Autistic support classrooms in Chester County have been so successful that their model is being replicated halfway around the globe in the Czech Republic.
Czech behavioral analyst Dita Chapman recently toured such classes in the West Chester Area School District, which “uses visual supports and research-based, data-driven, proven interventions” based on the statewide PaTTAN Autism Initiative, according to a Daily Local News report.
“Seeing what is happening here in Pennsylvania has been so encouraging,” Chapman said. “I come from the field of behavioral analysis, which is very complex. What the people at PaTTAN have done is manage to take something that is very difficult and complex and turn it into something simple that teachers and support staff can implement.
“I have not seen a single person in any of the classrooms that I’ve visited that wasn’t able to follow the protocol.”
The PaTTAN autistic support model is also in place at East Goshen, Fern Hill, and Westtown-Thornbury elementary schools, and Fugett and Stetson middle schools.
“Children in the Czech Republic who have been diagnosed with autism basically have two options,” Chapman said. “They can either go into mainstream classrooms, which is not ideal because the teachers have no idea what to do with these children. They can’t teach them, so the kids end up learning nothing.
“The other option is to go to a special education school where the children are very low functioning. There is really nothing in between.”
Read more about Chester County’s successful PaTTAN autistic support initiative in the Daily Local News here.