What is your school’s vision?

TGS seeks to provide a learning environment that celebrates the gifts and strengths of students with high functioning autism and similar learning profiles. Our students enjoy learning, and being part of a community of accepting, like-minded peers.

Who should apply to our special school for children with high functioning autism?

Our neurodiverse students have typically been diagnosed with high-functioning autism / Asperger’s, or similar learning profiles. They are often “twice-exceptional.” Regardless of diagnosis, we accept applications from neurodiverse students who want to learn and grow in a community of like-minded peers and supportive adult mentors. For more information, see our social, academic, and behavioral criteria.

What is the class size?

Class sizes range from 4-8 students, with an academic teacher and a support team member.

Why did you choose the name, Temple Grandin School?

We understand that some may have a limited association with the name Temple Grandin – others may only think of her as autistic. We see her as a unique individual that breaks the mold and transcends that label. Her autism does not define or limit her potential. Mainstream American press (Time magazine) includes her in a list of heroes. Her example reminds us that each person is unique, with talents waiting to be nurtured. She is iconic, colorful, fascinating… and someone the world is interested in. It is this thriving spirit that we want our students to emulate. Her gracious agreement to let us name a school after her has opened doors we never expected.

Is Temple Grandin involved with your school for children with high functioning autism?

While Dr. Grandin is not directly affiliated with our school, her educational experiences — as shared with us through her advocacy for students on the autism spectrum — are the basis of our educational model. Our program is built on mutual, trusting relationships between students and adult mentors who help students to develop their strengths and explore related career paths. Following Dr. Grandin’s advice, we also provide opportunities for our students to do real work in our school and community through volunteering, internships, and part-time employment. While you will not find Dr. Grandin roaming the halls at TGS, her influence can be felt throughout.

Will there be other students like my child?

Many of our students are on the autism spectrum. They are smart, funny, creative, quirky, and deep thinkers who ask a lot of questions. New students express excitement at finding students like themselves and consistently report a feeling of “finding their tribe” when they enroll at TGS. They don’t get pushed to the margins or bullied. Students make connections with each other too, and build friendships that go beyond the school day.

Will my child be able to transition to college or a career after TGS?

We strive to support each student in finding their post-secondary path that leads to independence and self-fulfillment – whether that be 2-year or 4-year college, or vocational training. High school students follow a transition plan that is developed with input from parents and TGS staff. This plan evolves as they mature, progressing to mentor-supported workplace experiences including volunteer service, informational interviewing, job shadowing, and internships.

What real-world skills will my child learn?

Real-world skills learned in the TGS Transitions Program include: interview skills and practice; self-reflection and self-advocacy; social thinking and communication for working in groups; project design, independent project management; short-, medium-, and long-range planning; and written and oral project presentation skills and practice. These valuable skills go with students as they progress to college or directly into full-time employment.

How much value does the school place on developing independence in special needs students?

Our program is built to assist our students in becoming independent adults. Through our Transitions Program, students are gently encouraged and supported in increasing their interactions with the world beyond TGS. TGS students gain independence through volunteering, participating in extra-curricular activities related to their individual interests, internships, and completion of a college course on a college campus (real-time remote right now during COVID) before graduating from high school.

Will my child’s behavioral, academic and social needs be met?

We provide an integrated socio-academic program which provides for ongoing development in the academic areas of language arts, social studies, math and science, training and support in executive function skills, and social skill development aimed at independence beyond high school.

Is this a real academic program with highly qualified teachers?

Our highly-qualified teachers are experienced in their area of academic specialty, and trained to work with this population specifically – including integrating academics, executive function, and social development into the classroom. Being very knowledgeable is a must, as they need to be able to meet our highly talented students where they are! We are accredited by the National Commission on Exceptional Schools (NCES) and a member of BACIS Independent Schools.

What curriculum do you use?

We provide a challenging academic program, informed by state and national academic standards in language arts, social studies, science, and mathematics. Our academic content is embedded in an intentional structure designed to support the development of executive function skills and effective social skills. Influences on our philosophy of education for students with high functioning autism include Tony Attwood, Sarah Ward, Ross Greene, and Michelle Garcia Winner.

What motivation strategies do teachers use?

We are a relationship based community. Students interact socially across the grade levels during school and outside of school hours. Our staff get to know each of our students very well, and develop mutual respect for each other.

What kind of professionals are on your support team?

Our support team is an interdisciplinary team of specialists who have a passion for and extensive experience working with our population of students. Our current team is made up of a school psychologist, school social worker, educational therapist / special education teacher, and behavioral specialist. Team members are not necessarily hired because of their specific certification, but based on a combination of factors including formal training, experience with this population, and match between the specific needs of the program and the professional’s expertise. We provide “light counseling” and coaching to students to support them in succeeding in our school community. Families contract privately for other therapies, if needed, such as counseling, OT and speech.

How are students’ goals determined?

Our program emphasizes development of four areas we refer to as the “4 I’s:” Identity – who are you, and how do you want others to see you, Interaction – which includes interaction with peers and adults in a variety of settings, Intellect – what are your strengths and challenges, and future learning aspirations, and Independence – which includes independent living skills, and executive function skills. Students at TGS work with staff to set goals in each of these areas. Goals are written in student-friendly language, based on strengths and/or challenges students wish to pursue.

What are the tuition and fees for this school for children with high functioning autism?

Tuition for high school students ranges from $33,600 to $38,250, depending on the level of student support needed. Tuition for middle school students ranges from $35,700 to $40,500, and includes additional classroom support. Limited tuition assistance is available. View our tuition page for more details, including other applicable fees.

How can I afford tuition?

Attending TGS is about building a foundation for future success. Limited tuition assistance is available. Realistically, continuing to layer on negative experiences in a traditional school environment will only further hinder your child’s ability to move forward, costing even more over time in opportunities (and income) lost in the future.

Some TGS parents have come up with creative ways to fund their TGS education like engaging relatives and extended family to help, using 529 or other college saving plans (can now be used for K-12, but consult your tax advisor for specifics), taking on additional work (i.e., a stay at home parent rejoins the work force, or shifting from part time to full time), home equity loans. Some families come up with creative fundraising activities, or set up GoFundMe or other social media campaigns.

How much homework is assigned?

Our students report that they spend much less time on homework than at their previous schools. We focus on providing meaningful independent work that facilitates student learning and support for executive function skill development. We do include opportunities to complete work within the school day. This includes our independent work period, which focuses on specific learning goals, not just “busy work.”

What kinds of parent involvement are offered?

We encourage parent involvement at the school and with your child’s transition plan. There are regular opportunities for parents to meet and get to know each other. If you like to volunteer, we can always use extra help organizing schoolwide events and fundraisers, such as our TGS Shuffle and Meeting of the Minds.

Does TGS offer extracurricular activities?

Students have opportunities to participate in elective classes on Fridays and after school. We also facilitate individual schedules to accommodate community participation in arts and PE activities.

Where can I see what other parents are saying about TGS?

You can read more reviews here.

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