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Deafblind Program

Educating students who are deafblind comes with a unique set of challenges and joys. Since the school's founding nearly two centuries ago, Perkins houses one of the few programs worldwide dedicated specifically to deafblind students. Perkins Deafblind Program offers a variety of curriculum options to both day and residential students from age three to 22 who are deafblind with or without additional disabilities as well as students who are deaf with additional disabilities.

A deafblind student at perkins signs with a teacher.
A deafblind student at perkins signs with a teacher.

Communication is Key!

The primary emphasis of the Deafblind Program for each student is the development of language and communication. The program supports a total communication philosophy and is committed to maximizing the communication potential of each child. Every aspect of the program revolves around communication. Regardless of whether a child is in a vocational class, adapted physical education class or the classroom, every environment and every professional holds this focus. Communication is addressed within natural environments and routines. Every child is met at his or her own level of communicative ability and a plan is developed to enhance the child's communication to ensure that communication is a positive experience.

Total communication may include all or any of the following:

  • Sign and spoken language
  • Written language
  • Braille
  • Pictures
  • Objects
  • Gestures
  • Other low and high tech augmentative communication systems

Individualization Makes the Difference

Once a student is admitted into the program, an Individual Education Plan (IEP) is developed by an interdisciplinary team including members of the student's family. The learning environment encourages the development of students' strengths and empowers them to become participating members of the community within the context of their own level of independence. As students progress, their educational program changes to accommodate their age and ability level.

Creative approaches to learning

Walk into the Deafblind Program during a typical school day and you might find some classrooms empty. Where are the students? Because teaching within natural environments is a critical component of the educational strategies used in teaching deafblind children, they are busy learning in a variety of environments outside of the classroom. The possibilities are many. They might be cooking in the kitchen, shopping at the local grocery store, planting flowers in the greenhouse, working in a cafeteria, or learning about cause and effect concepts in computer class. Regardless of the environment they are in, the activity is structured to meet the individual student's language and communication needs and incorporate the curriculum content into the activity. A sense of energy and excitement resonates through the building as students participate in an endless variety of creative activities and lessons.

There are endless ways for children who are deafblind to connect with the world around them. At Perkins, we are committed to exploring them all. Click for more information about Deafblind Curriculum Options.

A team of passionate experts

As one of the leading institutions in educating children who are deafblind, Perkins employs an experienced staff with specialized training in working with deafblind children. Whether the student focuses on basic communication and daily living skills or he or she is college bound, each student's program is geared toward maximizing his or her potential.

For more information about the Deafblind Program or on how to start the admission process, contact Barbara Mason at 617-972-7502 or email

Do you know a child with CHARGE Syndrome? You can find resources and support for families on the CHARGE Syndrome Foundation's website.