Breaking Down Barriers Community Coaching Program

Breaking Down BarriersIn September 2011, The Breaking Down Barriers program was established using a mini-grant to support the core curriculum instruction of fifth-and sixth-grade students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Renee Lopardo-Taveras, Kristen Goracy, Mark Bannon, and Nicole Lewinski of the Hillside Intermediate School in Bridgewater were awarded a $6,000 grant from the NJEA Hipp Foundation to expand The Breaking Down Barriers program for the 2012-2013 school year.

The program expansion will allow students to be exposed to real-life experiences, community environments, and a variety of naturally-occurring circumstances to teach skill generalization. Students will make use of public transportation. In order to teach socialization skills, there will be after-school slumber parties, friend & family game nights, a “Shadow-a-Worker for a Day” program, and a Holiday Luncheon. Students will conduct two fundraisers including creating and selling Autism Awareness Pins and holiday ornaments. Two community outreach volunteer opportunities for the students will also be organized.

Community behavior management parent workshops will be given, and ongoing behavior training will be provided for peer pal volunteers.

Students will give a presentation at an inservice to peer pals and community members about Autism Spectrum Disorder and explain how to accept and include individuals with Autism in their lives.

For Further Information, contact:

Renee Lopardo-Taveras
School Phone: 908-231-1905, ext. 326