Emma is in 4th grade and this is her second year in The School for Asperger’s/HFA at Trident Academy. Her mom says she has watched her daughter blossom into a little girl who loves attending school and learning.
“I cannot even begin to imagine where she would be right now if this program had been available to her when we received her diagnosis at age 5,” says Megan, Emma’s mother. “Parents with young children enrolled are very, very lucky.”
Emma was one of the first students to enroll in Trident Academy’s new program for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Megan jumped at the chance when the program opened in 2013, knowing that early intervention is crucial for children with (ASD).
Emma is one of the students who have made extreme progress, according to Trident Academy Program Director Nicole McLain.
“Emma went from a child completely traumatized about attending school to one with a growing confidence in herself both socially and academically,” Megan explains. “The staff supported Emma in her transition from her former school to Trident Academy. Once her behavior was under control, her entire life changed, as did mine as a parent. They gave us back something that we’d lost a long time ago – HOPE.”
Ms. McLain says as a group, kindergarteners at the school have shown the most progress.
“The social growth is amazing,” Ms. McLain states. “Students who were very focused on playing by themselves and not even engaging in parallel play were initiating play with others and engaging in pretend play – within just six months.”
With Emma’s social skills soaring, Megan wants to see her daughter catch up to her peers academically, though she accepts the realistic limitations related to her autism.
“I think that the key factors in Emma’s growth has been the structure and consistency that the staff provides,” Megan notes. “I know that she feels accepted by everybody when she enters the front doors of school and I can feel good as a parent that she is safe and having her needs met.”
Megan is grateful for Emma’s acceptance to Trident Academy and urges parents of younger children to explore the option.
“Their children will excel. As any parent of a special needs child will tell you, early intervention is very important! Just look at the progress my ‘older’ child has made!” Megan exclaims.
To learn more about The School for Asperger’s/HFA at Trident Academy, contact Niki Leiva by email or phone at 843.884.3494.