The recent airing of the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie A Smile as Big as the Moon created such a surge of interest in attending Space Camp that the camp’s website was unable to handle the flood of traffic. The site crashed last night, but it is now back up and running as a resource for parents and kids with special needs who are looking into the program, many for the first time.
What a lot of families did not realize before is that the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL, offers specialty programs for students with special needs, such as visual and hearing impairment. These programs include the same features as the typical Space Camp programs, but participants will also benefit from a presentation from blind and/or deaf NASA professional about working in the space industry and all the latest technology like tactile Braille displays and synthetic speech for computers.
Space Camp has worked closely for years with many different organizations such as the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and the Blind to make this an inspirational and significant experience for all students. Two weeks before the students arrive for the Space Camp for Visually Impaired Students (SCI-VIS), the Space and Rocket Center technicians replace consoles in the shuttle simulators with Braille panels. Students will have access to large print text or closed circuit televisions with the text on them if that is what they need. SCI-VIS is a week-long program that includes classes, mission simulations, and even diving in the neutral buoyancy tank, which simulates the experience of making repairs on the Space Station in zero gravity.
While the students enjoy the exciting things Space Camp has to offer, they also appreciate the opportunity to be around similar kids from all over the country and around the world.
For more information about the Space Camp Special Programs, visit their website.