Here are just a few reasons why the Wisconsin School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (WSBVI) may be the right choice for your child:
Excellent teacher-student ratio
Our low teacher-student ratio ensures that your child will be afforded a greater amount of individualized attention and help if he/she requires it. Our Educational Aides provide additional support.
WSBVI offers all standard academic classes taught by high-quality state certified professionals. Courses designed for students who are blind or visually impaired, such as Assistive Technology, Braille, or Orientation and Mobility can be scheduled for two, three, or even five days a week as determined by the IEP team. For advanced or college-bound students, we offer a cooperative education program with the School District of Janesville so that students can take advanced coursework with the support of a teacher of the visually impaired. We have students who are taking classes through both Blackhawk Technical College and the University of Wisconsin Whitewater at Rock County.
The assistive technology in our classrooms, labs, and dorms is some of the most up to date equipment available and includes CCTV units, scanners, braille displays, Smart Boards, and many other devices. Each and every computer on our campus is loaded with screen reading and screen magnification software ensuring equal access to the same technology sighted peers use. Additionally, instruction in the use of this technology is easily accessible to all students.
Instruction in the Braille code by highly trained and qualified staff is available to all students. Our staff use creative methods and games to teach braille levels from pre-Braille to advanced, Nemeth and Music.
WSBVI offers both academic and career preparation programs for students transitioning into post-secondary life. The program includes our College and Career Readiness program, which is open to any student who needs to learn skills related to blindness even if they have finished academic requirements to graduate, but have not yet received their diplomas.
Students are encouraged to participate in after-school activities including music, student council, track and field, wrestling, cheerleading, swimming, forensics, goalball, 4H, and more! Studies show that students who participate in extracurricular activities have higher levels of self-confidence and are generally more successful than their peers.
Independent Living Skills
Classes in Daily Living Skills teach students how to function as independently as possible. Students learn to prepare meals, clean, manage finances, and can even take part in a variety of supported or independent living experiences in our on-campus apartments or our LIFEHouse
Orientation and Mobility
Orientation and Mobility classes ensure that students can travel both on our campus and out in the community safely and effectively. Our highly trained instructors provide one-on-one instruction in a variety of areas including street crossings, public transportation systems, cane technique, and other areas.
Our residential program provides a safe and nurturing environment while your child is at WSBVI. There are a variety of activities offered in the evenings to keep students engaged including outings to the mall, game nights, therapeutic horseback riding, school dances and socials, 4-H club, and open swim night … just to name a few. Our Child Care Counselors act as dorm parents. Students return home each weekend on chartered transportation.
Additional Impairments, Therapies
For students with additional impairments, WSBVI offers a high quality program designed to meet the educational, social, emotional, and physical needs of the individual with other disabilities. Related services such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, music therapy, and psychological services are also offered on our campus.
Teachers, staff, and parents never tire of seeing changes in WSBVI students. These are most noticeable in the areas of self-confidence, independence, and belief in their own abilities. Being able to spend time with peers who understand their struggles, because they’ve “been there” brings a sense of camaraderie, trust, and determination to overcome obstacles. Blind and visually impaired teachers help reinforce students’ realization that there is nothing, within reason, they cannot do through hard work and determination. These experiences are not as readily available in any other school situation in the state.
As parents and staff, we feel that the WSBVI story must be circulated throughout the state. It is our desire that each parent of a blind or visually impaired child knows what we have found to be true: WSBVI is a rare gem worth much more than money. It has given a harbor, help, and hope to hundreds.