Participant – (Kids Enjoy Exercise Now)
NYC Autism Charter Schools: Creating Possibilities
Christian and his family joined NYC Autism Charter Schools when he was just 5 years old. With schools in East Harlem and the South Bronx, NYC Autism Charter Schools are the only public charter schools in NY State exclusively dedicated to serving children with autism and their families. Christian is now 14. He is an incredibly sweet and charming young man who has faced many challenges. He does not have vocal speech and when he first enrolled at the school, he was not able to follow instructions or communicate his wants and needs. He engaged in very high rates of challenging behavior – tantrums and constant finger flicking that interfered with his ability to listen and learn. Life for his family was challenging as well. It was difficult to take Christian with them outside of the house. He would drop to the ground or become unmanageable in a store or restaurant. Getting a haircut or going to the doctor was traumatic for him and everyone involved. Taking a family vacation to visit relatives was completely out of the question. But all that changed. Our skilled staff worked with Christian and his dedicated family to teach him the skills he needed: using the restroom more independently, tolerating doctor and dental visits, walking safely with his parents in the community, understanding more and more language, and using an augmentative communication system to express himself. They even created a mock airplane seat to practice sitting for longer and longer periods of time and taught him to tolerate wearing wrap-around sunglasses to keep the sand he liked to flick on the beach from getting into his eyes. All of this culminated in the family’s first trip home since Christian was born. Life changing stuff for him and his family! That’s what NYC Autism Charter Schools focus on every day: creating possibilities for each and every student so that they can become as independent and engaged with their family and community as possible.