The South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind is located on a 160 acre campus in Spartanburg. The school is the only specialized facility in the state for this student population. In addition to its programs on campus, the school offers outreach programs for visual and hearing impaired students throughout South Carolina.
The School for the Deaf was founded in 1849 as a private school for the hearing impaired. The School for the Blind was established in 1855. In 1977 Cedar Springs Academy, a special School for the Multihandicapped was added. This school serves students who have other disabilities in addition to being hearing or visually impaired. There are no tuition fees for students other than a $40 yearly activity fee. The school receives state and federal funding for its operating expenses. The Walker Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports the school and its programs.
The School for the Deaf enrolls children beginning in preschool. Communication skills for these students are enhanced through the teaching of American Sign Language. The School for the Blind enrolls preschoolers who are blind or significantly visually impaired. Tactile development is enhanced through many hands on activities. Educational programs are tailored to meet the individual needs of each child. Day school students ages 3-21 attend classes on campus and may participate in a variety of additional after school activities. Free bus transportation is provided for local students. Sports programs include basketball, football, soccer, volleyball, wrestling, cheerleading, and track and field. Students ages 4- 21 who reside outside of the Spartanburg area may live on campus. Independent living skills are stressed so that students can learn to be self sufficient.
The South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind has statewide outreach programs that focus on early intervention, targeting children from birth to age 3. Other services include a Braille and large print distribution center, sign language interpreters, and visual and hearing services in the South Carolina public schools. There is a cooperative mainstreaming program that allows students to take advantage of services offered by the School for the Deaf and Blind while taking courses at local public schools. A vocational facility trains students for career and job opportunities. At age 13 students begin career awareness classes. High school students have the opportunity to work on and off campus. There are also some training programs in partnership with local businesses and industries.
The South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind is located at 355 Cedar Springs Road. Campus facilities include a swimming pool, running track, playgrounds, and a bowling alley.