The Children’s Guild: Transformation Academy Opens in Baltimore City Oct. 18.
A new nonpublic 12-month day school will provide special education services to children on the autism spectrum in Baltimore City.
Located at 6802 McClean Blvd., The Children’s Guild: Transformation Academy will serve students ages 5-21 with a primary diagnosis of autism who might also have coexisting diagnoses such as sensory processing disorder.
The goal among leadership is to bridge the gap between school-based and adult services and reach students who need more intensive programming to build independent living skills for adulthood.
“We are really honing in on the kids who normally don’t get accepted into many other programs,” says Mark Rapaport, managing director for autism services at The Children’s Guild.
Speech language pathologist and clinical supervisor Sarah Weitzel adds that the school will serve, in essence, “the 2% of the autistic population that nobody really talks about, nobody really understands.”
The school follows the Transformation Education philosophy used by The Children’s Guild since the mid-90s, which encourages peer modeling and flexible teaching based on what best motivates each individual student.
“We have kids who have never eaten out at a restaurant with their families because the behaviors aren’t there. We take our staff, and they go and model the entire process from start to finish,” Rapaport says.
Academic classes are geared toward navigating life as an adult. The school also has a vocational focus which builds relationships between students and employers in Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Harford counties and beyond at the high school level so that these establishments will already be familiar with students’ needs.
“People like transition. We go from high school to college or high school to work. Everybody should have that opportunity,” Rapaport says.
Open houses will be held for interested families on the following dates and times: Wednesday, Sept. 29, 5:30-8 p.m.; Thursday, Sept. 30, 5:30-8 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 9, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.