"We help develop basic high school survival skills," Hume said, adding that another cornerstone of the program is its emphasis on promoting responsibility, independence, and self-management.
According to Odom, many teens with ASD continue to live with their parents after high school. "Not surprisingly, parents worry about the future as they anticipate their child's transition out of the public schools," he said.
"CSESA has provided opportunities for greater collaboration and relationship building with the families who have attended 'Transitioning Together' sessions," said Phyllis Alston, the exceptional children teacher for compliance at MPHS. Each week, CSESA staff and school district personnel lead these discussion groups with families.
"We became aware of resources available that without CSESA we may not have been made aware of," said Faith Hamilton, whose teenager will be attending Central Piedmont Community College in the fall to study photography. "My son gained confidence and his grades improved this year."
According to Odom, built into the CSESA program's design are features that help to install it quickly and successfully, such as "autism teams," which spearhead efforts within the schools. The program also uses coaching to provide feedback on new practices as teachers implement them.
Although most complex programs may take 5 to 7 years to put into place, Odom said schools in N.C. and 5 other states began using CSESA's approach within weeks, and he projects that they will be administering the program on their own within 2 years.
"CSESA will expand to 60 more schools over the next 3 years," he added. "We hope a lot more students with autism spectrum disorders will be able to leave high school better prepared for the challenges they'll face."
|Contact: Dave Shaw|
Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute