At Alabama School for the Deaf, there's as much going on after school as there is during school hours. And it's all about learning. The residential aspect of ASD is a major factor in helping our students learn how to respect themselves, their peers and their community. For some students, it's the first time they've spent much time at all with people who are deaf or hard of hearing. They learn that they are just as able as anyone else. It may be the first time students have much contact with adults who are deaf or hard of hearing too -- so they begin to learn what they can dream about, what goals they can achieve.
In the process of all this learning, they are playing on the playground, swimming, skating, bowling, doing arts and crafts. They may be making a trip to the Hackney Play Therapy Center on the Helen Keller School campus, where they can crawl through tunnels and wiggle through obstacles or play in a big pit filled with brightly colored plastic balls. This center is a physical therapy facility, but it’s so much fun going through the mazes and slides and playing in the ball pit, our youngest students go there just to play.
Positive peer groups meet to encourage students to work together. Outdoor gardening skills can be explored with a small group of friends. Big Brothers, Big Sisters are active on campus. Dorm activities include weight lifting and walking, and informal talks on topics like social issues and jobs are available. A friendly competition between different dorms called "Dorm Wars" lets students collect points for grades and behavior to win big prizes and trophies after school. Each dorm celebrates birthdays and other special occasions.. Dances, field trips and activities fill up the afternoons, with at least an hour every evening reserved for homework and study.
Clubs and activities build leadership skills and nurture the beginnings of lifelong friendships. The Space Explorers Club, Scouting for girls and boys, Junior National Association of the Deaf, Student Body Government, Junior Beta Club, Big Brother/Big Sister, Beta Club and class organizations address just about any interest a student might have.