Helen Keller School

Image of HKS Student playing on the playground

HKS Arts and Special Programs

AIDB instructors are consistently credited for their creative and effective teaching skills. It’s just not possible to reach every child with a single approach. Over the years, we have learned that every child can learn; it’s simply a matter of finding the right way to present the material.  Some of these different approaches include a creative arts program designed to stimulate students through visual and tactile activities, motor development and expansion of expressive and receptive language.  Many of our students respond well to music therapy.

picture of five HKS drummersOur programs change frequently as our students’ needs change.  We have offered horticulture classes in the past, teaching children and young adults how to raise plants either as a pleasant hobby or as a vocational skill.  Students learn how to manage money and see how a small business succeeds through our school store, which offers small gift items and homemade snacks to people on campus.
We boast an extensive creative arts program is which 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.
A unique program within the Helen Keller School (HKS) is targeted towards children whose level of functioning does not qualify for admissions in the regular school program.  It is a residential program, housed in a special facility on the HKS campus.  Because many of the children in Awakenings are medically-fragile, the Awakenings program is self-contained.  Classrooms, living space and dining room are all under a single roof.

The curriculum emphasis is different than at any other AIDB program. Many of the Awakenings’ students will never live alone; the program focuses on sensory stimulation, communication and language, mobility, recreation and basic self-help skills.  It is usually accomplished with a one-on-one approach.  Awakenings’ students swim and participate in water therapy, play at the Hackney Play Therapy Center, ride horses within the Marianna Greene Henry Special Equestrians Program and participate in frequent field trips.Two female HKS students dressed up like fairy princesses reading a book together  And, thanks to fundraising efforts from the AIDB Foundation, a new multi-sensory room has been developed which is designed to stimulate the sensory pathways of touch, taste, sight, sound, smell and movement of individuals with physical and cognitive impairments.  Through the use of light, sound, tactile surfaces, etc., the goal is to essentially strengthen the brain which can be easily overwhelmed by a “sensory traffic jam”.