DEFIANCE, Ohio – Administrators of Defiance College and the Hench Autism Studies Program have announced a new partnership with Defiance City Schools, beginning with the 2009-10 school year. The Defiance City Schools will be the public school entity partnering with Defiance College to provide educational services to adolescent students with autism.
Dr. Jo Ann Burkhardt, director of the Hench Autism Studies Program at Defiance College, said, “We are very excited about this new partnership and look forward to developing model programs and innovative practices within this unique collaboration.”
Laura Springer, director of special services for Defiance City Schools, will be supervising the classroom on the Defiance College campus. Springer reported that tentatively six students will begin in the program in August 2009.
Defiance City Schools superintendent Mike Struble stated, “The Defiance City schools are happy to be a partner in this innovative, worthwhile program. Partnering with Defiance College makes a great deal of sense to us. Together we hope to make a positive contribution to these students.”
Defiance College provost, Dr. Catharine O’Connell, observed that, “This partnership is of great mutual benefit. Defiance College students who have worked with the Hench Autism Studies Program over the last two years have learned a tremendous amount about autism and how to deal with human difference. I think they would agree that their educational experience has been enhanced by their participation in this program.”
Defiance College has provided space for a public school classroom on the DC campus for adolescents with autism for the past two years. During this time the college has partnered with the Northwest Ohio Educational Service Center.
The classroom will remain an option for adolescent students with autism within the six-county area of Northwest Ohio. Dr. Burkhardt said that in the initial two years of the program, parents have reported that their children “have made remarkable progress in this distinctive, campus-based program.”
Locating the classroom on a college campus provides numerous benefits to the public school students. Defiance College provides these students access to college facilities, including the Smart Fitness Center, dining hall, and library, as well as the opportunity to participate in various campus programs. Students in the classroom recently participated in a college-sponsored Wii competition.
The Hench Autism Studies Program at Defiance College is designed to serve individuals and families facing challenges associated with autism with an emphasis both on academic preparation and direct service. More information about the program can be obtained by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Defiance College, chartered in 1850, is an independent, liberal arts institution in Northwest Ohio offering more than 40 undergraduate majors as well as graduate programs in education and business. Defiance College has received national recognition for its educational experience of engagement. U. S. News & World Report ranks Defiance in the top tier of comprehensive colleges in the Midwest. The college website is www.defiance.edu.
April 9, 2009