Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf

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Living Skills Program

The Living Skills program is for students with developmental language needs. This program has a low staff to student ratio in order to focus on each student's unique needs. Clear visuals, highly structured environment, and other supports are used to ensure student success. 

The functional and academic curriculum is presented in monthly themes such as "Ready to Work," "Making Decisions," and "Personal Safety."

Students also participate in community outings to grocery stores, retail stores, restaurants, banks and more. They also learn basic cooking, cleaning, gardening, laundry, budgeting and bill pay, etc.

We learn about self-regulation using the Zones of Regulation. There are four zones we use to identify emotions: 

  • Blue-low mood: sad, hurt, tired
  • Green-good mood: happy, proud, okay, content
  • Yellow-elevated mood: excited, silly, anxious, crabby, scared
  • Red-extremely heightened mood: angry, terrified, rage, terror

We use our tools to help get back to the green zone. Tools are anything from deep breathing to taking a walk. We also use the zones to help us solve problems. 

Our goal is to foster independence and promote the development of social skills. Each day is a story in the Living Skills Program!

Nest Program

The Nest classroom is a very special place which uses techniques designed to meet the needs of middle school and high school students with developmental language needs. This program has a low staff to student ratio and is able to focus on each student's unique needs. Clear visuals such as visual daily schedules, visual recipes and other supports are used throughout the day in order to support learning.

The middle school and high school students in the Nest classroom are exposed to a functional and academic curriculum through monthly themes. April's theme is insects! Activities include community trips to the grocery store, bank, mass transit experiences, restaurants and retail stores and functional activities such as cooking, cleaning, gardening and laundry. Direct instruction in academic areas is also a focus. Math and language centers are utilized for students to review and practice previously learned skills and practice their independence.

The high school students participate in the work study program and manage their own bank account weekly with the money they earn. They are able to use the money for trips into the community to places such as retail stores, post office, restaurants, and convenience stores. When participating in community experience trips, focus is placed on developing students' independence and social skills. The Nest classroom is an exciting place. There is never a dull moment!