Special Education News & Updates

Stay up-to-date on the latest special education news and updates from the Watson Institute. We include news, as well as stories and helpful information featuring our special education teachers, therapists, and mental health professionals and how they provide exceptional educational and supportive services to children with special needs. Also learn about our special education school programs and outpatient resources for children ages 3 to 21.

Incorporating STEAM Learning into Special Education Curriculum

students work together on model engine project in classroom

Prior to the global pandemic, at the Watson Institute’s WISCA special education school, students with high-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder learned through a combined approach of in-class instruction and support alongside an online curriculum tailored to meet their individualized needs. Special education teachers at WISCA utilize a variety of methods to help their students learn academically […]

COVID-19 Updates & Resources

At the Watson Institute, the health and safety of our students, staff and team members is our number one priority.  To support our students and families, we are providing learning options that are best suited to meet our students’ needs. The resources below are provided to support students and families. Resources for Students and Parents […]

Thoughts for Families in a Hard Time

children holding hands

To the families of a child with exceptionalities, caregivers, and newly designated homeschoolers. We’re all in this together. You face a time of extreme stress. Between working full-time and supporting your child’s education and therapies, you may feel lost or burned out. I don’t want to add to the noise of the advice you currently […]

Watson Institute Continuity of Education Plan

The goal of Watson’s Continuity of Education Plan is to present lessons and activities to students and their families in the form of Planned Instruction and Review and Enrichment. We are committed to support our students and families whom, as all of us, have had many changes in their lives. We seek to provide education to our students so they can reach their potential in all aspects of their lives. […]

Special Education School Partners with University OT Programs


At the Watson Institute, a special education school in Western Pennsylvania, offering professional development opportunities for our staff is a critical component to providing comprehensive, high-quality special education services to students with special needs. Our partnerships with local universities provide invaluable professional development opportunities for staff. The Watson Institute works with students in various programs […]

Watson Educator Teaches Community Engagement & Support

Students pictured with Police Officer holding a sweet potato pie

Educators at the Watson Institute’s Friendship Academy are always looking for ways to help our students grow academically and socially. In addition to classroom learning, educators aim to instill the importance of building positive connections in the community. Friendship Academy is a special education school with programs for children between the ages of 5 to […]

Sensory Input for Children with Special Needs


At the Watson Institute, one main objective is helping children with special needs achieve their educational and developmental goals. Educators at Watson are always on the lookout for special education resources and will often research activities, such as those that provide sensory input, to incorporate into daily classroom activities to help our students succeed. Last […]

Fundraiser Helps Students Work on Functional & Vocational Skills

Student with special needs given structured choice

At the Watson Institute, students with special needs learn academic and developmental skills to help them reach their individualized goals. Social and emotional learning are also important skill sets incorporated into students’ daily classroom activities. Feelings such as empathy, compassion, and generosity are taught by example through philanthropic activities. Students in Gabrielle Sikora’s Life Skills […]

How to Find a Child Therapist


Finding the right resources for your child can be a challenge; especially if your child has complex medical or mental health needs. Here are some tips on finding the right therapist for your child, as well as how to navigate the confusing alphabet soup of medical acronyms.  The first step to identifying an appropriate therapist […]

PBIS Program Helps Friendship Students RISE Up!


At the Watson Institute’s Friendship Academy, our team of educators and specialists help students with severe emotional and behavioral challenges achieve their goals, academically and developmentally. At the beginning of last school year, Friendship implemented a school-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program to encourage the use of positive behavior interventions and set consistent […]