Students with Special Needs Learn Pre-Vocational Skills

Students with special needs at the Watson Institute are provided with opportunities to prepare them for the special education transition that occurs post-graduation. In a recent post we shared that our students with special needs at the Education Center Sewickley designed and sold holiday cards as a fundraising activity which also served as a life skills development and learning opportunity for our students.

Thanks to the generous support of families, staff and community members, we sold over 125 packs of cards, raising nearly $800 to donate and purchase toys, games and school supplies for children experiencing homelessness in Homeless Children’s Education Fund shelters!

Once the sale came to a close, students at the Education Center helped to package the cards into packs of ten. This activity helped Watson students with special needs work on important life skills such as sorting and assembly, as well as one-to-one correspondence.

Special Education School Prepares Students for Transitions

Kathleen Blahovec, a special education teacher at Watson, worked with her instructional aides and their support team of therapists to help students in her class through this process, also working with them to deliver the cards to staff members throughout the school. These activities help students achieve their educational goals such as delivery, navigation and communication, as outlined in their individualized education plan (IEP).

With the cards sorted and delivered, it was time to go shopping! Kathleen’s special education classroom visited local stores in the community to hand select each of the items they would then deliver to the Homeless Children’s Education Fund. The shopping activity was a great way for students with special needs to practice handling money and using their communication skills, either verbally or through the use of assistive communication equipment such as iPads.

Kathleen recalls that one of her favorite moments was seeing her students deliver the donated toys and supplies to the homeless shelter. “It was so fun to see the students proud to show off their donations,” said Kathleen.