My son is almost 18 years old, and he still needs help doing the little things like tying his shoes, brushing his teeth, and any other task that requires two hands. From the moment he’s awake to when he goes to bed, I’m constantly managing his care. There are medical appointments, psychiatrist appointments, brace fittings, medication management, and behavior challenges, all in addition to school. Having a child with special needs keeps me very busy!
Before coming to ClearWater Academy (CWA) my son was doing therapies six times a week after school, which left my family little time to spend with each other. I started researching schools when he was in the fourth grade. When I found CWA, I was astonished that all the therapies were done during the school day, thus eliminating most of his after-school therapies. That was life changing! I drove 40 minutes one-way, twice a day, to get him to CWA because of the programs offered. Thankfully, we eventually moved closer to the school.
Life is so much better because of CWA, their staff and programs. My son enjoys making breakfast each morning and being with friends who are like him. He has learned new things in a way that is functional for him and not just busy work. CWA assess each week where he is and incorporates needed skills building immediately. The availability of a staff member whose job it is to deal with the social and emotional aspects of his life is amazing! Any behavior that comes up is quickly addressed before things escalate. He has learned that he can do hard things, and he loves it when he accomplishes something that is a challenge for him.
Most of all, my son loves his job, working at Heritage Assisted Living, which the school’s career program provided. Finding something he can do and wants to do is a challenge, but CWA has worked hard to find the right fit for him. They gave him a job coach to help navigate his work days and a place to work where people know him and love him. The elderly residents are his dear friends and watch out for him. His boss has advocated for him, wants him to be a part of the Heritage family and recognizes his strengths and ability to love those dear people. He loves knowing that he will have a place in his community after graduation.
If you’re looking for a school that teaches the way your child learns or are looking for a place where all the student’s needs (physical, social, emotional, therapeutic, etc.) are met, then CWA is the place for your child! Programs at CWA are not offered anywhere in the public school system, and in order for our children with special needs to become as independent as possible, these programs are essential.– Upper School Parent