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A school for the blind and deaf offers a more personal opportunity for sensory-impaired students to receive a better education. Schools for the deaf and blind try to offer the same type of curriculum that most public schools offer in reading, writing and math, and they encourage students to participate in sports and other extracurricular activities. Often, the teacher-to-student ratio is lower than in general public schools, and more money is allotted to the school in order to increase the available technology and to increase the comfort and convenience of learning for students.
These schools sometimes exist for use by the blind, the deaf or those who are deaf and blind. In a school for the deaf or a school for the blind, parents and educators typically feel that the students benefit more by having the school focus on a child's specific impairment instead of allowing students with different types of sensory impairments to learn together. These schools are a popular alternative to homeschooling for some students, even though the overall number of schools for the blind and deaf have decreased because of medical advances that have reduced the causes of blindness and deafness, such as immunizations against measles.
Educators often try to give parents options for students who have a sensory impairment. One such option, although rare, is a day school for the deaf or blind that caters specifically to a student's individualized needs while the student can remain living at his or her home. Some students participate in a program sometimes known as mainstreaming that allows students to go to general education classes but also allows them to attend some special classes that cater to their sensory impairment. Some schools offer classes that exclusively hold students who are either deaf or blind. Attending a general education school can be beneficial to a student's education, but often, opportunities for extracurricular activities for sensory-impaired students are lacking or nonexistent. Of course, some parents prefer to homeschool their children or to hire someone to teach them individually.
A school for the blind and deaf can sometimes be a boarding school. Typically in these types of schools, students range in level from kindergarten through high school and live on a campus for a part of the year or sometimes year-round. These students typically are divided into elementary, middle school, high school and special education levels. The student-to-teacher typically is not much higher than 20-to-1. Students interact with each other and educators to learn academic curriculum as well as the life skills needed to thrive in adult life after graduation.
Not all students necessarily benefit from a school for the blind and deaf. While attending a school for the blind and deaf, however, students' needs are catered to on an individualized basis that not only allows them to learn but enables them to communicate and interact with the world at large. The life lessons that can be learned in a school for the blind and deaf are often unique and invaluable to the sensory impaired.