Leadership Chattanooga Unveils New Learning Center For Autistic Students At Orchard Knob Middle School

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Orchard Knob Middle School is home to a special population of students who have exceptional needs and require unique care and a modified curriculum in order to be successful in school and in life beyond the classroom. These students - most of whom are on the autism spectrum - find the structured environment they need in Orchard Knob's Developmental Communication Classroom (DCC) and Comprehensive Development Classroom (CDC).  SUCCEED stands for, Students Utilizing Classroom and Community to Enhance Everyday Development. The purpose of this program is to increase the autistic students' academic achievement, life skills, and career skills by incorporating real-life settings and simulations into their daily learning.

To expand the effectiveness of the SUCCEED program at Orchard Knob Middle, a group of this year's Leadership Chattanooga participants partnered with school personnel to renovate an old vocational education shop into a room full of simulation stations - a mini life skills training ground. Team Lead 2 SUCCEED from Leadership Chattanooga cleared out and painted the space, worked with school personnel on designing the floor plan for the new space, worked with companies and organizations on securing in-kind donations, and then constructed and filled the simulation stations.

The SUCCEED students now have a library, office spaces where they will learn to execute basic office tasks, mini work stations where they can do work on computers, another station where they can learn how to launder their clothes, a recreational area where they will do their physical and occupational therapy, and a grocery area where they can learn how to shelve, organize, and bag goods. The ultimate goal is to help the students become more independent and prepare them to enter the workforce after graduating from school. 


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