Jan Wintrol – Washingtonian of the Year: Leading the Way in Autism Education

2014-1-14-wintrol

[from the Washingtonian] Kids come to Ivymount from 11 local jurisdictions—and often have been bullied. The education plans they’re required to follow are based on a variety of emotional and educational needs, and no two are the same. One-on-one attention and data tracking to evaluate programs are of the utmost importance to Wintrol. Some students attend Ivymount for a short time before they’re mainstreamed; others stay till they’re 21. Those 16 and older do community work so they can develop skills that might help them land jobs once they leave.

Students and graduates who can are working—helping with hospitality and security at NIH, tracking down delinquent tax revenue for Montgomery County, labeling ice-cream containers at Moorenko’s warehouse. “They have to live in the community,” Wintrol says. “They can’t stay in the Ivymount bubble forever.”

The school’s programs aren’t kept in the Ivymount bubble, either. Staff does outreach to teachers and families, and in the next few years a program at the historic Stevens School in DC’s Foggy Bottom will train local special-education teachers.

Some people who hear about Ivymount tell Jan Wintrol she’s a saint, but she says, “It’s not magic, just a lot of hard work.”