At Southeastern University they're not just building a campus, they're building a revolution in Autism education.
"There's going to be so much learning.. it's going to be an explosion ..it's going to be great!," says
Dr.Amy Bratten, the Dean of College of Education at SEU.
Starting this fall, SEU will open the Pathways School of Excellence. It's designed for middle, high school, and transitional students with special needs. Beyond the education the students will be fully integrated into campus life, getting to walk, talk, and hang out with college kids.
Teacher Tricia Shaw, who will be heading up the class for middle school students, says putting autistic children in an environment where they can engage with other students is ground breaking.
"They learn how to interact with each other , have conversations, eat lunch together., hang out on the football field together, go swimming together , those kinds of things," Shaw says.
For parents like Dana Plunkett, Pathways is a game changer not only for her daughter but for everyone who interacts with her.
"We always wanted to allow our kids to be more important in the classroom," says Plunkett. "They can learn in an environment that's easy for them but they can also teach people to learn about them, the students at Southeastern."
It begs the question, who's learning more? The students with special needs or the college students whom they will interact with?
Dean Bratten says it's a win, win.
"Our student body is going to be learning about people with disabilities and integrating that into their everyday life. That's huge!," Bratten says.
Pathways is set to open in September. They're still accepting applications. They want this to be a permanent fixture of Southeastern University.
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