Students with Autism Win Rookie All Stars Award, Advance to Championship in Robotics Competition

By: The Help Group
SHERMAN OAKS, Calif. - April 2, 2015 - PRLog -- The Help Group’s Village Glen School team, known as Knightrise, are heading to St. Louis, Missouri, later this month for the FIRST Robotics Competition Championship after an impressive performance in the Ventura Regional this past weekend at Ventura College. The team, comprised of students with autism spectrum disorder, won the Rookie All-Star Award, sending them to the national event April 22 to 25.

The Help Group’s STEM initiative at Village Glen is designed to hands-on, intensive classes focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math such as computer programming, robotics, digital arts, 3D printing, AP Environmental Science and entrepreneurship. Dr. Susan Berman, Chief Operating Officer at The Help Group who spearheaded the initiative says, “Village Glen School incorporates a wide-range of STEM coursework to promote cutting edge, 21st century work skills, and to prepare college-bound students for success by encouraging creativity, critical thinking skills and problem solving strategies.”

Dr. Ellis Crasnow, Director of STEM Education for Village Glen Schools, heads team Knightrise. “These remarkable young people have natural talents and abilities like superior visual discrimination, intense focus, and sometimes superior math or technical ability. This has led us as a school to offer a range of STEM classes from K-12, to establish an Innovation Lab, and to encourage our students to engage in public competitions such as the FIRST Robotics competition.”

Knightrise Team member Chris shared, “I’m learning to be confident about contributing my ideas but also trying out other people’s ideas and making concessions. It’s teaching me how to manage a timeline and my schedule, and its real world application is preparing me for my future.”

“The Help Group’s STEM initiative offers technical skills and expertise that will serve our students on the autism spectrum well, that will support them in applying for and attaining meaningful, lifelong employment,” says Dr. Berman. “The Help Group is so proud of team Knightrise and we wish them success in the FIRST Robotics Championship.”

About Village Glen

Village Glen School is an innovative, multidisciplinary and unique therapeutic day school designed for children with challenges in the areas of socialization, communicative and pragmatic language development, and peer relations. Many students served at Village Glen experience special needs associated with Asperger’s Disorder, high functioning autism, anxiety-related disorders, and non-verbal learning disabilities.


Founded in 1975, The Help Group is the largest, most innovative and comprehensive nonprofit of its kind in the United States serving children with special needs related to autism spectrum disorder, learning disabilities, ADHD, developmental delays, abuse and emotional problems. The Help Group's nine specialized day schools offer pre-K through high school programs for more than 1,500 students.  Its broad range of mental health and therapy services, child abuse and residential programs extends its reach to more than 6,000 children and their families each year.

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Tags:Stem, Autism, Robotics, First Robotics, Autism Spectrum Disorder
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Location:Sherman Oaks - California - United States
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