For the second year, ABC of NC has hosted public school teachers from neighboring school systems through the Summer Institute, a three-day intensive program dedicated to evidence-based practices in the field of autism. These trainings, made possible through generous funding from The Pratt Family Foundation and the Reynolds American Foundation, are part of a larger grant funded program that also includes large-group teacher trainings and a parent seminar series. To date, we have worked with public school teachers from the following districts: Guilford, Davie, Davidson, Yadkin, and Iredell-Statesville.
The Institute brings together small groups of public school teachers from a variety of settings (i.e. resource, inclusion, and self-contained teachers) and includes both direct observation and hands-on practice in the classroom. Teachers are given the opportunity to spend time in an ABC of NC classroom similar to the class in which they teach during the school year. During this time, they receive explanations, demonstrations and hands-on opportunities to see the evidence-based practices in action. Over the course of the next semester, each participating teacher will receive one-on-one coaching in her/his own classroom.
As one participant said, “This [training] was awesome. I think every teacher and teacher assistant should attend this training before working with students with autism. I did not want the time of learning to end.”
“Collaboration between public school systems and ABC of NC is a win-win for all parties involved,” said Selene Johnson, ABC of NC, Executive Director. “Teachers benefit from the special training opportunities, parents benefit by having access to free parent training seminars, ABC of NC benefits by expanding its network of community partners, and ultimately and most importantly, students benefit from the autism expertise gained by their classroom teachers. Through cooperation and collaboration, we can provide a high quality teacher education program to help teachers of students with autism spectrum disorders feel and become more competent and confident in their teaching.”