As a leading provider of services for young people with autism, Prior’s Court actively seeks opportunities to remain at the forefront of the latest autism research and practice and strives for excellence by creating partnerships with other centres of excellence around the globe.  As such, Deputy Head Teacher George Fox and Care Manager, Lisa Pothecary visited The Center for Discovery in the United States last week to share best practice and discuss ideas about different ways in which to promote independence and ensure the best possible outcomes for young people with autism and learning difficulties.

The Center for Discovery is a charity in New York State providing special education programmes to over 1,200 children, adults and families each year. They are "a vibrantly successful program that encourages people with intellectual and physical challenges to defy expectations".

This was a second visit for Prior's Court to The Center for Discovery - a previous visit by Chief Executive and New Services Development Manager proved to be an inspiration, sparking the idea for our new state-of-the-art bakery opening in Spring next year. The bakery is our most ambitious project yet and will be the first in the UK to provide real work and employment opportunities for young people with severe autism. 

During their visit, George and Lisa had the opportunity to spend time with some of the young people as well as staff, including the Chief Executor and Co-Director. They were able to see how the farm community at The Center works and the ways in which it supports the young people with education programmes, describing it as "inspirational" to see the young people's involvement in every part of the 'agricultural cycle'. They also had the chance to observe several therapeutic sessions including a Sound Healing and pool session, Zumba and tap sessions and a percussion group which illustrated how the teaching of maths, social interaction and communication were part of the importance of music and rhythm to the body. 

Having spent time at the Center, George and Lisa were struck by the similarities between the two organisations:

"Despite the travel distance between Prior's Court and The Center for Discovery there is a common shared vision and common experiences of achievements and challenges."

We actively welcome opportunities to create partnerships with other centres of excellence and were delighted to have this opportunity to share experience and expertise with The Center for Discovery.