Everyone’s Welcome: Indy’s Story

Aside
by Kevin Bechtel
Network Support Team

Like many children on the autism spectrum, Indy was placed in a special day class when he first enrolled in school. He spent much of his day separate from other students. Kim Reno, Indy’s mom, wasn’t happy with that. She wanted her son to be exposed to working with lots of kids with different abilities. Unfortunately, Indy was only included in things like recess or computer time when he had limited opportunities to work with other kids. Kim was also not allowed to visit his class without an appointment or an escort.

But Kim wanted more for Indy.

 

She wanted him to be pushed academically and benefit from working with other kids his age in the classroom. Without any luck at the traditional public school system, Kim enrolled Indy in the inclusion program at Rocketship Discovery Prep for third grade. It was a difficult transition for Indy who wasn’t used to being in a classroom with so many other students. To help, Rocketship partnered Indy with a paraprofessional who helped him acclimate to the new school day and expectations.

Now, Indy is a fifth grade student. While there are still challenging days, Kim knows she made the right choice. Academically, Indy was just starting to read basic books and adding numbers to 5 when he started at Rocketship. He was ‘far below basic’. Today, Indy is nearly at grade level in both math and English. He has also become a more confident little boy who can stay in his seat during class. At home, Kim is better prepared to work with Indy using approaches she learned by visiting his class, where Rocketship teachers welcomed and worked with her.

Kim believes so strongly in Rocketship’s inclusion approach that this year she joined the team as a paraprofessional working with students who have severe needs both in and out of the classroom.

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