A New School. A Fresh Start.

Owen Thrives at The Chimes School

At some point in our lives, almost every one of us has had to adjust to a new school. Think back to how exciting, challenging — maybe even a bit scary — that day was, and imagine what it must feel like for a child with developmental disabilities, especially those who thrive on routine and consistency.

Owen is just one of those children. Owen is 13 and lives with autism. He loves animals and becomes completely engrossed in books and videos about them. He also loves watching Teen Titans Go.

For most of his life, however, school has been difficult for Owen. He has had trouble focusing in class and interacting with peers. After several years of sending him to school for just two hours a day, which limited both his social and academic potential, Owen’s parents decided to bring him to Chimes.

While Owen’s previous schools had been unable to meet his needs, Owen’s parents knew from their first meeting with the staff at Chimes that they had found Owen’s educational home. Chimes staff and Owen’s parents met numerous times prior to his arrival, to address what Owen could anticipate and how the school could best support him.

“Chimes offered a welcoming and understanding environment and made an extraordinary effort not to push Owen too soon,” Owen’s mother, Mary, told us. “Teachers, staff, and fellow students were friendly and supportive, allowing Owen to have his space and feel comfortable. By answering questions and helping him settle in, Chimes fostered a genuine sense of belonging.”

In Owen’s previous school, he never entered the classroom. He had a seat in the lobby for his partial days with individual instruction. Likewise at Chimes, he was initially fearful of even entering the building. Chimes staffed worked slowly and intentionally to move Owen into the school environment. Once he started engaging with his classmates and staff, they brought him into the classroom for the first time, where he stayed for an astonishing 45 minutes! Later that day, he literally jumped at the chance to do an art project with his classmates.

His one-on-one direct service professional, Keony, anticipates Owen’s needs and gives him time and space to complete tasks. Owen has come to trust and love Keony in the short time since his arrival at the Chimes School in January, and she is a driving force behind his success.

Chimes maintains open communication channels with parents, so that the educational journey is not only personalized to each child, but a collaborative effort between school and family. Together, each child’s support system works together to create an atmosphere that promotes critical thinking, creativity, and independent learning while meeting that child’s needs.

Chimes also provides children like Owen with the chance to explore new interests and develop leadership skills through extracurricular activities like clubs, adaptive sports, music, community service and more. “Owen has embraced the change and made the most of the opportunities Chimes makes available,” says Mary.

How has Owen grown as a result of his move to Chimes? “He typically only cooperates with preferred people, but his teacher has helped him to manage his behavior and engage positively with others,” Mary tells us. “Owen has shown great improvement in actively participating, and the school celebrates that achievement.”

“Adapting to a new school presented Owen with opportunities to grow personally and develop important life skills. It taught Owen resilience, adaptability, and the ability to embrace change. Owen has become more confident in interacting with new people, making friends, and stepping out of his comfort zone at times. The experiences at Chimes will help shape his character and prepared him for future challenges.

“There are good and not so good days,” Mary says, “but Chimes turned out to be the right school for Owen. His journey serves as a reminder that with support, understanding and determination, children can overcome obstacles and unlock their full potential.”

Of course, like every kid, Owen is excited for summer — but we know he will soar to even higher heights here at Chimes next year!

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