Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind (AIDB) was established in 1858 and provides education and rehabilitation services in all 67 counties of Alabama to more than 22,500 deaf, blind and multidisabled infants, children, adults and seniors. Programs include Alabama School for the Deaf, Alabama School for the Blind, Helen Keller School (for children who are deaf and blind with multiple disabilities), E. H. Gentry Technical Facility (a postsecondary rehabilitation program for adults) and Alabama Industries for the Blind (providing job training and employment opportunities for blind and deaf adults). A network of regional centers – providing early intervention for infants and children, and interpreter, counseling, technology and education services for adults and seniors – are located in Birmingham, Dothan, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery, Talladega, Tuscaloosa and Tuscumbia.
AIDB is the nation’s most comprehensive education and service program of its kind in the country and through a consolidated administrative structure commands the best use of financial and human resources, expertise, facilities and specialized equipment to benefit individuals who are deaf and blind.
AIDB is governed by a Board of Trustees appointed by the Governor to represent each Alabama Congressional District plus three members appointed at large to represent individuals who are deaf and/or blind.
AIDB services are free to Alabama residents who are deaf or blind.
Working with a total budget of more than $80 million in state and federal funds and sales revenue, AIDB generates an annual payroll of $49.9 million and an economic impact of $184 million. We place a strong emphasis on accountability in financial management, program innovation and measurable outcomes.
AIDB’s Funding Source is Unique…
By law AIDB does not receive revenue from tuition or local tax. State and federal law guarantees children and adults with disabilities the right to a free and appropriate public education. AIDB cannot charge tuition or room and board as colleges and universities do. And as a state entity, AIDB does not receive revenue from local taxes as virtually all city and county public schools do each year. Approximately ninety percent of funding for AIDB’s schools and services’ budget is provided through an appropriation from the Alabama Legislature.
AIDB is state and nationally accredited. Teachers and professionals are certified at master’s levels in their area of academic expertise and carry an additional certification in deafness, vision or special education.
Alabama School for the Deaf (ASD) is accredited by the AdvanceED/Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the Conference of Educational Administrators Serving the Deaf (CEASD).
Alabama School for the Blind (ASB) and the Helen Keller School of Alabama (HKS) are accredited by AdvancED/SACS.
The E. H. Gentry program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).
AIDB’s Instructional Resource Center for the Blind
AIDB’s Instructional Resource Center for the Blind provides Braille and large-print books, materials and other services to all blind and visually impaired students in Alabama – at AIDB and public schools. They also operate a Braille and large print production service for textbooks and other print resources.
The AIDB Foundation
The Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind Foundation was created in 1980 as a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization created to encourage private support for AIDB’s charitable, educational, research and training programs. The Foundation provides funding for a vast array of programs and projects at AIDB including major construction and renovation of facilities, development of new and expanding programs and experiences in professional development, academics, student life, outreach, and the arts. The AIDB Hawkins Chapel and the Marianna Greene Henry Special Equestrian Arena are also funded through the AIDB Foundation. Endowment opportunities exist in seven major areas.
What others say about AIDB…
From the news media…
The Wall Street Journal cited AIDB as a “striking example of how disabilities can be overcome…”
Time Magazine called AIDB a “model in the education of the disabled.”
A National Geographic article pointed out that at AIDB “what might pass for a disability elsewhere can pass here without much notice”.
AIDB has also been featured in National Geographic, People, Biography, USA Today, The New York Times, the National Enquirer, on CNN, international television in Korea, South America and in a 4-part mini-series on PBS.
From parents and clients…
“I asked for a list of the best schools for my deaf-blind child.. .AIDB had six stars by its name!” “When I walked on that campus I could just feel the love there…”
“I wanted an academic program where my child would not be different and where she could get the best education possible.. .because I expect my child to go to college…”
Questions from Parents Regarding Campus Enrollment
What if my child gets homesick at school?
It’s normal for children to miss their families. Our dormitory and teaching staff are experienced and concerned with your child’s well-being. When children are homesick, they can call their family via phone, videophone or TDD. Usually, children’s schedules are full, and busy children are less likely to feel homesick. They have discovered an exciting new world where they interact on an equal footing with their peers, and this is just about the best cure for homesickness. Often parents suffer as much or more from homesickness as their children; we encourage you to be involved in your child’s school life as much as possible.
Can my child live at home and attend AIDB schools?
Yes, we have a day school option. But, often students enjoy an extensive recreational program in addition to the clubs, athletic programs and leadership opportunities scheduled for after school hours.
How often can children come home from school?
Even with all this activity, there is no substitute for family. Every third weekend, a fleet of buses leave AIDB to take students home for a long three-day weekend throughout Alabama. The bus trips home are free, just like tuition, room and board. Weekly bus routes give students in Montgomery, Huntsville and Birmingham an option for going home each Friday and a number of daily bus routes operate within a 45-mile-radius of Talladega. The Schools maintain close ties with the families of our students, too, with calendars, reports and grades sent home regularly; videoconferencing available from eight different Regional Centers around the state; and easy access to teachers and staff through the telephone, text, email and Internet.
How often can I visit my child?
Parents may visit their children anytime, preferably after school hours.
What curriculum do your schools use?
Alabama School for the Blind (ASB) and Alabama School for the Deaf (ASD) follow the Alabama State Department of Education curriculum guidelines. They may also add enrichment programs through the Expanded Core Curriculum. The Helen Keller School of Alabama (HKS), for children with multiple disabilities, designs a program specifically for each child using the State Department of Education’s Extended Standards. All our students have standards-based IEPs (Individual Education Plans) which are developed with input from teaching staff, parents, and sometimes the students themselves.