The Helen Keller School of Alabama (HKS) began with a program created in 1955 to serve children who were both deaf and blind within the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind (AIDB) and was named for the Alabama native when programs for children with multiple disabilities were consolidated in 1980. Serving children, ages three to 21, HKS provides individualized quality education, service and care which focuses on the abilities and potential of each student. Our program is nationally-recognized as a training center for teachers of children who are deaf or blind and multiply-disabled, and we are accredited by the AdvancED/Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
HKS takes a holistic approach to working with children with special needs involving staff and parents in the design of an education plan that may include language, math, Braille, music, art and other academics, in addition to independent living skills and physical therapy.
A creative arts program is designed to stimulate students through visual and tactile activities, motor development and expansion of expressive and receptive language. Students also have the opportunity to participate in music therapy and are trained in assistive technology.
As a residential school, educational opportunities continue in the HKS dormitories and through various field trips, Special Olympics, and horseback riding.
There is no tuition, room or board charged for students whose families are Alabama residents.
For Helen Keller School (HKS) residential students, learning doesn't end with the school day but continues into dormitory life. All are supervised, with regular times set aside for study, mealtimes and recreation. HKS students are learning all the time - how to take care of themselves, how to get along with others, how to create a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
The AIDB Foundation also makes many special opportunities available for children. Hawkins Chapel provides regular nondenominational worship services, and our Chaplain offers spiritual growth opportunities. Volunteers help us offer Sunday School classes designed to match the students' developmental needs.
The Foundation also raised the funds to build the Compass Bank Fitness and Recreation Park, a special facility to help HKS students develop into strong and healthy adults. Our Athletics program includes participation in many Special Olympics sports and after-school recreation offers informal opportunities to exercise and have fun. We have monthly birthday parties in each dormitory, complete with cake and ice cream. Student groups go on frequent outings to parks, restaurants, and cultural events. HKS students also have access to an indoor swimming pool, exercise room and gymnasium. There is scouting, dances and an annual competition for Miss HKS.
A nurse is on campus on weekdays, and comes to the dorms on weekends to distribute medications if they are needed. Dormitory staff are trained and certified in CPR and first aid. AIDB has an extensive program focusing on health and wellness for all our students. AIDB’s Health and Clinical Services department coordinates regular clinics for our students including low vision, audiology, seizures, psychiatric and ear-nose-throat clinics.