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Deaf Camp and Visually Impaired Summer Skills Program – Montana School for the Deaf and Blind
MSDB offers two week-long camps – one for blind and visually impaired kids and one for deaf and hard of hearing kids. The camps, for students from around the state, offer skill-building in the key areas of communication, social interaction, independent living, and the use of technology. The camps include structured leisure and recreational activities, including trips to the local water park, Great Falls White Sox baseball games, and exploring the historical, art and children’s museums in Great Falls. The Montana School for the Deaf & Blind has a complete recreation complex, where campers swim, bowl, and enjoy other group activities. For the blind and visually impaired students, learning these activities can be powerful accomplishments. Deaf Camp is for deaf and hard of hearing students between the ages of 9-14 (7 and 8 year-olds will be considered on a case-by-case basis). This week-long program offers a great opportunity for deaf and hard of hearing children who attend schools in their home districts to be with other kids who communicate like they do. This is a powerful antidote to the isolation deaf people experience. It also gives them an opportunity to further develop their language skills. The Visually Impaired Summer Skills Program is open to blind and visually impaired students, ages 9-16. Participants learn a wide range of living skills, which builds self confidence. They cook their meals, do laundry, learn to sew, plan menus, shop, and use public transportation. They learn new orientation and mobility skills, which can dramatically increase their independence. They learn new communication skills, including Braille, JAWS – a computer program that reads information on the screen aloud – as well as other assistive technology. They play pool, and bowl, and overcome obstacles to living as other children do, all the while enjoying the company of other blind kids, which greatly decreases their sense of isolation.