ACCESS Academy Update from Melissa:
Fall Semester 2017
"The first major thing to comment upon is our new space! The students and staff have had nothing but positive things to say about the new building. The large classroom with a sensory area for body-mapping, movement breaks, shooting baskets, jumping on a mini-trampoline, or using a disc swing have had a very positive impact on the students and helping them regulate their bodies and use sensory and movement strategies to overcome body struggles.
We are enjoying collaborating with a local school district to support the needs of autistic students who have not responded to traditional life skills environments yet need extra supports to access and respond to the general education curriculum and experiences they desire. Our success stories are building and the evidence is clear. ACCESS Academy is a great alternative placement option for some high need students. We look forward to working with districts to successfully transition these students back to their home schools in more appropriate environments that meet their academic goals for high school graduation, while scaffolding in the supports they need for their sensory-motor needs.
We've had a lot of academic work being achieved in the classroom and our oldest students are diving into The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. We've been learning about trees, plants, and flowers and their parts, reproductive systems, and the photosynthesis process in biology. We also gathered leaves from the trees behind the school, identified them in the biology book, and pressed them in books with wax paper. They will be turned into an art project when they've fully dried. The students learned all about polymers and monomers when they scooped out a pumpkin's insides and made slime with the scraped out flesh and seeds, liquid starch, and glue. Other subjects we've been working on are: irregular verbs in English, the United States before Columbus in US History, daily spelling and Indiana History exercises, individualized math and writing assignments, and daily neurologic music therapy sessions.
ACCESS students have also had a few fun field trips already this semester. We attended the West Side Nut Club Fall Festival, which was a huge hit. The students studied Munchie Maps, chose the foods they wanted to eat, plotted them on the map the day before going, and then got to try the foods they had chosen at the Festival. They also played games, won prizes, and a few of them even went on the Ferris Wheel. One student whose body was not quite ready for the Ferris wheel this year set a goal to ride next year. He responded, "I'm reaching new heights every day!" A great time was had by all and we offer our thankfulness to the West Side Nut Club for their kindness to our staff and students.
We also attended the Old National Bank Disability Employment Fair and the students not only learned about other organizations, but advocated for themselves by having conversations with visitors and presenters alike. After the fair, we went to the Mesker Park Zoo for a very short, but very fun, tour of the Amazonia building where our students got to see monkeys, toucans, a tapir, an alligator, and a jaguar. We have plans to return when the weather is nice for a full visit of the zoo.
This week, the students have been learning about the history of Thanksgiving and next week, they will all make pumpkin pies to take home for their family's Thanksgiving dinner. We are going to have a potluck lunch at ACCESS Academy and the students and staff have all chosen to bring in a favorite Thanksgiving food to share. In addition to the pies they will make to take home, we will make a pie to keep and share at school during the potluck lunch.
It has been a very successful fall semester at ACCESS Academy with the students making and achieving goals, overcoming their many body struggles, and getting the academic access that they all so very dearly desire. We can't wait to see what the end of 2017 and beginning of 2018 brings!" - Ms. Melissa
Creating Optimal Rhythms for Life,
Learning, Communication, and Independence
Our private day school provides students with severe autism:
We have a number of outreach projects we are offering soon: