Every Helen Keller School of Alabama (HKS) student has an Individualized Education Plan or IEP. Because all our students come to us with very different needs, it takes an intensive team effort to build an appropriate IEP. Staff, teachers, parents and others examine a child’s assessments, evaluations and school records, if any. Then, as a group, discuss the child’s potential. The parents’ input at this stage is critical. We need to understand what the parents’ expectations are for the child and see how our resources can help achieve those goals.
Once this is completed, we are able to match those needs with our ability to teach academic subjects and daily living skills. Some children will focus more on learning daily living skills at first: dressing, bathing, grooming. Others may be ready to tackle more conventional academic subjects. Classes are small and specialized with usually no more than five students for each teacher and aide.
Academic subjects include the basics: reading, writing and math. For students who are blind or have vision loss, we can teach Braille or they may learn to use large print. Students who are deaf or have hearing loss are taught basic sign language or they are introduced to other communication programs. Math may focus on independent living needs, like how to tell time, balance a checkbook or draw up a household budget. More advanced academics are introduced as needed.