Easter Seals Therapeutic School expands to Patriots’ Gateway

Online Staff Report

Easter Seals Therapeutic School and Center for Autism will expand to Patriots’ Gateway Community Center this September.

The expanded school, at 615 S. Fifth St., Rockford, will meet the community’s increasing need for therapeutic school services by accommodating 100 students with autism spectrum disorders, emotional disorders and intellectual disabilities.

Nearly 100 school districts in central and northern Illinois, extending into Wisconsin and the Chicagoland area, partner with Easter Seals to provide individualized educational programs for students with autism and related intellectual disabilities.

Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago (ESMC) has been a leader in providing services for children and adults living with autism and other disabilities for 20 years — giving students the help they need today to live better, more independent lives,” said ESMC President and CEO Tim Muri. “The new location in Rockford will enrich the lives of our students with access to Easter Seals’ individualized education and amenities, such as larger classrooms, computer lab, gymnasium, school store, two playgrounds and access to the Tiger Woods Learning Links playground.”

Easter Seals outgrew its current facility at 650 N. Main, which currently has 60 students.

School Administrator Jacque Ruch noted: “Easter Seals provides an alternative school placement and helps each student grow towards independence. We offer year-round instruction for students from ages 3 to 21. Our programming is developed to emphasize a wide range of curriculum and activities that are based on the specific needs of each student.”

Easter Seals has specialized staff that utilize a total communication approach (i.e. augmentative communication devices, sign language, visual cues, gestures, etc.), to maximize the learning opportunities for all students. The core curriculum offered to students focuses on creating access to age- and grade-appropriate learning standards, while increasing independent living skills and providing opportunities for vocational training and supported or independent employment.

Easter Seals works to empower each student to achieve peak academic performance, increase social and vocational skills, develop an effective means of communication and foster the acquisition of functional life skills for independence in the community. Therapies available include speech/language, occupational, social work and nursing. Other services include behavior consultation, vocational and community training, art and dog therapy.

Call (815) 965-6745 for more details, or visit eastersealschicago.org.

From the Aug. 28-Sept. 3, 2013, issue

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