The phrase “life-changing” tends to be overused and often becomes a cliché. However, in the case of Drew, a 12th grade student at the High Road School of Cecil County (MD), the transformation he’s gone through in his nine years at the school has truly been life changing.
As a young child, Drew experienced difficulties with communication, which led to several instances of behavioral issues. Because his classroom environment wasn’t equipped to handle students with communication deficiencies, Drew would respond to challenging situations with physical aggression and even, as Drew’s mom Kathy mentioned, destruction of a classroom.
Incidents such as these not only impacted those in the school, but they also affected other important people in Drew’s life. “These challenges resulted in the school calling me and subsequently having to go to the school to de-escalate Drew,” recalled Kathy. “There was an impact on my job, as I was working full time and would have to leave work to go help handle the situation with my son. It was overwhelming and frustrating for everyone involved.”
Drew’s situation and behavioral issues required more help than his previous school could provide, so Kathy turned to the High Road School of Cecil County—and things have never been the same since.
“The Program Saved His Life”
Kathy enrolled Drew at the High Road School of Cecil County when he was in first grade and noticed the difference in schools right away. “First and foremost, they never tried to fit him into a box,” Kathy explained. “Instead, they tailored his behavior intervention plan to his specific needs. They were consistent in dealing with his behaviors and, no matter how he reacted, the consequences for his behavior were handled the same way.”
At the High Road School of Cecil County, the consistency in teaching and in the way HRS staff dealt with Drew’s behavior proved to be a turning point. “High Road gave him the confidence to use his words to explain how he is feeling and that has saved him in so many ways,” said Kathy. “The program saved his life.”
How Drew’s Life Has Changed
As with many students who have similar communication and behavioral issues as Drew, the first step in helping them focus on their education is to ensure that the communication improves and the negative behaviors are under control. Once that happens, the education process can commence. This was Drew’s experience at HRS of Cecil County, and it has paid off in significant ways. “When they got his behaviors under control, he was then able to focus on learning and has since received an education tailored to where he is in the learning process,” explained Kathy.
And thanks to that education, Drew is thriving. He is now able to follow directions with multiple steps, assist with special tasks, and begin preparation for adult life after graduation from HRS of Cecil County. In fact, after graduation, Drew plans on attending the Cecil County School of Technology. Additionally, Kathy has noticed some major changes in Drew’s personality that she attributes to the staff at HRS of Cecil County. “There are communication improvements, he’s building friendships and relationships with those outside our family, and he participates in family events that he would normally hide in his room to avoid,” said Kathy.
For parents who have similar issues with their child, Kathy offers a few words of advice: “The people at High Road School truly care about their students, and they aren’t afraid to think outside the box to set them up for success. This program was the best thing that happened to our family.”