The Golden Key Center for Exceptional Children recently received a grant from the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton to provide extended year education, the Gap Program, to the students of The Golden Key.
The Gap Program was developed by The Golden Key when its team’s data-driven research found that its students’ education and functional skills had a greater slide than normal due to the COVID-19 shutdown. This slide was a bigger concern with the unique education learning styles and breaks that occurred during the 2020-2021 Academic Year all because of COVID-19. The Gap Program provides the opportunity for each student of The Golden Key to be a part of a one – half day, once a week, for eight weeks specialized session in either a one-on-one or small groups. The half-day session for each student includes academics, intervention, arts program, life skills and general living skills.
“Covid-19 affected us all in various ways. It affected our students’ abilities to grow due to the shutdown,” said Terry Frank, Co-Founder and Executive Director. “This grant is so beneficial to our students. The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton mission to support education of those in our community is living through this program and we cannot thank them enough.”
The Golden Key provides quality education and intervention to students with autism and developmental disabilities. The negative impact that COVID-19 had on the students of The Golden Key included things from loss in academic growth, basic transition and most importantly social-emotional loss.
Frank noted that “People on the autism spectrum don’t seek to have social interactions because it can be over stimulating.” One of the major core-deficits of autism is social engagement. Frank goes on to say “that the shutdown allowed those facing social anxiety to retreat and lose ground on the growth and development of those skills.”
The Golden Key also finds that the Gap Program will not only support the loss in skills for its students due to COVID-19 but it would support a reduction in the general summer slide many students face at the beginning of each new Academic Year.
The Gap Program, funded by the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton, began Monday, June 7 and will continue through August 6 from 9-noon Monday-Thursday. The Golden Key Center for Exceptional Children is a non-profit, non-public charter school fully accredited by the Ohio Department of Education. The school is a State of Ohio Autism Scholarship and Jon Peterson Scholarship provider. For more information, contact The Golden Key at 330-493-4400 or visit its website goldenkeyschool.com.