In Light of Autism Awareness Month, The Glenholme School Illuminates the Benefits of a Therapeutic Boarding School for Students on the Spectrum

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The emotional and educational needs of young people on the spectrum are incredibly intertwined. In recognition of Autism Awareness Month, The Glenholme School, a therapeutic boarding school, highlights an educational option for young people on the spectrum.

Every aspect of life at Glenholme is directed to the "whole child" and his or her specific needs. Whether it is academic, emotional, or social, at Glenholme the approach is always positive.

The Glenholme School provides the hope, support, and education our family desperately needed, and most importantly, it assured our son that he would be accepted for who he was.

In early April, Autism Awareness Month, monuments and landmarks were bathed in blue lights to draw attention to a growing global crisis. One area that could use extra illumination during this time is the unique educational needs of individuals on the spectrum.

While the autism spectrum is wide and diverse and each autistic person is unique and distinctive, there is one characteristic that remains constant. That is, the educational and emotional needs of individuals on the spectrum are incredibly intertwined and their learning needs continue long after the academic day ends at 3pm.

When children leave school for the day, they are learning. When they are socializing with their friends, they are learning. And when they are at home eating dinner with their family, they are learning. Unfortunately, children with differences may not have the same experiences as their peers. Often, they lack the confidence or ability to participate in the classrooms, in afterschool activities, and sadly, they might not have any friends. In order for children to realize their greatest ability, they need a learning environment that makes them feel safe, valued and accepted.

The Glenholme School is a therapeutic boarding school for young people with high functioning autism spectrum disorders and various learning differences. Educating students with unique learning needs for nearly 50 years, the program is designed to help students build competence socially, emotionally, and academically. At Glenholme, children who were often excluded by their peers in traditional schools are provided with a normalized experience and real chance to grow and succeed within an environment that fosters acceptance.

The boarding program at Glenholme provides students with continuous learning opportunities from the time they rise in the morning until lights out at night— all of which are specifically structured to teach social skills, coping strategies, and executive functioning, as well as self and home care skills.

The individualized therapy, or In-Vivo, program at Glenholme is provided within the environment for maximized learning and understanding, combined with individualized attention, professional and dedicated faculty, and abundance of extracurricular activities, makes The Glenholme School’s boarding experience truly tailored and fulfilling, providing students with programs specifically designed to engage them while meeting their needs and helping them reach their goals.

One former Glenholme student named Maggie has an extraordinary story she would like to share:
“I am very proud of my accomplishments at Glenholme. Since boarding at the school, my confidence has improved greatly. Being involved in community service, the arts and other activities has really helped me come out of my shell. It was especially helpful when my classmates honored me as the Prom Queen last year and the teachers recognized me as the Student of the Month.”

Maggie’s mother could not have been happier with her daughter’s growth at The Glenholme School:
“When Maggie got to Glenholme, she was shy and lacked confidence. She had a lot of trouble advocating for herself both in the classroom and with peers. She was isolated and lonely. Glenholme developed a functional behavioral plan for her that worked on giving her confidence and the ability to advocate for herself…Her confidence has grown so much.”

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), one in 68 children in the U.S. has an autism spectrum disorder. As more children than ever are being diagnosed, educating the whole child becomes increasingly important. While the concept of a customized education has not caught on, it is a specialty of The Glenholme School, which tailors a program to each student’s needs and goals. If a child is struggling due to social, emotional or academic difficulties, and consistent education is not happening in a child’s home or school, a therapeutic boarding school may be the answer. Individuals on the spectrum are very gifted people. This is a chance to change the view of autism and consider the needs of each individual on the spectrum, as well as all the options that may give each person their greatest chance of becoming successful contributing citizens.

About The Glenholme School:
The Glenholme School, a center of the Devereux organization, is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) therapeutic boarding school for young people with high functioning autism spectrum disorders; ADHD, PDD, OCD, Tourette's, depression, anxiety, and various learning differences. The program provides a treatment milieu designed to build competence socially and academically. Our learning environment supports and enhances the ability for young people with special needs to succeed. Devereux is a leading nonprofit behavioral health organization that supports many of the most underserved and vulnerable members of our communities. For more information about The Glenholme School and its program, visit

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Denise Watson
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