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It is now regarded as a truism that many of those with an ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) who are at the upper end of the spectrum have specific talents and abilities that lend themselves particularly well to STEM pursuits. It is equally true that those with an ASD thrive when provided with supports that mitigate their weaknesses, and with an education that takes into account their specific learning needs. This is where Village Glen shines.
Students with ASD often have difficulty socializing, with making friends, with starting and continuing conversations, with distinguishing a friend from an acquaintance, and with a host of other practical and pragmatic language situations that hinder their progress socially, academically and vocationally. To combat such difficulties academically, Village Glen integrates cooperative, collaborative and interactive activities throughout the curriculum. Students might collaborate on a project in science, be part of a team in robotics, make a presentation to their class in programming, or engage in debate in government. Such classroom activities provide frequent and real-world opportunities for interaction and collaboration, and in so doing, guide the student to more fluid social encounters.
To accommodate their specific learning needs, the teacher might produce an electronic document while teaching, outlining the central concepts and ideas of the lesson, but also incorporating all of the salient input of the student participants. That document becomes a summary of the lesson, a transcript of what took place—it is available to the student immediately, electronically, and is something they can access at any time to review the lesson. Such a technique reinforces the content of the lesson by summarizing it visually while the student is listening. STEM offers great promise to our students, but it is the specialized instruction that enables them to fully access the curriculum and the supports, both behavioral and academic, which enable them to develop habits of cooperation and compromise. These are essential elements that enable the promise of STEM to be realized at Village Glen.

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