Inside our school

Meet a deafblind student

At 9-years-old, Natalie is working hard on building self-advocacy skills. Here’s an inside look at how that learning happens, and the teachers who work with her every day.

Committed to each and every student.

Martha Majors Former Education Director, Deafblind Program

“Our students are resilient and eager to learn, and as leaders in deafblind education, our teachers and staff are making sure students learn, gain life skills and thrive every day with patience, creativity, compassion and dedication. We look forward to welcoming your student to our campus.”

Connecting with the world

We’re committed to exploring the endless ways students who are deafblind can connect with the world around them. We believe in a Total Communication philosophy, where any and every means of communication that works best for your student is taught and encouraged.

This approach helps us meet each student at his or her own level of communicative ability and may include any or all of the following:

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

Deafblind curriculum

The Deafblind School offers several curriculum options, each aligned with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, including English language arts, math, science and social studies. We offer both day and residential programs for students designed to support each individual student’s abilities and goals. Options include academic programs that can lead to a high school diploma for eligible students or a certificate of accomplishment, and a comprehensive vocational and transitional program for students beginning at age 14.

Our curriculum has been developed over the course of nearly two centuries of working with individuals who are deafblind. Although the curriculum reflects all that we have learned, we are always making new discoveries and embracing flexibility as innovation changes the way we teach.

A student playing with a puzzle in a classroom while his instructor looks on

Preschool (Ages 3-6)

  • Development of early language and communication
  • Play and cognitive development
  • Preschool curriculum experiences via the use of multi-sensory materials
  • Social experiences in small groups and behavior development
  • Self-help skills (toileting, eating, dressing)
  • Sensory integration

Early academics (Ages 5-12)

  • Development of early language and communication
  • Individually and developmentally based instruction focused on assisting the student to become as independent as possible
  • Cognition and early academic skills using a thematic approach based on English language arts, math, science and social studies
  • Development of play skills
  • Interactive play skills in one-on-one and small group settings
  • Social and behavior skills emphasized throughout the day
  • Experiences in the community

Academic (Ages 6-22)

  • Grade-level content
  • Language and communication
  • Full range of academic subjects including English language arts, math, science and social studies
  • Expanded core curriculum subjects such as independent living skills and vocational training
  • Recreation, leisure, social and community skills
  • High school diploma program for eligible students

Functional academic (Ages 12-22)

  • Focuses on teaching functional academic skills
  • Basic number concepts, time and money skills, sorting and matching, calendar concepts, reading and writing
  • Daily living and self-help skills (laundry skills, household chores, cooking, grocery shopping, personal hygiene)
  • Social skills
  • Leisure, recreation and community skills (indoor and outdoor play activities, bowling, movies, parks, shopping, etc.)

Life skills (Ages 12-22)

  • Teaches functional life skills geared toward increasing student independence
  • Communication skills
  • Functional skills to enhance independence in supported living and vocational environments
  • Motor skills
  • Social skills
  • Leisure, recreation and community skills
  • Daily living and self-help skills (cooking, grocery shopping, chores, laundry skills, personal hygiene, eating, toileting, etc.)

Vocational training (Ages 14 – 22)

  • Teaches work skills to prepare students for post-school adult living opportunities.
  • On-campus work training options include: recycling, filling soda machines, mail delivery, plant care, delivering supplies, coin-sorting/rolling, clerical work, etc.
  • Community-based training options are available for all students 16 and older. Placement is determined by student interests and preferences as well as their strengths.
  • Community-based work training opportunities include placements at greenhouses, recycling centers, office buildings, cafeterias, produce markets, banks, museums, malls, etc.

Support & clinical services

In addition to the academic curriculum, the services listed below are offered to our students:

  • Orientation and mobility instruction
  • Adapted physical education
  • Assistive technology
  • Independent living
  • Transition
  • Psychology
  • Behavioral consultation
  • Speech and language therapy
  • Audiology
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Social groups
  • Health services

Deafblind stories & resources

Contact Perkins

Wondering if our Deafblind Program is the right fit for your child?

We’d love to tell you more and answer your questions!

A young girl and her mother embracing with joy in front of a fountain.

Independent evaluations

Children who are deafblind will benefit from a comprehensive evaluation conducted by experts at Perkins School for the Blind. We know these children have unique learning needs — and Perkins can help.