum, which competes annually in the FIRST Lego League (FLL) Challenge. FLL emphasizes Core Values, Research and Robotics. The team will work together to code a Lego robot using Quorum, an accessible programming language, and will also incorporate large print, braille and other strategies into all aspects of the team.
Maryland Regional 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.