Empowering Blind and Visually Impaired Students: The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired’s Summer Programs

Authors: Sara Merritt, Principal of Short-Term Programs, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)

Keywords: Short-Term Programs, enrichment, social skills, team-building, independent living, self-sufficiency, career education, Media Minute, Expanded Core Curriculum

Abstract: The principal of TSBVI’s Summer Programs shares information about skills and activities addressed during the Summer Program classes of 2023, including those of the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC).

The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) aims to empower blind and visually impaired students by offering a diverse range of summer programs that enrich their lives. 

In TSBVI Summer Programs, student enrichment takes center stage. We understand that social-emotional development, recreation, and physical activities are essential components of a well-rounded education. To address these areas, TSBVI’s summer programs offer diverse activities, including games, arts and crafts, and recreational pursuits. These activities promote physical fitness and foster creativity and self-expression among the students.

Building Social Skills and Meaningful Connections

Socialization is a critical aspect of development, and TSBVI recognizes its significance. Many students face challenges in building social skills and establishing connections with their peers. To address this, TSBVI’s summer programs incorporate activities that encourage interaction and group participation. Through team-building exercises and shared experiences, students develop essential social skills and form meaningful bonds with others with similar life experiences.

Independence and Life Skills

One of the key objectives of TSBVI’s summer programs is to equip students with the skills they need to lead independent lives. These programs often include training in daily living skills, such as cooking, cleaning, personal hygiene, and self-care. By improving these skills, students gain greater independence and confidence in their abilities, setting them on a path toward self-sufficiency.

Preparation for Future Employment

For older students participating in TSBVI’s vocational programs, the summer offerings extend beyond recreation and life skills. TSBVI provides career exploration, job readiness activities, and authentic jobs to help students explore various vocations and prepare for future employment. This exposure to different career paths equips them with valuable insights and skills, ensuring they are better prepared for the transition into the workforce.

Summer Programs, 2023

Two hundred fifteen students were served this past summer in Elementary Summer Enrichment, Secondary Enrichment, WALIC and SWEAT programs. Students in the Elementary and Secondary Enrichment programs engaged in activities on and off-campus that taught skills in the Expanded Core Curriculum—cooking, going on community outings, socializing with peers, and having many memorable moments! During WALIC (Working and Living in the Community) students worked at a variety of job sites including Goodwill, Wheatsville Co-Op, HEB, and Austin Lighthouse for the Blind. During SWEAT (Summer Work Experience in Austin, Texas), students worked at the Austin Public Library, Café Monet, Westin and Double-Tree Hotels, Umlauf Sculpture Garden, and the Austin Humane Society.

Adaptability and Ongoing Support

It’s important to note that the specific programs, dates, and offerings at TSBVI may vary from year to year. This adaptability allows the school to tailor its summer programs to meet students’ evolving needs and interests. Please check the website in early January for the latest summer offerings. 

TSBVI remains committed to providing ongoing support and enrichment opportunities to blind and visually impaired students, ensuring they continue to thrive academically, socially, and personally. 

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