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The school for high-functioning children with autism spectrum disorder

Our Approach

The Westview School offers a challenging curriculum at all program levels and blends a number of methodologies to provide for the unique needs of each child. In addition to the academic curriculum, key areas of focus include language and communication, social skills, sensory integration, gross and fine motor ability, cognitive development, coping skills and activities of daily living.

Many people believe that putting children with autism spectrum disorder in a traditional educational setting – around "typical" children – will help them develop social skills. However, children with autism spectrum disorder often do not learn appropriately merely from observation. They must be taught the social innuendos that many naturally acquire through experience and observation. At the higher-functioning levels on the autism spectrum, children strongly desire to “belong." Their differences make this “belonging” a tremendous challenge in the very unforgiving world of children. Living with autism spectrum disorder has been described as being dropped in a foreign land with no knowledge of the language or customs, but with the right tutors, we believe that our students can be taught the skills to survive and thrive.For our students, programs that serve children who are severely affected by autism spectrum disorder and those that serve children with less challenging disabilities are usually not appropriate. Schools that specialize exclusively in learning disabilities are also not  designed for our students. Educating high-functioning students with autism spectrum disorder in the appropriate environment is critical. Because they “fit” at Westview, many of the challenges they would face in a regular classroom setting disappear. Anxiety, stress and depression levels drop, not only for the child, but for the entire family. Children at Westview build reciprocal friendships and truly learn what it means to be a friend.

Our staff is trained in the Nurtured Heart Approach®, a relationship-focused methodology for helping children (and adults) build their inner wealth and use their intensity in successful ways. This behavioral approach has become a powerful way of awakening the inherent greatness in all children while facilitating parenting and classroom success. By neutralizing negative behavior and energizing positive behavior in meaningful ways, we are able to transform the child through the awareness of their inner greatness. This approach has a proven impact on every child, including those who are challenged behaviorally, socially and academically.

The entire staff is also trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid. The training covers common mental health challenges for youth, typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including ADHD), and eating disorders.

Additionally, our entire staff is trained in Right Response, a proactive, person-centered approach to behavioral support and safety. Right Response techniques focus on the prevention of escalation, as well as ways to successfully manage aggression or behavioral challenges and help prevent such incidents from occurring in the future.

Recognizing the unique needs of these children, Westview’s focus is on providing the proper learning environment, which includes a low student-to-teacher ratio, a structured and quiet environment, practical behavior guidelines and open communication with parents.