Jefferson County Public Schools Partners with Private Behavioral Healthcare Provider to Serve Children with Autism

December 19, 2013

Charles Town, West Virginia, December 18, 2013 –Grafton Integrated Health Network (Grafton) and Jefferson County schools have partnered to provide services for children with autism in TA Lowery Elementary classroom in Charles Town, West Virginia.

Historically, local school systems would identify resources to serve children with significant behavioral, intellectual and developmental challenges within their schools and on occasion, would transport children to facilities outside of their state when necessary. In the spring of 2013, Grafton leaders approached Jefferson County Public Schools about a possible collaboration to serve students within the schools at Jefferson County. Jefferson County public school officials responded enthusiastically to this project and their willingness to collaborate on this partnership confirms their strong commitment to students, families and teachers within their locality.

Currently, four children are served in the TA Lowery classroom with one teacher and one aide. The classroom opened on August 22, 2013.

Sarah Hafer is a BCBA who spends a minimum of ten hours in the classroom providing Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services. Her role is to collaborate with teacher Robert Johnson and aide, Jennifer Peck to develop a customized behavioral intervention plan that will help kids succeed. ABA services are a specialized treatment that is scientifically proven to help with Autism Spectrum Disorders. ABA services focuses on antecedent and reinforcement-based strategies to improve skills acquisition in the areas of communication, social interactions, motor control, daily living activities and play. ABA services focus on analyzing the function or intent of behaviors and determining why they are occurring. Once the function of the behavior is identified, staff focuses on teaching replacement or alternative behaviors.

At the beginning of the school year, the four children served in the Grafton classroom at TA Lowery Elementary displayed a number of behavioral concerns. “The kids would have difficulty remaining in the classroom and would destroy property, have behavioral outbursts and could not be integrated within other activities within the school “, states teacher, Robert Johnson. Four months later, these same kids are eating lunch in the cafeteria, playing on the playground during recess and learning and thriving within the classroom. “I see my role as being a constant cheerleader as I provide positive feedback to the kids empowering them to make good choices and do the right thing”, shares Robert Johnson.

“It is exciting to be part of a school system that is paving the way for children with autism spectrum disorders. The children are successful within the classrooms and we are receiving favorable comments from their parents”, shared Gail Woods, Public Relations, Jefferson County Schools.
TA Lowery Elementary opened in 1992 and serves 467 students from preschool through fifth grade.
Principal, Kristen Martin shares, “I am extremely grateful for the behavioral support the Grafton staff has provided for our teachers at T. A. Lowery Elementary School. They have been able to suggest strategies for intervention that have improved the quality of our academic program. The students they serve have shown personal growth and have experienced success.”

For more information on Grafton Integrated Health Network’s services and expertise, please visit

For more information on TA Lowery Elementary, please visit

About Grafton Integrated Health Network
Grafton Integrated Health Network is a private, nonprofit organization that has provided a full continuum of services to people overcoming emotional, behavioral or developmental challenges. As an industry leader in behavioral healthcare, we empower individuals to lead better lives. Grafton provides continuous and coordinated services from short-term stabilization and residential services to outpatient to educational and career and technical training. These programs along with a data-driven, trauma-informed model help the organization to develop successful plans of care and clients to thrive in a variety of settings.
Grafton provides a continuum of services to children, youth and adults including applied behavior analysis, early intervention, psychiatric residential treatment facilities, a short-term stabilization program, special education programs, community-based group homes, intensive outpatient program and outpatient services.
For more information on Grafton Integrated Health Network’s services and expertise, please visit

Shweta Adyanthaya, Director, Communications, 540-955-2400 ext 7260,