AP NEWS

School for the Blind uses beeps and bells for student growth

February 24, 2019

ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) — Students at the South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired are learning how to relying on their ears when it comes to physical education.

Every ball and piece of athletic equipment at the school has some form of a sound component.

Basketballs have bells, bases and baseballs have built-in beepers to help familiarize participants, and there are beeper boxes that can be set up behind 3-D archery targets to help students find the bullseye, the Aberdeen American News reported.

Michael Gast, a school for the blind student, said 3-D models help him better visualize concepts. “For me, it’s easier to learn things hands-on,” he said.

Christy Hulscher, a school for the blind teacher, maintains it’s important for the students to remain active and healthy. Her classroom’s storage space is filled with adaptive equipment for just about every sport imaginable. Some was acquired recently with the help of a grant.

Hulscher said she also introduced the students to archery. At most, there are two students shooting at targets at any given time. They begin by shooting from 15 feet, she said, before increasing their distance to 10 to 15 meters, which is 33 feet to 49 feet. Hulscher said the purpose is to help students understand what they can accomplish. “Archery reveals to them how much upper body strength they have,” she said.

Another student activity involves using a Kin-ball. The ball has a bell inside. Students grab it and bounce it to a classmate or toss it over their heads. The bell inside helps students get a sense of where it is.

The hallways inside the school are filled with textures on the wall that notify students whenever they’re passing a bathroom. They are also used to identify different classrooms.

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Information from: Aberdeen American News, http://www.aberdeennews.com