A wall celebrating the accomplishments of different Link students.Abbie LaFountain, a ninth grader at Martin High School, plays with 7-year-old Ashton Green.

Martin schools' 'Links' program benefits all students

By: 
Virginia Ransbottom, Staff Writer

A new elective class that started in January at Martin Public Schools has already changed the course of some students’ lives while helping autistic children to socialize in public.

“I was going to go to college to be a veterinarian,” said 11th grader Taylor Curry. “Now I’m going to go to college to be an occupational therapist.”
 
The class is called the Links program, a peer-to-peer support program matching general education students with Autism Spectrum Disorder students enrolled at the new Allegan Education Service Agency Martin Campus for Sensory and Communication Needs.
 
“Being their friend is the main goal,” said special education teacher Erin Gauthier. “They respond to other students much better than with adults.”
 
Depending on the cognitive level of the autistic students, Link students sit with them in general education or special education classrooms, walk together in the hallway or to and from busses, sit with each other at lunch or just play together at recess.

For full story, pick up a copy of the April 28 issue of The Allegan County News or subscribe to the e-edition.

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