The Deron School serves students with special needs through Applied Behavior Analysis programming. Director Lori Alter says that the school is unique in that students here have multiple disabilities including (but not limited to) Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Down Syndrome.
“The kids here are amazing,” she says. “Some are nonverbal, and others are completely verbal and almost at grade level but may have other internal issues such as anxiety.”
The fact that The Deron School has students of varying abilities creates an environment where students learn not only from teachers, but also from each other.
The education that students receive is tailored to fit each individual’s needs. Speech, occupational therapy, and physical therapy lessons are provided, and the curriculum is highly influenced by input from the student’s family.
Building life skills is a strong focus here. The school even has a fully-functioning apartment where students can learn and practice tasks to encourage independence.
The school has two campuses—one in Union for students ages 3-16 and another in Montclair that welcomes learners ages 14-21.
During coronavirus, The Deron School transitioned to eLearning. Alter is proud of the consistency the school was able to provide to both students and parents with online learning taking place from 9-1:30pm each school day.
Looking forward, The Deron School will increase its technological capabilities across all subject areas and is already utilizing programs in subjects such as STEM and robotics with students.
“We are a family program,” says Alter, whose in-laws started the school in 1967. “I love the diversity of the children here.”
1140 Commerce Ave., Union
130 Grove St., Montclair