Ability Awareness and Assistance

"I think it's really important we demonstrate to our families that we are an inclusive school district that values all students and meets them where they are at with the supports and accommodations they need for success.  It is part of what makes Ferndale great!"

-Heather Williams, ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) Teacher


Below are listed several online resources and other events and practices that happen in Ferndale every year to support our students with specialized needs.

Autism Alliance of Michigan

The Autism Alliance of Michigan (AAOM) has been a great support to our district. They spoke at our Safety Night (a night to teach safety practices to families of students with Autism and other disabilities). They are also our "go to" for resources in the district. Last year, FHS raised money for the AAOM.

Special Olympics Unified Schools

We also have a partnership with the Special Olympics Unified Schools. They provide Ferndale Upper Elementary School with a $1,000 dollar grant every school year to fund shared sports with general education and special education students. Last year, the Cognitive Impairment and Autism Spectrum Disorder program went to Team Guts (a local gym that provides organized sports for individuals with specialized needs) to participate in soccer, baseball, flag football, dance, obstacle courses and so much more.

New MOCI Classroom

Nicole Kata teaches in our Moderate Cognitive Impairment(MOCI) classroom at Ferndale Middle School. She recently had her classroom remodeled so that it was not only ADA compliant but a beautiful and functional space for her students.

Statewide Autism Resources and Training (START) Project

This school year select special education staff will be participate in an intensive training at Oakland schools called START.  START is the Statewide Autism Resources and Training (START) Project based out of Grand Valley State University. It is funded by the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Special Education to provide evidence-based training, technical assistance, and resources to educators in Michigan that serve students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. As START trainers, these staff members will become START coaches in the district.

Positively Awesome Leaders & Learners (PALs)

Heather Williams is entering her third year as a volunteer for our PALs program, held after school bi-weekly. She meets with students to learn and teach about Autism, as well asother disabilities, and plan inclusive activities together. During the week, students from general ed visit her classroom to interact with the students with Autism, so they can develop connections and build friendships. This unique after-school program began in 2017. Last year, the PALs bowled together, participated in fun sports and craft-related activities both inside and outside the school. Some of the PALs even assisted students in their weekly Creative Movement sessions, which culminated in a dance performance assembly on May 19th.

PALs Students in 2017