Wood County Hospital in Bowling Green, Ohio has created an early intervention program that helps young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) between 3 to 5 years-old transition into elementary. Aptly named the Ready Program, Wood County Hospital helps early-diagnosed children develop communication techniques and social awareness that will help with their academic success.

“Just sitting at a table is a challenge for some of our students,” Brittany Beightler, an instructor for the Ready Program told Sentinel-Tribune.

Students with ASD may have issues maintaining attention during long lessons, or may be easily distracted by outside stimuli. If overwhelmed with information, a child with autism will have a meltdown, as their brain doesn’t know how to sort the information correctly.

“We also work with parents on how to be successful at home as well as school, and give them the skills they need,” Beightler continued.

To ensure success, lessons should be continued at home which helps ASD learners practice in different environments and situations. The Ready Program also works with parents to help alleviate the stress for the family during the transition from Wood County Hospital into normal classroom settings.

“We go with them, personally (to the kindergarten classes). It also helps the parent’s nerves and anxiety,” Beightler said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages families to act early if they believe their child is showing symptoms of autism. With 1 in every 68 children the United States born with ASD, there is a growing need for programs like Woody County Hospital’s Ready Program. The program has been running for over three years and its class sizes continue to grow to meet the growing demand.

To learn more about Wood Country Hospital’s Ready Program, check out the Sentinel-Tribune article here.

Feature imaged by Daniel Melograna of Sentinel-Tribune.

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