Access to the Links

At Northern Valley Regional High School in Bergen County, educator Catherine Slutzky was awarded a $2,850 grant to implement a golf program for students with autism spectrum disorders. The program will also provide unique opportunities for teens with autism to form closer bonds with peers while participating in an activity within the community. Students with special needs and their typical peers will play and enjoy the game of golf side by side. During the summer months, students on the high school golf team will join the Valley Access students on the course to demonstrate the skills taught by the golf pro.

Planning meetings will be set up with a local golf course pro to schedule instruction and play times. The high school golf team coach will determine if there is interest from students on the team to participate in the program. Fundraisers will be held throughout the year to support this project in the future.

The effectiveness of this project will be assessed by our students’ ability to focus on instruction and use socially appropriate behavior for increasing amounts of time and how students interact with their typical peers during instruction, play and more importantly, at school or at events outside of this program. This information will be analyzed easily through structured observation of the appropriate verbal interaction between our targeted students and the typical high school students. Data will be kept on the number of conversational exchanges, conversational initiations made and responses to the engagement attempts. This data will be analyzed to determine if this type of interaction has positively impacted the social communication between students with autism and their typical peers.

For more information, contact:

Catherine Slutzky, Project Coordinator
(201) 768-3200 (school)