A one-of-a-kind program for kids with autism is showing some incredible results at Mott Road Elementary School in the Fayetteville-Manlius School District.
The school is the first, and right now, only one in the country to be using Dr. Howard Shane’s Visual Immersion System.
It uses things like videos and pictures along with technology to enhance and expand the language skills of students with autism.
Dr. Shane is the Director of the Center of Communication Enhancement at Boston Children’s Hospital.
He visits Mott Road Elementary every few weeks and is on video conference once a week with F-M Special Services staff.
“You don’t necessarily need language to understand what that scene, what that picture, what that video is telling you so I think that’s really the essence of why it works,” he tells NewsChannel 9.
After decades of clinical research Dr. Shane last school year brought his program into the real world at Mott Road Elementary.
Lisa Miori-Dinneen is the Assistant Superintendent for Special Services in the F-M School District.
She says, “Early on in that year we were noticing significant and immediate growth from the students not only in communication but their understanding of language, concepts and vocabulary.”
The program isn’t over when the school day ends, there have been videos created for parents to use on technology at home to work on certain skills there.
Miori-Dinneen says, “It’s been really dramatic in the sense that some children that were completely non-verbal are now spontaneously communicating with words and phrases in the home and the parents are absolutely thrilled with the progress.”
They say both data and video of before and after successes prove VIS is working at Mott Road.
“They’re understanding the expectations, they get their needs and wants met and they’re able to communicate what they need and that is powerful,” Miori-Dinneen tells NewsChannel 9.
Formally the research project will extend one more school year at Mott Road Elementary, but the hope is to start using it in other F-M buildings and other school districts in the years ahead.