By: Sonni Lyons

            Y.A.L.E school and Camden County College have teamed up and created The Standard 9 (S9), anticipated success program for continuing high school seniors.  

         Margaret Chapman is the coordinator of Y.A.L.E in Cherry Hill; she also serves as the transitional specialist.

        The S9 program is for young adults’ ages 18-21 who are current high school students with Asperger’s Disorder, high functioning Autism, non-verbal learning disabilities and coexisting conditions.

          S9 has two programs in which  students can be a part of; the S9 Campus Program and the S9 Scholar Program.

           While each program has requirements, they both help to prepare students for their very own college experience.

           S9 identifies academics, life and career education along with social skill development as three key parts to the whole.

         “Nothing about me without me,” said Chapman’s Aspen Spring Conference slide show. Each student is part of their own IEP team.

           The IEP team is there to ask about what’s desired, adopt objectives, and assemble techniques and activities to foresee the success of each student.

           There are accommodations made not just for S9 students but also students of CCC. They are arranged through the office of Disability Services.

          Some services include longer test times, an alternative testing site, a notetaker, smart pens, and black board technology.

        The S9 program allows the students to self- advocate, giving them the ability to develop their person social skills and self determination.

         Brian Bartel, a 20-year-old student from Deptford, is an advocate for himself.

         “It’s an encouragement to pursue  the bigger things in life,” he said.

         Bartel describes college as a lot of freedom. He feels more confident and has achieved his driver’s license since entering the program.

            Students with disabilities are more successful when self determination skills are taught and there is a quality transitional program in place.

            “Promoting self-determination has been recognized as best practice in the education of adolescents with disabilities since the early 1990s,” Michael Wehmeyer wrote, “Self-Determination and the Education of Students with Disabilities”

        Another student Tim Pogawis, 19, from Audubon, explains that “college would have been a nightmare, without this program.”

        The only disappointment for Pogawis is the absence of cross country and track.

       When asked if he would start a club or team, he said “maybe when I become a full-time student.”

        Another part of S9 is encouraging community participation to represent making choices, taking responsibility, goal setting, problem solving, and taking positive risks.

      Some of these activities include, volunteering, doctor’s appointments, clubs, and community events.

      As part of the Y.A.L.E staff for eight years, Karen Huber an admissions counselor, therapist, and social worker, declares the program as “really wonderful, just really wonderful.”

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