The Patterson Press
Student Autism Program Gains HypeFriday, November 20, 2009 By Jeff England
“Ryan took me to cheerleading,” said Mike Simms, an autistic student at Patterson Mill. What started as a program called Allied Sports at Patterson Mill formed into a program that has raised a lot of interest within the school. The autism program at Patterson Mill is an up and coming program. Students such as Phil Givens, Jon Williams, Ryan Monk, Eric Grzybowski and Stash Maczko are currently involved with helping these kids and working with Ms. Yates, who runs the program. Every year, schools from all around the county come to play sports together such as bowling and basketball. The past year, however, students went to Ms. Yates and volunteered their time to come out and help, and that's how it all started. “Phil came in early last year and brought Jon in to help with the sports,” said Ms. Yates. This year, students signed up as Master Tutors for Ms. Yates and began working with the autistic students in the room. They will also take them to their classes and help them with worksheets or class work they might not understand. Every Wednesday the kids get to do a cooking activity that the helpers will work with them on. When the helpers come into the class they will work with the kids on “vocation,” which will work on motor skills and simple comprehension. “I work with the kids on basic math, numbers, and counting by fives,” said Ryan Monk. The students really enjoy working with the helpers. “We read books, we ran the Turkey Trot,” stated Simms. This year the program is looking to grow by potentially starting what is called a “best buddies” program. Students all around the school come in and work with the autistic kids and get involved by playing games and interacting with the kids. The program is also planning to continue the Allied Sports program with a bowling event in the winter and, a basketball event in the spring. “The sports events are a big thing for the kids,” said Yates. Spending time with these kids seems to make a difference in the lives of those around them. “Spending time with them changed my entire outlook on them. I saw that they are all different people,” said Monk. In reference to Monk, Simms said “Ryan Monk, he’s a good guy.” If you are interested in being a part of this program you can speak with Ms. Yates or email her at email@example.com.