"I used to dream about finding the perfect school for Sophia, one that would meet all her needs: academic, social, emotional, physical. I don’t have to dream anymore because now Sophia goes to Avalon.”
Celia | Parent
Students attend the core program as a full-time educational option. This program runs from 9AM to 3PM five days a week (September through June) and fosters the development of functional skills which are so important to enhance the quality of life in our students with profound motor and other complex challenges. It encompasses all the needs of children with cerebral palsy and other movement disorders in a trans-disciplinary program at one location. All developmental areas are addressed: academic, gross and fine motor, speech, communication, social, emotional and self-help.
Unique to Avalon is the integration of movement education into all classroom activities, with the intent of enhancing motor-abilities in the real-world. All students are encouraged to be as independently and safely mobile as their motor abilities allow. Mobility modes vary according to ability and include canes, walkers, power wheelchairs, body scooters, and rolling techniques. In particular, students are not confined to wheelchairs for most of the school day. Instead, specially adapted seating is preferred for classroom activities. Students also participate daily in a floor-based group movement program to further facilitate motor-skill development. Additionally, all students routinely benefit from assisted rides along the local Bayshore Trail on specially adapted tricycles.
The Avalon Academy provides a curriculum consisting of age-appropriate functionally based activities within the framework of the Common Core State Standards for children with movement disorders associated with cognitive and other impairments. We address movement, daily living, self-help, communication, visual and cognitive skills, as appropriate. Students who attend this program are ungraded and will be assessed using CAA testing.
High school age students at Avalon receive instruction in those content areas not only within the academic school setting but also through Community Based Instruction and through Project-Based learning.
Our approach is integrated and interdisciplinary to optimize learning for each child. Students have access to augmentative and alternative means of communication (AAC) and assistive technology (AT) applications. The Avalon Academy also promotes a reverse mainstreaming program with two local schools.
Development of social skills is also considered a key goal. Meal-times are social occasions in which all students participate regardless of whether they eat independently, dependently or via a gastric tube. The wider Avalon community regularly gets together to celebrate special occasions (birthdays, holidays, etc).
Students from two local middle schools periodically visit so that Avalon pupils have the opportunity to interact with able-bodied children. The students participate in a variety of activities, both indoor (such as art and cooking projects) and outdoor during tricycle rides. This ‘reverse integration’ has been extremely successful and popular with both the visiting and Avalon students.