At AIDB, it is our mission to help our students and clients reach their highest potential. To do this, we consider their emotional, academic, social and physical needs. For our students, athletics and adaptive physical education provide a valuable outlet for excess energy, a starting point for a lifetime of physical fitness and a sense of accomplishment and pride. Our staff is certified to work with children who are deaf or blind and have years of experience working with special needs children.
Helen Keller School (HKS) students have supervised access to our gymnasium, an outdoor walking/exercise facility and a shady playground. Physical education (P.E.) activities are adapted to suit the individual child. Our students play golf, basketball and volleyball with great enthusiasm.
The Mary V. Snell Gymnasium is home to a full-sized pool, a bowling alley and basketball court. A Red Cross-certified lifeguard is on duty when children are in the pool. The Compass Bank Walking Track is surfaced for children in wheelchairs or on foot; railings allow children with vision loss to run or walk independently.
The Hackney Play Therapy Center is also a center for smiles and laughter. It is notable for its brightly colored walls, soft padding on the floors and cheerful blue, purple, and pink equipment. But this is no ordinary physical therapy equipment. There are slides and tunnels, an ocean of plastic balls to sift and wade through — a playground with very serious purpose. Children learn different ways of moving through the play system; they learn directionality: up, down, sideways, left, right. They also learn listening skills, either verbal or through signing. And every minute spent in play is time spent strengthening muscles.
Another highly successful alternative to traditional physical therapy is found at AIDB’s Marianna Greene Henry Special Equestrians Program . Many of our students with multiple disabilities have learned how to relate to people by developing a relationship with a gentle, nonjudgmental animal first. Balance, posture, strength and flexibility are all positive gains with hippotherapy.