MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Teacher Jaya Narain is explaining the details of a medical prescription to her students.
“RX means prescription, it’s abbreviated you look for the prescription number here,” she points to the slide on the smart board.
This classroom at Homestead High School looks just like any other, except for the number of students.
The S.T.E.P.S program, which stands for Successful Transition Education Pathways is for autistic students through age 22.
“We teach things like independent functioning, daily life skills, job training, things that will help them be productive as adults,” Narain says.
Teenagers Adrian Eusebio and Rian Sharp are making great strides towards that goal and share a unique relationship with their teacher.
“She’s very encouraging and supportive whenever I need help with something,” says Adrian, “she’s always there.”
Ms. Jay, as the students call her, is impressed with the boys’ progress.
“Adrian is very self-driven, if you give him a task he gets it done if he has a question he’s not hesitant to ask you, and he’s a quite leader,” she said.
Adrian participates in Special Olympics, in gymnastic and enjoys helping other students. Rian has been with Ms. Jay the longest, almost every year since fourth grade.
“Rian has been with me my entire teaching life,” Ms. Jay says. “Rian has me on my toes always, he shows me things that I wasn’t aware of.”
Rian says he has greatly improved his people skills, with her help.
“Being Miss Jay’s student has really opened me up I used to be a really shy kid and she made me open up and talk to more people and interact more,” he said.
For these students communication can be challenging, especially expressing themselves in writing. Miss Jay recalls when she knew she made a breakthrough with Rian.
“We had them write a letter to somebody, just tell that person whatever you want to tell them and at the end of the school year Rian gave me a letter and he wrote his letter to me and he thanked me for being his teacher. I kept it and have it framed in my house to this day,” she explained.
The boys gain skills through the Grow 2 Heal garden program at Homestead Hospital, an electric wiring class, summer jobs and tending to the garden at school.
Planning for their bright futures is what it is all about. Rian would like to be an electrician, and Adrien wants to be a teacher or a para professional. Ms. Jay wants everyone to see them the way she does.
“They are just as capable as everybody else, you just have to take the time to find out what they are capable of.”
The STEPS program is offered in Miami-Dade County Public Schools. More info can be found at their website: www.dadeschools.net.
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