The Watson Institute’s programs serve as learning environments for Watson’s teachers, therapists and other staff.  Within the Watson environments, classrooms, camps, therapy groups and strategies are tested, refined and perfected, based upon child progress and behaviors.  Watson’s knowledge and expertise is passed through training and consultation capabilities to others who work directly with those who need special education.  As a result, the lives of many more children than could be served at Watson’s programs are positively changed, in the local area, throughout the state, and around the country.  In all of our work, Watson collaborates with many urban and suburban school districts and other agencies, university programs in special education, social work, child psychiatry and nursing.

Special Education Transition Tips for Educators


As many special education professionals know, transitions can be difficult for children with special needs. Adjusting to the back to school schedule can be challenging for students, their families and certainly special education teachers and support staff. The Watson Institute’s special education consultants have developed special education transition tips for educators to help you prepare … Read More

Teaching Children with Autism – TEACCH


The Watson Institute strives to provide high-quality special education, not only for the students who receive services, but also for our staff. Each year, Watson hosts a week-long seminar in collaboration with staff from Division TEACCH (Teaching, Expanding, Appreciating, Collaborating, Cooperating, Holistic), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill which provides resources and instructs educators on … Read More

Teaching Children with Special Needs using Technology


Watson’s special education teachers and instructional aides utilize a variety of special education technologies when teaching children with special needs. Technologies such as communications devices, SMART Boards and iPads are easily adapted to meet each student’s individualized educational needs. iPads in Special Education Classrooms In this modern age of technology, Watson’s students are proving that … Read More

Special Education Technology in Classroom Learning


The Watson Institute’s special education teachers and instructional aides create high-quality learning environments in the classrooms, adapting daily activities to meet each students’ needs. One of the many ways Watson staff adapt to the students’ needs is through utilization of special education technology in the classrooms – such as smart boards, iPads, and iPad apps. … Read More

Art Helps Students with Behavior Disorders

Art Helps Students with Behavior Disorders

Thirteen students at the Watson Institute’s Friendship Academy, a special education school serving students with behavior disorders and emotional challenges, were recently given the opportunity to express their hopes and dreams for the future through an art project. Working in collaboration with Sean Beauford, the Art Curator at Studio AM in Garfield, the students were … Read More

Art in Special Education Classrooms

Student art show

Art is incorporated into the student’s special education plans and is an integral part of students’ education at the Watson Institute’s Education Center Sewickley. Jesse Kisner, Watson’s art instructor, incorporates projects into the students’ art classes that allow them to express themselves through a variety of mediums. “I love to encourage creative expression and exploration with … Read More

Watson Students & City Theatre Partner

City Theatre Actors read student-written scripts

Students from the Watson Institute’s Friendship Academy partnered again with the City Theatre’s professional teaching artists as they read through student-written plays recently as they presented “An Afternoon of One-Act Plays” at the school. Special education teachers at Watson build creative learning opportunities into classroom projects, such as this Playwright Discovery Program and City Theatre … Read More

Students Learn Life Skills Through Animal Friends Project

2 students dog toys

Students at the Education Center Sewickley recently worked on a project, making and selling dog toys to benefit a local animal shelter, Animal Friends. Starting in February, students in Michelle Hartley’s classroom, which focuses on improving life skills, began collecting donated t-shirts from staff so they could rip them into strips and braid them together, … Read More

Watson Education Center Nominated for PHRA Award

Watson Team Coordinators celebrate PHRA award nomination

The Watson Institute’s Education Center Sewickley was recently nominated for the Pittsburgh Human Resources Association (PHRA) Engaging Pittsburgh Award for our Team Coordinator position. The Team Coordinator position was designed to retain professional staff with their vast knowledge and experience, and enhance their professional development, while supporting strong educational outcomes for our students. Team Coordinators at … Read More