Perkins School for the Blind

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Photo. Young boy smelling a flower in the greenhouse.


Leslie Gruette & Kerryne Ohlson,
Perkins Secondary Students

Photo. Leslie and Kerryne

For Leslie Gruette, it was watering a peppermint geranium plant.

“You looked at this face and you knew that plants were in her soul,” recalls Deborah Krause, horticulture teacher and therapist.

For classmate Kerryne Ohlson it was making a holiday wreath with her mother.

On a recent sunny afternoon in the greenhouse, both Perkins students shared their favorite horticulture therapy moments.

Learn more about Leslie and Kerryne.

Photo. Girl smelling pink flowers

"The nose is as complex as the eye or the ear, and as well equipped for the acquisition of knowledge." 
Helen Keller

Support Perkins with a Gift!


Early Connections Conference
May 2, 2009

Photo. Young girl sitting in a ball pit.

Early Connections is a one day conference for parents and family members of infants, toddlers and pre-school children with visual impairments.

Program and registration materials are available online.

Visit us online to see What's New at Perkins!


Colorino Color Identifier

Photo. Colorino

Use to identify 150 colors and color shades — match socks, sort laundry, pick out the right tablecloth and napkins and find out the color of your wall. It has an earphone jack and a volume control. It also includes a zippered case.

Learn more on our website

To see additional product offerings, please visit Perkins Products.


Information Clearinghouse on Blindness & Visual Impairment

Logo. Perkins Information Clearinghouse

Gardening is a satisfying way to connect with the out-of-doors, relax, and grow herbs, vegetables, and flowers for the home. Gardeners who are blind or visually impaired will find horticultural advice, encouragement, and a wealth of practical tips for enjoying this popular hobby. Learn more about gardening.

This comprehensive resource of carefully evaluated information about blindness and visual impairments provides a centralized hub for finding the most reliable and authoritative information about all aspects of living with blindness and visual impairments. Learn more.


Horticulture Therapy, Cultivating Confidence

Photo. Toddler feeling leaves with her teacher watching.Step into the greenhouse inside Perkins’ Horticulture Center, the sensation of calm serenity is striking.

The warmth of the sun is tempered by the breeze from ceiling fans, gently circulating the aroma of scented geraniums and herbs as you take in the soothing sounds of the interactive water gardens.

“The opportunities for sensory exploration are boundless,” observes Deborah Krause, coordinator of Perkins’ Horticulture Therapy Program and the Thomas and Bessie Pappas Horticulture Center.

At Perkins, horticulture stimulates more than the senses — helping people of all ages who have a range of disabilities including visual impairments, blindness, deafblindness, and other physical and cognitive challenges. For these individuals, horticulture inspires physical, emotional, and intellectual growth while nurturing the skills necessary for independence.

Learn more about horticulture therapy.


Eliminate the Proposed FY10 Special Education Tuition Rate Freeze

Photo. Student touching windchimes as a teacher holds them.Massachusetts students with the most extensive special needs of all students in the Commonwealth need your help today. These students face losing vital educational opportunities and resources if lawmakers do not pass an inflation rate increase for special education funding in FY10.

To address the state budget deficit, lawmakers have proposed a tuition rate freeze that would eliminate $26.7 million in inflation adjustment revenue that special education schools like Perkins depend on to continue providing quality services.

We are sensitive to the state’s budget crisis but cutbacks should not be made at the cost of education for students who are blind and may have other challenges.

Please ask your state representative and senator to support special education by stopping the tuition rate freeze.

Massachusetts residents, take action today.

Perkins International

Where in the World is Perkins?

Photo. Young student washing a banana leaf with a teacherWhen the Bonilla family adopted 4-year-old Alex, who had lost his sight and hearing to rubella, the field of deafblindness education did not exist in Guatemala.

Determined to find a way to communicate with their son, the Bonillas set out on a mission to give Alex an education.

Their quest led them to Perkins International, where they received the support necessary to open the first center for the education of children with deafblindness in Guatemala. FUNDAL started with three students and two teachers and today serves more than 120 families.

While the program was born from the desire to educate Alex, it was Alex who ended up teaching others some of life’s most valuable lessons.

Learn more about Alex and FUNDAL.


Our “Green” Campus Commitment

Photo. Two hands holding a pile of soil.Perkins is committed to being a good environmental steward and has implemented a number of projects that not only improve the aesthetic of our campus, but are also kind to our environment.

The Perkins Pond: The Perkins Pond has been fenced off and underutilized for over 25 years. With the help of VHB/Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc., we are looking at ways to restore the pond — making it possible for accessible walks, science learning stations, a sensory trail, and other elements that will enhance everyone's experience.

Raingarden: With support from the Watertown Community Foundation, Perkins has constructed a raingarden behind Lower School to reduce rain runoff by allowing stormwater to soak into the ground rather than flowing off driveways, which can cut down on the amount of pollution reaching streams and rivers.

Composting: Composting is a vital part of our landscape initiatives. Leaves have been collected on campus for years and are combined with water, grass clippings, alfalfa meal and green sand — ultimately becoming mulch for around our trees.

Did you know?

Graphic. Question MarkPerkins has its own tree, called Cladrastis kentukea 'Rosea;' its common name is "Perkins Pink." The original tree was found on the Perkins campus and was eventually propagated by someone at the Arnold Arboretum and was later sold as "Perkins Pink." If you're visiting campus, we have a tree at the entrance to the West Close, which blooms a beautiful pink flower in June!

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Perkins School
for the Blind
175 North Beacon Street
Watertown, Massachusetts 02472
Phone 617-924-3434
Email Us