Hadley School for the Blind

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The mission of The Hadley School for the Blind is to promote independent living through lifelong, distance education programs for individuals who are blind or visually impaired, their families and blindness service providers.

Founded in 1920 by William Hadley and Dr. E.V.L. Brown, Hadley offers courses free of charge to its blind and visually impaired students and their families and affordable tuition to blindness professionals. Today, Hadley is the largest provider of distance education for people who are blind or visually impaired around the world, serving more than 10,000 students annually in all 50 states and 100 countries. Hadley is also the largest educator of braille worldwide. A 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, the school relies on contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations to fund its programs.

Whether a student’s goal is to graduate high school, be an advocate for their visually impaired child, become employed, live independently, learn braille, start a business or simply enrich themselves through lifelong learning, Hadley can help. The Hadley School serves students who are at least 14 years old and can study using the English language.

Hadley courses are available in four formats – online, braille, audio and large print. With accessible mobile technology, students can truly study “anytime, anywhere.” About 70 percent of Hadley’s courses are available online and are fully accessible on a variety of mobile devices including handheld computers, MP3 players, tablets and mobile phones. Since the school began offering courses in an online format in 2002, more than 14,000 students have completed one or more online courses by using screen reader software.

Hadley students enjoy a “classroom of one.” They receive one-on-one support from their instructors, who are experts in their fields, via a toll-free phone call or email. Students are also able to connect with one another through instructors’ virtual office hours, where students access an online chat room and use a microphone or write in to voice their thoughts and questions.

Hadley consists of five program areas:

The Adult Continuing Education (ACE) Program serves adult students who are blind or visually impaired. The ACE program offers courses in a wide range of topics including braille, access technology, independent living skills, recreational activities or the arts such as “Braille Music Reading” and “Stress Relief and Meditative Gardening” and more.

Since the 1930s, The Hadley School for the Blind has offered a nationally-recognized, accredited High School Program for students with visual impairments age 14 and up who live in the United States. Students may transfer credits from courses taken at Hadley to their high school to graduate locally, or they can earn their high school diploma directly through Hadley. Many of Hadley's High School students have been prevented from earning their diploma in the past because of the lack of quality vision services or accessible formats, difficulties passing the state-required exit exam for graduation or inability to travel long distances, so the Hadley High School Program is a much-needed “second chance.”

The Family Education Program offers courses for sighted family members of a blind or visually impaired person. Hadley offers many courses to help parents of children who are blind or visually impaired in areas such as independent living, braille and teaching and advocating for a blind or visually impaired child.

The Hadley School for Professional Studies (HSPS) is a “teach the teachers” program, designed for anyone who works directly with blind and visually impaired individuals in a school, work or community setting, whether as a paid employee or a volunteer. Students currently enrolled in a college or university program and preparing for a career in the blindness field may also enroll in an HSPS course. Students in the program pay a modest $99 - $139 per course, although most of these courses are offered free of charge thanks to outside support.

The Low Vision Focus @ Hadley (LVF), is designed to help individuals living with low vision (primarily seniors) maintain their independence by sharing practical ways to address daily living skills made difficult by vision loss. The LVF is unique in that it offers those living with low vision the opportunity to learn and take advantage of our resources from the comfort of their own homes, at a time that is convenient for them, with the benefit of one-on-one counseling and support, at no cost to them. It features a series of ten 30-minute audio lessons that provide tips and techniques for doing everyday tasks with low vision, such as working in the kitchen, personal grooming and moving around safely. In the future, Hadley will provide free, educational videos and webinars as part of the Low Vision Focus, and the program will soon reference popular Hadley courses that may be of interest to individuals with low vision.

Hadley complements its courses with online Seminars@Hadley. These seminars are designed to bring together blind and visually impaired students from around the world to discuss various topics in a virtual conference room with a panel, moderator and guest speakers. Participants listen to the seminar from their computer and post questions electronically or by using a microphone. They are designed to extend the learning that takes place in the courses, bring people together to share ideas and build a sense of community among students and faculty. Seminars@Hadley are free of charge. Seminar topics are timely, practical and determined by students' needs. Seminars on accessible technology, self-employment and independent living skills are especially popular. Students can also earn Continuing Education Credits for approved seminars.

Coordinates: 42°06′20″N 87°43′50″W / 42.1056°N 87.7305°W / 42.1056; -87.7305