Students with Autism Thrive at Stepping Stones this Summer
Date posted: June 21, 2017
Stepping Stones’ Extended School-Year Program Allows Students with Autism to Thrive
While Stepping Stones’ Given Campus is home to our original summer day camp, it’s also home to 22 students with severe autism who are thriving in our extended school-year program.
These students are part of our Step-Up program, which launched in 2004 as the region’s first alternative education program for students with severe autism and challenging behaviors. While these students may struggle in a traditional classroom setting, at Stepping Stones they receive the personalized instruction and resources they need to succeed in their studies and build independence.
Classroom Activities with Summertime PerksAt the start of summer, Step-Up Students enjoy a week-long break before continuing their studies in the classroom. Through the summer, they maintain classroom knowledge while also enjoying seasonal activities such as boating, fishing and daily swim time at the pool. For their science lessons, they take advantage of great weather and explore wildlife at a nearby creek.
Transition is a challenge for individuals with severe autism and the extended school-year program allows students to continue to thrive in their classroom routine and maintain skills.
Building Strong Futures in the ClassroomIn addition to their traditional studies, students also build employment and independent living skills for strong futures outside the classroom. On community outings, they tour local businesses to explore job opportunities. They also gain experience sticking to a budget on shopping trips to Kroger and other retailers. Students work off of a visual shopping list to match and purchase items for future classroom activities.
“The goal is to help the students become more accustomed and acclimated to public settings and develop more and more responsibility with each trip,” said Intervention Specialist Christina Johns.
In the classroom, students work with their educational aides to complete sample job applications and develop resumes. They also participate in daily employment skill activities, such as correctly matching a dry cleaning receipt with listed clothing items.