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What’s Next?

In just a few weeks, students across the country will shake hands amid pomp and circumstance and receive their certificates and high school diplomas. At Village Glen, the scene will be no different. Many students have already heard from colleges and universities, from internship programs and job placements what their immediate future holds. But for our population, for students with an ASD, the decision what the next step is, or should be, always looms large. For some parents, the work began when their student entered high school; the process of matching their strengths and interests, of finding out just what their talents are, and their goals. Sometimes, the best choice isn’t to pursue a 4-year degree, or even a 2-year one. Sometimes, a certificated program is more appropriate, one that can be completed in 6 months, or a year. We encourage parents to look at a variety of occupations in a particular field, some of which require a great deal of education, perhaps an advanced degree, others requiring much less training in the beginning or in some cases none at all. In some cases, an internship provides on-the-job experience. This is true for fields as different as architecture and zoology. One can pursue a degree in architecture in 4 or 5 years, or get a certificate of achievement in architectural technologies over just 3 semesters. The situation is similar for those with an interest in animal biology. Training varies from advanced degrees for those teaching the subject in college, to veterinary technologists with a 2-year degree, to veterinary assistants with on-the-job training. At Village Glen, the process of determining what’s next involves the College and Career Counselor, teachers, administrators, parents, and of course the student. By offering a wide array of STEM classes to stimulate interest in practical and in-demand STEM careers, such as sound engineering, digital design, computer science, and robotics, students have the ability to try out a new field in a school setting. Often, they develop interests that they previously wouldn’t even have considered. And sometimes, that interest turns into a career. That’s our hope, and our goal!

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