The William Center at Austine was established in 2004 to meet the special needs of Deaf and Hard of Hearing children whose success is held back by emotional or behavioral difficulties. Approved and licensed by the State of Vermont, Department of Education, the William Center meets the needs of a very low incidence group of youngsters who are in need of specialized programming and related services.
Located on the beautiful 174 -acre campus of the Austine School for the Deaf in Brattleboro, Vermont, this tranquil environment and caring community has the power to change lives.
The William Center program is a residential program that serves children that are emotionlly and/or behaviorally challenged or on the autism spectrum that are Deaf or hard of hearing ages 8-22, who need more intense psychological and educational programming than traditional programs are able to provide.The program operates 12 months a year, seven days a week, with 40 days of summer school including an option to attend one-week of summer camp on the Austine campus.
The William Center program uses a therapeutic, caring approach rooted in strength based cognitive behavioral therapy with a high staff-to- child ration to help children acquire the social, intellectual and emotional skills needed to make appropriate behavioral choices. This therapeutic milieu is guided by a whole-child approach that promotes mental stimulation, physical activity, and physical or occupational therapy as needed.
The William Center program fosters a safe and healthy therapeutic milieu. It emphasizes therapeutic interventions which reduces/prevents behavioral incidents. The program has individual and small group therapy sessions daily as well as whole group meetings. The goal is to reduce the maladaptive behaviors, promote social learning/skill development and to provide students with the life skills and balance to successfully transition into the community, back into traditional education programs or back to their home district.
Our curriculum offers the typical subjects of math, english, science and history. There are Masters-level staff specialists that assess the unique needs of each child and devlop individualized education plans and goals. Our unique expertise in alternative communication methods, an appropriate staff-to child ration, therapeutic support in the classroom and a facility that all contributes to creating a safe,suppportive environment conducive to learning. There is also an option to attend classes at the local high school and the regional career center should they be eligible.
We offer pre-vocational training including skill assessment, job training, work experience and job placement support.
Social and recreational after- school activities,student work programs and supervised community field trip and access to Austine School activites are encouraged.
Counselors use a variety of counseling and therapeutic approaches; weekly individual and group therapy. There are individual, structured behavior management plans developed to meet each student's needs. In addition, there is support to families by participating in-person or by telephone conferences with clinical staff,education staff and /or administrative team on a scheduled basis.
Students have access to Austine's comprehensive services for speech and audiology, psychological testing and evaluation, medical and health-related services, and deaf interpreter services. Consultants in psychiatry, neurology, occupational and physical therapy and behavior management are available to support educational progress.
Daily medication management support from health office and regular psychiatric consultations including case conferences and clinical supervision are provided.
William Center students are accepted only after a comprehensive evaluation by clinical staff either at William Center or at facilities chosen by the Local Education Authority (LEA).
The William Center Program is an "out of state approved" placement by the State of New York (4402) and by the Massachusetts Department of Education.
The William Center Program serves students who have histories of repeated maladaptive behavior in school, at home, and in the community. These behaviors of concern may include:
- Oppositional Defiant Behavior
- Outbursts of verbal aggression
- Resistance to authority
- Verbal aggression
- Failure to respond to ordinary social stimuli
- The absence of rudimentary verbal control
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Separation Disorder
Many students aslo exhibit language and learning disabilites. However, the program is NOT, as a rule, appropriate for students demonstrating the following behaviors and/or needs:
- Active risk of suicide
- Excessive physical aggression
- Active risk of serious violence to others
- Intensive medical needs
- Severe or profound retardation
- Long-term custodial care needs
- Currently receiving full-time psychiatric care
Most often, referrals to the William Center are made by the prospective student's Local Education Authority (LEA), although referrals may also be initiated by a student's parent or guardian or by a social service agency. If a referral is not initiated by the LEA, it is strongly recommended that the local School district be included in the referral and evaluation process as soon as possible.
Following the comprehensive pre-admission evaluation and a recommendation by the LEA and the child's education team, students will enter for a trial, diagnostic placement. Staff members will work with the LEA and family to develop and implement an appropriate Individualized Education Plan and /or treatment plan.
We may, at times, delay the admission of accepted students so additional staff can be recruited and trained. Students' performance is monitored closely, and staff issue regular reports to referral agencies, parents and LEAs. We provide formal progress reports and report cards according to the regular Austine School schedule.
Tuition is charged to school districts or other agencies placing students in the program. Fee schedules may be obtained from the program director listed below.
For additional information on admissions please contact: