Perkins School for the Blind was founded in 1829 as the first school for the blind in United States. For nearly 200 years, Perkins has been dedicated to educating children and young adults who are blind, deafblind and visually impaired, from our Watertown campus to developing countries around the world. Perkins’ most famous alumni include Helen Keller, Anne Sullivan and Laura Bridgman.
Through Perkins’ services, students have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential and experience the most independent lives possible. These services include:
- Early intervention for infants and toddlers;
- Teaching literacy through braille;
- Professional development and curricular resources for educators;
- Parent training and instruction;
- Community outreach and partnerships;
- International programs.
A printing and technology department has been an essential part of the school since its earliest years. In 1834, Perkins opened the Perkins Printing Department to provide books to students who were visually impaired. The department was renamed the Howe Memorial Press in 1881 as a tribute to Samuel Gridley Howe, Perkins’ first director. In 1941, a Perkins woodworking teacher created the first prototype of the Perkins Brailler, designed to make braille more accessible. After a decade of testing, the first Perkins Brailler® was produced in 1951.
In the mid-2000s, the department was renamed Perkins Products to encompass a new range of assistive technology, including the SMART Brailler® that debuted in 2012. In 2015, the division became Perkins Solutions, which now includes consulting services for digital accessibility in addition to product manufacturing.