Autistic Students Return to School to Find Updated Tech, Revamped Campus, Garden


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 Students and families at The Children’s Center for Neurodevelopmental Studies, located in Glendale, Ariz., experienced a welcome surprise when they returned to campus last week – remodeled classrooms and outside areas, new technology and an updated healing garden. 

“The effects of COVID-19 can be seen across many industries but not many are as categorically impacted as the Valley’s educational system,” said Michelle Stroyne, Special Education Director. “Many parents and educators are especially concerned about special needs students and those with IEPs getting the services they need and deserve during the global pandemic. As many schools have pivoted to virtual learning environments, we are on-site to serve our students in a safe environment with increased cleaning protocol, social distancing and mandatory mask wearing by staff.” 

Opened in 1978, The Children’s Center for Neurodevelopmental Studies is an invaluable resource for families with children on the Autism spectrum. The facility helps those searching for specialized and highly individualized services to maximize both educational and life skills success. The Children’s Center provides comprehensive educational, therapeutic and habilitative programs for children and young adults ages 3-22 including positive behavior intervention and support, occupational therapy, speech therapy and community-based instruction. 

This summer the Center invested to update technology and resources at the campus including adding exterior space so each classroom has its own private outdoor area, upgrading the healing garden for student enjoyment and to foster important life skills like gardening, purchasing new classroom furniture to encourage social and distant living, remodeling bathrooms and kitchen areas for ease of cleaning and disinfecting, upgrading Wi-Fi and phones systems, purchasing new Chromebooks and tablets to provide a 1:1 student technology ratio, plus much more. 

“For students on the Autism spectrum, consistency and routine is very important,” added Stroyne. “In this climate, it is important to our staff and teachers to provide the stability our students need to continue to thrive during this time of uncertainty. And while mask-wearing is a challenge for many of our kids because of sensory issues, we have been pleasantly surprised by the student’s adaptability on this important safety measure.” 

Currently, there are roughly 50 students at The Children’s Center campus, allowing for many opportunities for safe social distance practices. The Children’s Center, located at 5430 W. Glenn Dr., Glendale, Ariz., is a full-service non-profit corporation 501 (C)(3) organization offering comprehensive educational, therapeutic and habilitative programs for children ages 3-22. The Center’s unique, comprehensive, wrap-around approach offers families of children with Autism and related disorders a variety of services year-round. Specialized services are individualized to meet the changing needs of children and families. For more information or to schedule a tour, visit https://thechildrenscenteraz.org/ or call (623) 915-0345. 

 

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