Menu 

Deaf Education in Indianapolis: Indiana School for the Deaf

The Indiana School for the Deaf in Indianapolis is a fully accredited institution geared toward the deaf and hard of hearing. Located in Indianapolis north, directly north of the Indiana State Fairgrounds, the Indiana School for the Deaf is committed to creating a bilingual-bicultural environment for its students to help them achieve academic and social excellence, making the school a leader among language institutes in Indianapolis, such as the Indianapolis German Language Institute.

The course of study at the school stresses proficiency in both American Sign Language and English. Through early language acquisition, students are taught to think and speak in American Sign Language, but also understand English fluently. This program promotes high functioning among the hearing community.

The Indiana School for the Deaf follows students through their entire developmental life, offering programs for infant and nursery age students through high school. The school boasts 370 students on its campus, with an additional 200 students assisted through outreach programs in Indianapolis. This special education deaf school in Indianapolis contributes to various outreach programs across the metropolis by providing education, consultation, training, assessment, Audiology, important American Sign Language classes in Indianapolis, and Parent-Infant programs to its members.

With 60 percent of the school’s students living on campus, a solid sense of community is created to help each member discover their identity in a safe space. There are both male and female dormitories, for students who may live too far away to commute by bus on a daily basis.

For all of its students, the school offers a plethora of extra curricular activities including football, wrestling, track and field, swimming, volleyball, cheerleading, basketball, baseball and softball. In keeping with the tradition of Indianapolis summer camps such as the YMCA Flat Rock River Camp, the school offers a variety of activities during the summer months such as Camp Willard, athletic camps, I-STEP and remediation, and extended school year programs.

The Indiana School for the Deaf was founded in 1843 by William Willard, a former teacher at the Ohio School for the Deaf in Columbus. In May of 1843 he presented himself to the General Assembly of Indiana at the Indiana State Capitol building with a proposal to build a school to educate Indiana’s deaf population. By the end of that month, a resolution was passed endorsing Willard’s proposal.

Willard traveled around the state promoting the school and enrolling students. On October 1, 1843 with twelve pupils, he began instruction. Initially the Indianapolis school for the deaf was semi-private offering free instruction to hearing impaired individuals and their families. However in 1844, the school became state funded, making it the first state sponsored school in America to provide free education for deaf people. Today it remains a leader in deaf education throughout the nation.

It is undeniable that the Indiana School for the Deaf fills a valuable niche in Indianapolis education. It is a gem of the Circle City and ought to be a source of pride for any Hoosier. Indianapolis children are lucky to have the opportunity to participate in so many of the Indianapolis performing arts, Indianapolis arts, and Indianapolis sports. Indianapolis society is filled with places for the hearing impaired to excel. To learn more about the Indiana School for the Deaf visit their website, and turn disability into ability.

Indiana School for the Deaf
1200 E 42nd St
Indianapolis, IN 46205
317.920.6232