Breaking Boundaries: A Progressive Program for Students with Special Needs

Breaking BoundariesDoes your child have trouble making friends? Maybe they sit alone at lunch or rarely get together with other kids their age.  If you are concerned that your child doesn’t seem to fit in, Breaking Boundaries could be the perfect ‘fit’ you have been hoping for.

Breaking Boundaries is a progressive program that offers kids and young adults who have special needs opportunities to be social – without their parents. Co-Director Seth Blender, a special education teacher at Glen Ridge Public Schools, explains, “The activities help to foster independence because parents are not there. The kids need to learn how to adapt on their own.”  Past activities have included trips to MetLife Stadium, Tourne Park and King’s Cooking Studio.

Co-Director with Blender is Chris Purdue, a teacher in Livingston School district, (both are also co-directors of the inclusive West Orange camp, New Horizons) started this program in 2012 after getting parent feedback during a special needs fitness clinic they were running together. “We asked the parents what else the needed and many said that they wanted their kids to have more opportunities to be social without them,” Blender says. The program, which started with three people, has ballooned to thirty five families and is still growing.

To get started, parents can contact the program through their website. Next, one of the administrators (they are all teachers) will come to your home for an interview. “We are selective with who we choose,” Blender notes.  The children selected are high functioning with social challenges – those who struggle to find a social group of friends. Once approved, the child has access to all of the programs in their age group.

Breaking Boundaries currently offers three separate programs:

The Travel Program is for kids and young adults between the ages of twelve to twenty-one. Over the course of these four to five hour excursions, participants are exposed to the three Breaking Boundaries values of education, socialization and independence.  Upcoming trips include: Medieval Times, Coney Island and Tomahalk Lake.

The second offering, Friday Night Out!, is for kids ages sixteen to twenty-one. Here, kids get a real Friday night hangout experience with activities like bowling and going to the movies.

Fit With Friends is the newest program and is available for two separate age groups, eight to twelve and thirteen to sixteen.  Kids get to learn and practice both physical and social skills while playing soccer, baseball, basketball, hockey and flag football. Peer mentors participate in every program offering, which magnifies the benefits of this program even more.

 

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