Special Education School Programs – A Year in Review

With its many special education school programs, the Watson Institute wants to proudly ‘brag-on’ the many student accomplishments over this past school year.

This has been an exciting year for the Watson Institute! In September 2015, we broke ground on the site where our brand new Education Center South will be opening in South Fayette in January 2017 to serve more children with autism and other special needs. The Education Center South will replicate the programs and services currently offered at our Education Center Sewickley, a model that has proven successful for our students and their families.

Special Education School Programs & Support Services

The Watson Institute provided special education programs and supportive services to more than 1,300 students throughout Western Pennsylvania in the past year, working with more than 70 area school districts.

Additionally, we graduated nearly 50 students at the end of the 2015-2016 school year from our LEAP Preschool, WISCA program, Friendship Academy, and the Education Center and WIBSA program.

This past year the Watson Institute hosted more than 150 children with special needs and their families at our 4th Annual Special Kick Clinic with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds for a day of soccer at the Highmark Stadium.

Education Center students celebrated Prom at the Chartiers Country Club, dancing the night away with their families and Watson staff, crowning a Prom Queen and four Prom Kings!

Friendship Academy celebrated students’ creativity through a partnership with City Theatre. Special education teachers at Watson built creative learning opportunities into classroom projects for which nearly two dozen students wrote one-act plays to be read aloud by professional actors then submitted to the VSA Playwright Discovery program.

The Watson Institute’s LEAP Preschool offers early intervention services for children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and their typically-developing peers. LEAP Preschoolers leapt into spring with their annual Jump-a-Thon which raises money to support the Watson Institute’s Walk Now for Autism Speaks team. Students from LEAP practiced jumping movements and foot patterns designed to help development of essential coordinator and motor planning skills.

The Watson Institute’s WISCA special education schools’ students had the chance to visit Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center this year, learning more about career opportunities in art, computer science, and programming. Students experienced 4D game simulations and a demonstration of Alice, a software program designed at CMU to educate students on coding and programming.

We are so proud of our students and staff for all of their hard work throughout the year and look forward to another great year at the Watson Institute.