The South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired is a state institution providing the option of residential services to student who are blind, visually impaired and deaf/blind who attend the school. Students generally utilize the residential facilities when distances are too great to return home daily or when the IEP calls for training beyond the normal school day. Many students return home every weekend; others, who must rely on public transportation go home less often. Some students utilize foster care during some weekends and vacations.
Students are housed in two separate dorm wings: Herseth Hall for the boys and Spicer Hall for the girls. The Kitchen and Dining Room, Student Services Director's Office and Nurses' Office are located near the dorm areas. The dorms are supervised by a Dormitory Supervisor and staffed from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. weekdays and 24 hours on weekends. Work-study students from Northern State University and Presentation College are used along with full-time staff to ensure appropriate adult/student ratios for all dorm activities.
The Dormitory Program is designed to complement the educational program, with those activities normally learned in a home environment included on the child's IEP. Personal care skills, caring for their belongings and developing social, leisure and recreational skills are all addressed in the Dormitory Program. Each student is assigned a Case Manager who works as a member of the team to ensure carryover and consistency.
Weekly activities include arts and crafts, story time, swimming lessons, and use of the library and gymnasium. Students may take part in scouting, swim team, and other community programs. Students enjoy shopping, movies, video games and other community based activities. The Aberdeen community and Northern State University also provide numerous opportunities for cultural and recreational activities.