Educational options applauded

Published 4:38 pm Saturday, September 19, 2015

The traditional school environment isn’t made for every student, and that’s why it is to the benefit of the community and its children to have a variety of educational options.

The public schools are the option for many students, along with the many specialized programs within them for gifted students, students with educational challenges and students with various specific interests such as the arts or engineering.

There also are a variety of parochial and non-religious private schools in the area, and many families choose to home school.

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All of these choices are a necessity for the wide variety of families and children and their varying needs who live in our area.

But for students on the autism spectrum, it can be hard for them and their families to find the right option.

That’s why we applaud the private schools that especially serve these students and are excited that there is a new option for them.

Plan Bee Academy opened in the Western Branch area of Chesapeake this summer. It has 21 students and five teachers.

Schools especially for students with autism are important because the traditional school environment may not work for all of them. Sensory issues, resistance to change and behavioral problems are challenges for many students with autism spectrum disorders. In addition, schools especially for these students are able to teach things that students in the general education realm don’t need as much — things like teaching them how to shop for groceries or order in a restaurant and working on life skills such as finding a job where they will be a good fit.

According to Wendy Fitch, director and co-founder of Plan Bee Academy, one student already has improved significantly and is willing to go to school, which was a problem for him last year.

“This is the school that’s going to help me,” Fitch recalled the student telling his parent.

Thanks to Fitch and all those working with students who need more help.