Every month, Eileen McClory, a reporter for the Dayton Daily News, features a local school system program that enhances the academic or mental health outcomes of local teachers and children.
When you enter the Belmont High School special education classroom at midday, it feels like a sanctuary in contrast to the bustling school cafeteria.
As part of their curriculum, Project Life students create Valentine’s Day cards in order to acquire life skills for when they leave the school system.
Dayton Public Schools provides three programs for students with special needs, and this is one of them. With the help of Project Life, children with more complex needs can gain the confidence they need to lead more autonomous lives. Students who require additional assistance are placed in the Adult Transition Unit. For the most self-reliant special needs pupils, there is Project Search.
There are now 14 students enrolled in each of the three programs. There were six students enrolled in Project Life, but there is room for up to 25 in the program.
Project Search and the Adult Transition Unit both assist students in gaining employable skills. For instance, Project Search allows students to visit a Kettering Health Network hospital and gain experience in ten distinct areas of the hospital, such as ambulatory care or nutrition services. This well-liked approach, which was created at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, places individuals with developmental impairments in entry-level jobs with high turnover that are also open to other school districts in the area.
However, these were personal initiatives for me. Throughout her life, my aunt has experienced developmental problems. With some help, she has been able to work and support herself. Her life, however, is not the life of everyone.
Disregarding those with special needs is a simple task. However, we shouldn’t, not just because every life matters but also because we ought to be considering what we can do to ensure that everyone has a happy and secure end to their life.
Parents frequently enquire about the level of support their child will receive, according to Christine Daniel, academic coordinator for the Office of Exceptional Children. She compares Project Life as delivering a big hug. It’s a side embrace with the Adult Transition Unit. It’s similar to a fist bump, Project Search.
“Anecdotes tell us that these kids are growing because they participate in these programs, but I don’t have data numbers to support that claim,” Daniel added. “We are aware of the situation.”
According to Daniel, one kid who participated in Project Life was unable to walk down the hall unaccompanied or use the restroom by herself. By the end, nevertheless, the pupil could complete those two activities by themselves.
Additionally, those classes’ pupils are free to work outside of the building. The district collaborates with Learning Tree Farm to get children outside and working with animals and the gardens, Poelking Lanes to teach them how to clean bowling shoes, and Innovative Plastic Molders to teach them practical skills.
According to Daniel, the district is searching for other local businesses to collaborate with, and Innovative Plastics has been one of their longest-standing collaborators. Daniel stated that she is looking for room to expand the program to other schools but hasn’t yet done so.