Just Be… Helen

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Just Be… Helen

Bancroft on Campus – Learning Independence and Gaining Maturity

Helen was ready for a new challenge after high school but not yet set to enter the adult world. Bancroft on Campus allowed her the opportunity to gain skills and interact with like peeps on a college campus setting. Her mom blogs about the experience.

By Pat Thieringer

Like all parents, we dreamed of a college education and a successful career for each of our children. But despite her incredible work ethic, our daughter, Helen, who has a chromosome deletion, faced challenges including borderline intelligence and a severe hearing impairment that made that dream feel impossible.

As her peers left for college and increased independence, Helen began her first transition year and quickly lost interest school. She felt embarrassed walking the halls as an adult with elementary school children on the same special education campus.

Then we learned about Bancroft on Campus, a transition program at Camden County College in Blackwood, N.J.

Helen’s classroom was in a regular college building without labels to identify students as special needs. In this setting, the students shared more similarities than differences from their peers. Helen said she felt “all grown up.”

At Bancroft on Campus, our daughter experienced paid and volunteer opportunities as a child care worker, a food worker, a library aide and a veterinary aide. She developed a very good work ethic and wonderful understanding of work etiquette and behaviors!

Helen’s teaching team’s expectations were high and she rose to meet and exceed them. Her first days of college life were exciting – she received a campus ID and after a period of training and supervision, was able to independently explore campus. She treasured this independence that so many students her age take for granted.

Helen was experiencing her first taste of a young independent adult life and she relished it! And when asked what she was doing after high school, she could proudly proclaim she was going to college through Bancroft on Campus.

Helen graduated from the program in June 2015, excited about her future, with a greater understanding of her skills and abilities. She is very talented in crafts and hopes to find employment at a large crafts store.

I have no doubts that Bancroft will continue to prepare my daughter for a life of independence. My only regret is not discovering Bancroft’s programs sooner! Remember, you might not get it right the first time, but once you find the programs and services that best fit your child’s needs, skills and abilities, you may see amazing growth and independence.


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