As students returned to school this month, P.S. 14, a public school in Pelham Bay, New York, promoted inclusivity through an autism training session for teachers. While the school has previously held training sessions on subjects like bullying and emotional health, the autism training session was the first the school has held.
“We really just want to ensure that our teachers are provided with the tools and the training to give each student that comes into this building the best education possible,” Carly Ayala, the Community School Director, was quoted as saying in a report by the Bronx’s News 12.
The three-hour program was taught by Deborah Adams, a 40-year veteran of special education. Adams said she appreciated the opportunity to share her experiences with other teachers, and said she learns from them as much as they learn from her.
“I love being able to bring back some of my experiences and share it with them and I learn from them as much as they learn from me,” Adams said.
The nearly three dozen teachers who participated in the session said the last autism training they received took place when they were credentialed, some more than ten years ago. The program focuses on ways to deal with the challenges connected with autism, including sensory issues, social challenges, and unusual interests.
One of the teachers, Jaclyn Sokol, said it was “great to know that I’m able to use these strategies in the classroom to help them.”
Upon completing the course, the teachers received a certificate, and felt they were prepared to teach the school’s 600 Kindergarten through 5th grade students, according to News 12.
“It’s exciting, every year it's different, and you look forward to it and we're always learning, just like the kids,” teacher Christine Duffy said.