The Temple Grandin School serves exceptional students with Asperger's Syndrome and similar learning profiles. Our program provides a challenging curriculum, real-world resources and mentors, and integrated social and organizational skills support. Working together with families, our mission is to meet the unique needs of these students in an individualized, strength-based program that builds students' confidence, knowledge, and perseverance and prepares them to fulfill their potential as effective citizens of the 21st century. Through our collaborative program, TGS will educate the community about the talent, skills and character of its students, and be a catalyst for the development of innovative educational programs that meet the needs of all students. TGS Program OverviewSmall classes with supportive teachersThe average class size at TGS is four to eight students. In addition to subject matter knowledge, our regular teachers have knowledge of and experience with Asperger’s Syndrome students. They are committed to understanding and supporting each student in reaching his or her potential. TGS teachers participate regularly in professional development to learn and practice effective teaching strategies for our unique students. They are available and accessible, and strive to be wise mentors to TGS students in all aspects of the TGS program.Challenging academic curriculumAt TGS, there are no limits to what students can learn—especially in their areas of strength and interest. We help students tap into professional and academic resources in the community to extend their learning beyond a traditional high school program. Our 4+1 learning program offers four days of focused academic content in the classroom combined with one day of creative arts, individualized enrichment, mentoring, or service learning.TGS teachers admire and respect their students’ academic strengths, and our small classes provide the impetus for rapid individual growth by each student. Stimulating classroom discussions promote the process of learning, which we believe involves questioning, exploring and hypothesizing. Through the Personal Projects Program, brought to us through TGS' collaboration with Orion Academy, and formal presentations of learning, students have frequent, supported opportunities to translate what they’ve learned into polished presentations.Integrated social skills supportAt TGS, students learn in a close-knit community with planned and spontaneous opportunities to relax, play, and interact with each other. Appropriate social-communication, social-emotional teaching, and life skills are woven throughout each student’s program as needed. Our school-wide social skills program focuses on the core challenges of Asperger’s Syndrome, and builds students’ interpersonal, technology, and workplace skills so they can lead fully independent, socially engaged adult lives.Real-world learning experiencesReal-world learning is at the heart of the TGS program. As Temple Grandin herself learned, people with autism,Asperger’s Syndrome or social anxiety must be extremely talented in their vocations to make up for the challenges they experience with social skills. The 4 + 1 scheduling at TGS provides a full day for students to interface with the community. In addition to developing and practicing their talents, students gain valuable interpersonal skills as they are supported in planning and implementing their out-of-classroom experiences.Personalized learning to support individual passionsTGS staff help students plan a challenging course of study that will stretch their thinking, and provide the academic and social supports they need to reach their goals. We help students identify their goals, and plan their educational experience with the end goal in mind. Because TGS teachers know and respect students’ passions, they can use these to build students’ motivation for academic work. With patience, creativity, and collaboration, almost any passion can fuel student learning!Strength-based approach to special education supportAt TGS, we respect the strengths of our students and their families. We recognize that each student is unique, and invite parents to take an active role as we work together to create an educational plan that accurately addresses their child’s strengths and support needs. Our support services include training in self-awareness to help students understand their unique expression of strengths and challenges as it relates to Asperger’s Syndrome or another diagnosis. Through self-understanding, students are able to set realistic goals for their future schooling and work experiences.Sensory Processing and Self Regulation SupportAcknowledging that students with Asperger’s syndrome and other neurocognitive differences often experience challenges with sensory processing and self-regulation, TGS works with parents and students to provide support and programming to address this need. Daily experiences are used as learning opportunities for students who, as they increase their self-awareness and acquire strategies that work for them, are prepared for future success.Components of this 6-12 program include:-A “sensory sensitive” school environment.-Experienced, supportive staff.-Direct instruction in strategies for self-regulation and sensory processing, as needed.-Regular opportunities to incorporate sensory diet strategies at school and reflect upon sensory experiences in the community and at home.