Children's Learning Center

Overview

Located in downtown Brooklyn, Helen Keller Services for the Blind’s Children’s Learning Center offers a full range of programs and services for preschool children with visual impairments, multiple disabilities or pervasive developmental delays. We are the only center in New York City that specializes in serving these students, and we are committed to giving them the academic, social and therapeutic supports they need to prepare for Kindergarten and to achieve their highest potential in the classroom and beyond.

Our programs include:

  • Home-based early intervention service for infants and toddlers (0-3 years of age)
  • Center-based early intervention services for infants and toddlers (0-2 years of age)
  • Full-day preschool (3-5 years of age)
  • The Parent & Early Education Resource Center
  • Educational and therapeutic programs
  • Six-week summer program
Man holds hands with child in cap and gown. Child is throwing head back in laughter.

Early Intervention & Preschool

In our early intervention and preschool programs, students who have visual impairments, or visual impairments with additional disabilities, receive therapeutic services in a supportive and individualized learning environment.

Girl nuzzles Elmo puppet and holds puppet's hand; on the left, four other children and an instructor are watching and waiting to greet Elmo.

Early intervention services are provided either at the child’s home or at the Center. These services include both therapeutic supports as well as a half-day class program. At the preschool level, students attend full-day classes. Each class of 7-8 children has a teacher and two teaching assistants; all therapeutic services are provided on a one-to-one basis.

HKSB’s approach to intervention is guided by the belief that all children, regardless of their degree of disability, can learn to be self-determined and can be taught to effect change in their environment through physical action and communication.

Our staff is highly trained; most hold advanced degrees, and all have unique experience working with visually impaired and multiply disabled individuals.

Services include:

  • Occupational, physical and speech therapy
  • Half-day classes for early intervention
  • Full-day classes for preschool
  • Vision services for early intervention
  • Music and dance instruction for children attending class-based programs
  • Pet therapy for children attending class-based programs

Transportation is available for all children who attend our programs at no charge to the families. The Center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. We follow the Department of Education calendar with minor differences.

Eligibility for Early Intervention:

Helen Keller Services for the Blind’s Early Intervention Program is a public program funded by New York State and county governments for children less than three years of age who have or are suspected of having a visual impairment, developmental delay and/or disability. We are approved as a provider of early intervention services and evaluations, and are under contract with the New York City Early Intervention Program (NYCEIP).

Eligibility for our program is determined by State-approved evaluators, of which we are an approved evaluation site. Families can be referred to our program by calling NYCEIP at 311. All needed services are identified in collaboration with the parents / families and are provided with no out-of-pocket cost to parents, although health insurance may be accessed for reimbursement. The NYCEIP will arrange for appropriate services, considering the individual needs of the child and family.

Helen Keller Services for the Blind requires no fees from the parents or families for our early intervention services.

Eligibility for Preschool:

Children who are between the ages of 3 and 5 qualify for our preschool programs if they have been diagnosed with visual impairment, multiple disabilities or developmental delays.

The Parent & Early Education Resource Center

HKSB's Parent & Early Education Resource Center offers a series of monthly training workshops for parents of children with vision impairments and other disabilities. Tailored to the needs of the children and families we serve, the workshops cover a broad range of topics.

Previous sessions have focused on:

  • Child development
  • Strategies for parenting children with disabilities
  • Programs and support available for children with special needs

The Center also provides parents with resources and advocacy training, and its on-going support groups offer families the opportunities to share their experiences with ─ and learn from ─ other families who know firsthand the challenges they face.

The Parent & Early Education Resource Center is open only to New York City residents.

Man hugging child

Admissions

Services are free for all who meet the eligibility requirements.

Contact us for more information