CCDC to hold open house, Oct. 22

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CCIUCCDCCOATESVILLE –The Child & Career Development Center (CCDC) will hold an Open House on Wednesday, Oct. 22 from 6-8 p.m. It will feature free workshops, campus tours and light refreshments. The school is located at 1525 East Lincoln Highway, Coatesville.

Families of current students as well as interested community members are invited to attend. Experts from the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU) Special Education team will present the following two workshops at no cost from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.:

  • “Tips on Developing Better Listening Skills” (recommended for ages 3-8)

This interactive presentation focuses on the top 10 tips that teachers use to improve listening and behavior. This is your chance to hear the secrets that teachers use to help your children learn in a classroom setting and how you can use these at home and in the community.

  • “Effective Transition Practices for Secondary Students” (recommended for ages 12+)

This session will summarize the components of a transition plan for students ages 14-21. Additional information will be provided on resources available for planning for life after high school.

The CCDC is a center-based program for students with differing abilities operated by the CCIU. Serving children ages 5-21 with a range of disabilities, the CCDC has approximately 430 students in the following programs: autism support, learning support, emotional support, life skills support and multiple disability support. This array of services means that student success is measured in very different ways. For some students, it is learning how to respond to their name and track with their eyes, for others, it is improving reading skills and coping with anger. The CCDC’s mission is to provide a nurturing learning environment that meets the needs of all students, no matter their disability.

In the early 1970s, the CCDC served children with fairly mild disabilities, including visual and auditory handicaps as well as mild learning disabilities. Prior to the CCDC, these children were educated in church basements and abandoned one-room schools, all far below the standards set for the regular school population. In fact, the decision to build the school was driven by the need to provide special needs students with facilities equal to those provided to their peers.

Since then, the school has grown its offerings to accommodate children with more severe disabilities. It now serves a total of 28 school districts in Chester, Berks, Lancaster and Montgomery counties. Throughout its 44-year existence, the CCDC has remained a leader in special education.

“We are one of the largest and most comprehensive center-based programs in the state, and possibly the country,” said Principal Dr. Susan Mateka, who first came to the CCDC 28 years ago as a student teacher and has never left. She explained that from five-year-olds coming in and learning school behaviors to 21-year-olds leaving with job skills, the CCDC strives for all to succeed academically, grow emotionally and thrive socially.

The school building is designed to accommodate students with disabilities. It features wide hallways with wheelchair ramps, handicapped accessible playgrounds, large classrooms with separate outside entrances, a gross motor room and an indoor swimming pool. On-site support services include speech therapy, physical and occupational therapy, vision and hearing therapy and adaptive physical education.

Though the school has been around for more than 40 years, Dr. Mateka prides the CCDC for being progressive with incorporating new technologies and best practices in the classroom. But what she is most proud of is how the school can help any child who comes through its doors.

“Of course I want students to read better, become more mobile or learn to communicate better,” she explained, “but if at the end of the day I can say that we accomplished one thing, what I really want is for a child to be able to leave here each day knowing that they are successful and we care about them.”

For more information about the CCDC or to RSVP for the Open House, please visit www.cciu.org/CCDC.

The Chester County Intermediate Unit is an educational service agency that exists to provide quality, cost-effective services to the community and its residents. The Chester County Intermediate Unit administers instructional, enrichment and administrative programs and services to Chester County’s 12 public school districts and to over 45 private and parochial schools in the county. These programs include instructional, remedial and enrichment services for regular and special education students. Other IU services support teachers, school administrators and school directors. The diversity of CCIU programs enables IU staff to interact with school district personnel at all levels and to maintain a cohesive educational network throughout Chester County.

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