Simulated Apartment Teaches Skills of Daily Living

Blog: Simulated Apartment

How will my child take care of herself when I’m not around? Will my child ever be able to live independently? How will he learn the skills he needs to manage a household?

If you are the parent of a child with disabilities, you’ve probably asked yourself these questions at one time or other.

One high school in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, is providing answers that are reassuring to parents and empowering to youngsters with disabilities.

Recently, Nazareth Area High School created a “simulated apartment” where students with disabilities can practice skills of daily living. According to Kurt Bresswein at The Express-Times/TNS and Disability Scoop, the “apartment,” which was previously an ordinary classroom, is the brainchild of AJ Kise, the school’s director of special education.

“Imagine a world where every student, regardless of their abilities, walks through the doors of opportunity—a world where barriers crumble, differences are celebrated and education empowers all to reach their full potential. Today we stand at the threshold of making that dream a reality,” said Kise at the apartment’s dedication and ribbon cutting.

Director Kise first conceived of the simulated apartment in fall 2022. After consulting with life skills teacher Chrissy Glasgow, he developed a proposal which he presented to the Nazareth Area Schools Superintendent Richard Kaskey and Assistant Superintendent Isabel Resende. Once the proposal was approved, the project took about two years to get off the ground. Local foundations, businesses, Nazareth Area Schools maintenance, operations and facilities staff, school families and Nazareth community members all contributed to making the simulated apartment a reality.

This year, 25 special education students at Nazareth Area High School will have use of the apartment to learn skills such as “food and kitchen safety, laundry, budgeting, planning and organization, social skills, and independent living skills such as personal hygiene, home maintenance and safety procedures.”

Superintendent Kaskey said the apartment will provide students with “a safe environment in which to make errors and experience repercussions, while they gain confidence in growing the skills they’ll need to thrive as adults.”

Said Assistant Superintendent Resende: “This simulated apartment is not just a space, it’s a springboard. It will be a training ground where our students with special needs can develop essential skills for living independently, but more importantly they’ll gain confidence, self-reliance and the belief that they are capable of achieving anything they set their mind to.”