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An Educational Resource to Remember: The Hadley School for the Blind

Over the years, I've learned about many interesting and useful resources for individuals with visual impairments and those working within the field of blindness/visual impairment.

One of these is the Hadley School for the Blind, which specializes in distance education and is based in Illinois. Hadley provides distance education courses to over ten thousand students around the world each year. Their courses are offered free of charge to the blind and visually impaired (as well as to their family members) and are made affordable to professionals within the blindness field. These courses are designed to be entirely accessible, and are available in a variety of formats (such as braille, online, audio and large print). Course materials are delivered directly to your home, and students have access to instructors who guide them through each course and evaluate their progress.

From browsing their website, it seems as though a number of program options exist:

  1. The Adult Education Program: for adults who are blind, deaf-blind or visually impaired

  2. The High School Program: for high school students who are blind, deaf-blind or visually impaired. In the U.S., these students may be able to obtain credit towards their high school diploma for courses they complete within this stream

  3. The Family Education Program: for those with family members who are blind, visually impaired or deaf-blind

  4. The Professional Studies Stream: for those working within the field of blindness who are looking to deepen their understanding of blindness related themes

As a Canadian student, I have taken a few of these non-credit courses -- courses that I merely take out of interest -- for several years now. The range of courses offered is vast, and includes traditional academic courses (such as History, English, Mathematics, Science, Business, Law, Art, etc), courses in blindness related themes (such as braille, adaptive technology, specific eye conditions, etc) and recreational courses (such as chess for beginners) among others.

I recommend the Hadley School for the Blind for anyone who is interested in lifelong learning, and for those who are interested in pursuing courses that they may otherwise hesitate to take for credit in a traditional classroom. Math courses, for instance, are sometimes difficult to follow in a class designed for sighted students. The Math courses offered through Hadley, however, are designed to be accessible and present content in a way that makes sense to someone with little or no usable vision.

Certain courses related to independent living skills should NOT replace direct, hands-on instruction/observation from a Vision Rehabilitation Specialist in your community, but they can function as a supplement.

I fully encourage, of course, universal design in the traditional classroom, but the Hadley School for the Blind is an excellent resource for those who, for whatever reason, may be unable to pursue studies in a traditional classroom, and for those who simply are interested in exploring new themes and topics in a slower, more individualized pace.

You can find details about Hadley program options and their course list (including detailed course outlines) on their website:


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