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The Importance of Support
By Justin Gerwick

Imagine a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Let’s say his name is Brock, he’s 15 years old, and he is a student at a public high school. Brock has tousled blonde hair, owns a rotation of t-shirts he likes to wear, and enjoys fantasy stories, such as Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.

Just as any other student does, Brock has a daily routine. He puts on one of his favorite t-shirts, gets on the school bus at the edge of his driveway, and arrives at school around 7:30 a.m. But once Brock is in school, his day isn’t the same as others. He’s surrounded by the loud and busy hustle and bustle of students traveling to classes, he’s bothered by the piercing sound of bells ringing to signal the end of class, and he doesn’t concentrate in math quite the same way the other students do.

These factors, among others, affect the way Brock does many things within the school setting. They affect how he learns and the way he concentrates. But perhaps most importantly, Brock struggles to apply the skills and knowledge he gains in the classroom to his life outside of the school’s walls.

These things are important in the shaping of a human being. Children and young adults receive most of the skills and training they apply to everyday life within the school setting. After all, children spend one-third of their day at school. So, shouldn’t Brock’s time be spent wisely, receiving education in ways that he can actually learn?

Now imagine a school setting in which Brock could receive specialized supports in addition to his education. Instead of spending all eight hours of his school day learning math, science, and reading and writing, he might spend some of his time learning life skills. He could learn to properly do things such as sweep the floor, wash and fold laundry, make a bed or clean dishes. He could spend time with other students working on arts and crafts. And he could spend his time learning with professionals from many disciplines, such as Special Education Teachers, Speech and Language Pathologists and members of support staffs, in order to ensure that his individualized education plan is executed properly.    

These additional supports will not only help Brock to truly grasp what he is learning in school, but it will also help him to apply the knowledge and skills he attained into his everyday life. The ultimate goal, after all, is to help Brock return to a normalized setting with the ability to excel.

For more information, you can reach Justin Gerwick at jgerwick@salisburymgt.com at New Story. New Story’s private licensed schools offer an academic learning environment and multiple therapeutic services to help students achieve success while dealing with emotional, educational and behavioral challenges. For more information on New Story, call (877) 622-7245 or visit the website www.newstory.com.

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