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, evenings, weekends, and 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 Education Agencies (LEA) as needed. 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. Services are billed every month to the LEA.
MSB provides diagnostic assessments on a fee-for-service to the LEA or an individual basis in several areas to better understand a student’s functioning, specifically as it is impacted by vision or the inter-relationship of vision with additional vision disabilities. Assessments are customized to the individual student’s 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
- Education – academic performance, compensatory skills, and Learning Media Assessment
- Psychology – cognitive functioning, behavioral/adaptive functioning
- Assistive Technology
- Orientation and Mobility
- Activities of Daily Living
In conjunction with local school staff and parents, MSB Outreach staff can provide on-site observation and collaboration regarding issues 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 to 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 and 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.
Examples of short courses we have conducted in the past include:
- 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
Contact Amanda Aaron for more information about Short Courses or Workshops: email@example.com
Social Work Support Services
Individual student and family social work consulting 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, school, or in-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. It will also incorporate large print, braille, and other strategies into all aspects of the team.
For more information or to join the team, contact Gina Fugate at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maryland Regional Braille Challenge
Braille is an essential key to literacy! It allows reading enjoyment, 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 take the tests. Teachers and school staff are invited to assist with test proctoring and scoring and help to facilitate the day.
Students whose test scores qualify for the National Braille Challenge will be invited to compete at the annual competition held at the Braille Institute in Los Angeles, CA, each June.
For more information or to sign up contact: Jacqueline Otwell at email@example.com