We know our students prefer and benefit greatly from routine and predictability – it helps reduce their anxiety levels, so we build routines into their school day. However, we also methodically teach them to prepare for and adjust to unpredictability, because as we all know, life is not always predictable! I also believe our students feel safe and comfortable on our campus. It is located at the end of a road, with lots of green open space and many opportunities for movement and sensory input. Our students need and use this movement and sensory input to help them regulate and manage their anxiety, so they are better able to access learning throughout their school day. Students cannot learn if they are dysregulated. We are so fortunate to have an environment full of these movement opportunities – a well equipped Occupational Therapy Room, a large trampoline, swings, zip-line, hiking trails a swimming pool, gymnasium, and a sport field. But even more important than the beautiful location of our campus or the sensory opportunities we have available for them – our staff actively engages with our students in these activities, promoting social connections with other students, providing opportunities for shared attention, and just having fun with them!
Our outstanding Teachers, Therapists and Teaching Assistants are a supportive and compassionate group of people who are experienced with our population, and not only understand “Autism”, but they really “get” our kids, and our students feel that. Every person that comes to Oak Hill School for a visit (prospective parents, district reps, therapists, job applicants, Board Members, outside vendors, etc), comment on the community spirit and genuineness they feel from the staff. One of the comments that I consistently hear from visitors is that our staff seem very connected with our students and supportive of each other. Please visit our school and you will see for yourself!
This observation from a family, whose child has been at Oak Hill for 8 years, sums it up nicely:
“For us, Oak Hill is like a village, an extended family of caring human beings that facilitated our son maturing into a whole, genuinely happy person.”
— Markus & Dilyara