• “What might pass for a disability elsewhere can pass here without much notice.”

    --National Geographic

    Photo of ASB students on a white-water rafting trip

    Fast Facts and Frequently Asked Questions about AIDB

    Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind (AIDB) was established in 1858 and provides comprehensive education and rehabilitation services in all 67 counties of Alabama to over 31,000 deaf, blind and multidisabled infants, children, adults and seniors annually.

    Programs include Alabama School for the Deaf, Alabama School for the Blind, Helen Keller School (for children who are deaf and blind with multiple disabilities), E. H. Gentry Technical Facility (a postsecondary rehabilitation program for adults) and Alabama Industries for the Blind (providing job training and employment opportunities for blind and deaf adults). A network of regional centers – providing early intervention for infants and children, and interpreter, counseling, technology and education services for adults and seniors – are located in Birmingham, Dothan, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery, Opelika, Shoals, Talladega, and Tuscaloosa. AIDB Outreach Programs provide services to students who are deaf and/or blind in Alabama public schools.

    AIDB is the nation’s most comprehensive education and service program of its kind and through a consolidated administrative structure commands the best use of financial and human resources, expertise, facilities and specialized equipment to benefit individuals who are deaf and blind.

    AIDB is governed by a Board of Trustees appointed by the Governor to represent each Alabama Congressional District plus three members appointed at large to represent individuals who are deaf and/or blind.

    By law, AIDB does not charge tuition for its services to Alabama residents who are deaf or blind.

    Working with a total budget of more than $80 million in state and federal funds and sales revenue, AIDB generates an annual payroll of approximately $50 million and an economic impact of $184 million.   We place a strong emphasis on accountability in financial management, program innovation and measurable outcomes.

    The front entrance to Hawkins Chapel on a sunny spring day AIDB’s Funding Source is Unique…

    By law AIDB does not receive revenue from tuition or local tax. State and federal law guarantees children and adults with disabilities the right to a free and appropriate public education. AIDB cannot charge tuition or room and board and as a state entity, AIDB does not receive revenue from local taxes as virtually all city and county public schools do each year.  Approximately ninety percent of funding for AIDB’s schools and services’ budget is provided through an appropriation from the Alabama Legislature.


    AIDB is state and nationally accredited. Teachers and professionals are certified at master’s levels in their area of academic expertise and carry an additional certification in deafness, vision or special education.

    AIDB educational programs are accredited by the AdvanceED/Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

    The E. H. Gentry program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).

    AIDB’s Instructional Resource Center for the Blind

    AIDB’s Instructional Resource Center for the Blind provides Braille and large-print books, materials and other services to all blind and visually impaired students in Alabama – at AIDB and public schools. They also operate a Braille and large print production service for textbooks and other print resources.

    The AIDB Foundation

    The Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind Foundation was created in 1980 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization created to encourage private support for AIDB’s charitable, educational, research and training programs. The Foundation provides funding for a vast array of programs and projects at AIDB including major construction and renovation of facilities, development of new and expanding programs and experiences in professional development, academics, student life, outreach, and the arts. The AIDB Hawkins Chapel and the Marianna Greene Henry Special Equestrian Arena are also funded through the AIDB Foundation. Endowment opportunities exist in seven major areas.

  • What else the national media has said about AIDB…

     A “striking example of how disabilities can be overcome…”

    --The Wall Street Journal

     A “model in the education of the disabled.”

    --Time Magazine

    AIDB has also been featured in National Geographic, People, Biography, USA Today, The New York Times, the National Enquirer, CNN, international television in Korea, South America and in a four-part mini-series on PBS.

    Young ASD students participate in homecoming activities

    An AIB employee programs an embroidery machine

    An ASB athlete clears the bar in the high jump

    Photo of an older blind man being instructed on how to use a cane by a younger man.