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School for Students with Autism Set to Open in Orange

School for Students with Autism Set to Open in Orange

In late 2016, students with autism, aspergers and other disorders will have a new choice for learning. The Connecticut Center for Child Development, which now has two schools in Milford, will be opening in the former medical office building at 339 Boston Post Road.

The school’s Founder and CEO Suzanne Letso says the two existing Milford schools and diagnostic center will undergo a reorganization and 24 students will be moved to the Orange location. Ultimately, up to 60 children will become students at the Orange School, though the increase will be gradual. “Our students have unique learning needs,” she said. Letso started the school in September 1997 in the basement of the Fairfield Baptist Church.

Today the schools serve 90 kids from a 60-mile radius and employs 200. Letso said the school will be hiring as it gets closer to opening time. “For every five kids, we have seven to nine staff,” Letso explains. Staff includes teachers, clinicians, trainers and office staff.

The center offers state-of the art, individualized behavior analytic programing including school programs, outreach services and consulting services to school districts, evaluation services, adult services, day care, community education and a behavior analysis mentorship program. “We are going to start offering a program for children who have had a traumatic brain injury,” says Letso.

The Center for Childhood Development teaches using the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) technique, where behavior analysts study behavior-environment relations, and what precedes and follows behavior. The focus is on increasing appropriate behavior and teaching new skills through positive reinforcement.

At its February board meeting, the Town Plan and Zoning Commission approved the renovations at the former medical office building. The exterior of the building will undergo minimal renovations and four of classroom and office space will be constructed. “I reviewed the application and it meets all of the requirements and regulations that are applicable and I see no reason to deny this application,” said Chairman Beau Clark. The board unanimously approved the renovations to the building.

On her move to Orange, Letso had nothing but nice things to say. “It was delightful to interact with the government officials. I’ve never experienced anything like it! Everyone has been warm and supportive. They’ve made this process very easy!”

By Melissa Nicefaro – Orange Town News Correspondent

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