Hawkins Point is a regular supporter of The Vista School and was recently a sponsor and participant in the Annual Vista Golf Classic & Benefit. The Vista School brings state-of-the-art special education and therapeutic services to children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in Central Pennsylvania.
The organization is a collaborative effort of invested parents, educators, and mental health professionals. The Vista school is an organization dedicated to “doing autism services right” by integrating multiple disciplines into a typical school day to foster independence of daily living in the lives of the clients they serve. These disciplines include Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Applied Behavior Analysis, and Special Education. The families and school work in unison to foster the progression of students through individualized goals.
Our Connection To The Vista School
Hawkins Point has a family connection to this fantastic organization. Ben Mersky (son of President and Co-founder, Steve Mersky) is an employee at The Vista School. Ben’s area of expertise focuses on behavior and crisis intervention. Among his many duties, an important one is leading the Crisis team, where immediate intervention is required on behalf of a child and a staff member.
When a child is engaged in the active, disruptive stage of a behavior, such as a tantrum or aggression, the essential focus has to be on the safety of the individual, those around them, and the protection of property. When in full meltdown mode, these children are not capable of reasoning, being redirected, or learning replacement skills. The team’s job is to keep the child and staff safe until it passes.
Autism does not correlate to “less” but just different. There is great admiration of the families for their dedication to their children and the unplanned journey of being a parent of a child with autism. As one parent put it “although I may not have chosen the autism journey, I sure do love my tour guide.”
“People with autism are often misunderstood by the outside community,” says Ben. A unique aspect of the job is that the school’s goal is to become obsolete in the lives of those they serve; to be so good at the work that they are no longer needed. Ben states, “I don’t want to change my students for the world, I want to change the world for my students.”
“I am humbled by the work that Ben does,” says Steve. “I’ve become so aware of the reach of this disorder and just how it affects so many children and families. His commitment to this community and to excellence in his work inspires me.”