Thursday, November 30, 2006

Program for Middle Schoolers with Aspergers

An intermediate school in Staten Island, NY offers a program for 16 students with Aperger's. They attend classes with the general population, and have a room (nicknamed the "Tap Room")they can visit during the lunch hour if the cafeteria is too intense. The room also serves as a tutorial center and test taking site.
"The students with Asperger's share a paraprofessional between them, who is there largely to keep them focused and on track with the rest of the class. Their two District 75 teachers provide tutoring, homework modification, and other individualized needs in the Tap room, but the goal is to keep the students with their general education peers for as long as possible throughout the day. "

"Kathleen Boyer credits her 12-year-old son Declan's increased happiness and maturity on the fact that he's modeling himself after well-performing students while getting the behavioral support from teachers who are attuned to his needs.
[The teachers] understand that there are going to be things about school that are going to be rough for our kids, she said.
While the parents are thrilled with the program, they were, until recently, anxious about whether it would be expanded into high school, where there is currently no service that caters specifically to Asperger's syndrome.
The only other public school program on the Island serves eight children in kindergarten at PS 4 in Arden Heights with nestled classes, which integrates them with their general education peers.
Department of Education officials have given assurances that there will be a program for ninth graders beginning in September 2007, but they have yet to name a school to house it. "

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