The Meyer Center is a nonprofit specializing in early education and intensive therapy services to empower children with disabilities to reach their maximum potential.
To enrich the lives of children with disabilities so they reach their maximum potential.
No place quite compares to the Meyer Center for Special Children. Dr. Leslie Meyer founded the center in 1954 with a belief that every child, regardless of his or her medical challenges, could learn in the right environment. Dr. Meyer’s vision lives on today.
The Meyer Center is chartered by the South Carolina Public Charter School District (SCPCSD) as an Alternative Education Campus (AEC). All students have an IEP. Each student’s strengths and needs are evaluated to define their individualized academic and therapeutic goals and objectives.
WHO WE SERVE:
The Meyer Center serves children (birth through 2nd grade) of varying disabilities such as developmental delays, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, autism and rare genetic disorders from all economic and demographic backgrounds. Our unique approach integrates early childhood education with intensive therapies. Our overarching goal is to bridge the gap between students with disabilities and their typical peers.
All Meyer Center students, regardless of age, must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Must qualify for 2 of 3 therapies: occupational, speech and/or physical
- Must qualify for one of the special education classifications: autism, intellectual disability, developmental delay, speech/language impairment, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, traumatic brain injury and/or multiple disabilities.
Students are grouped across ten multi-categorical classes by similar age, cognition and ability. Each class provides an enriching educational setting for students to learn in their least restrictive environment. A typical daily routine includes a mix of direct instruction and opportunities for children to choose their own activities. Different types of learners are targeted and encouraged through movement, listening, visualization, kinesthetic touch and music activities.
While attending the Meyer Center, student’s also receive intensive speech, physical and occupational therapies. Therapeutically, the Meyer Center differs from a traditional school as the therapies we offer are based off a medical model. This differs from that of a traditional school because we focus on the skills a child needs to be successful for life, not just the skills they need to function at school. On average, Meyer Center students receive approximately three times more therapy hours than they would in a traditional school setting.
- Our Speech & Language Pathologists evaluate a child’s communication abilities and implement a planned treatment program designed to improve communication skills. Every child has something to say, a voice that should be heard. We aim to ensure each child has that opportunity.
- Occupational therapy is concerned with three activities of daily living: Self-Care, Play, and Work. The “work” of a child at The Meyer Center is to develop preschool and play skills. The occupational therapist evaluates a child to determine if there are delays or obstacles that inhibit age-appropriate play and behavior.
- Physical therapy addresses the child’s general strength and abilities in the areas of gross motor skills and mobility. Our physical therapy focuses on improving mobility and gross motor skills to help each child reach their individual goals.
These therapies, combined with early special education, allow Meyer Center students to achieve goals that are the foundation for their success now and throughout their lifetime. These early education and intensive therapies are provided by:
- 9 certified teachers
- 22 teaching assistants
- 15 occupational, physical and speech therapists
The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University states that neural circuits are most flexible during the first three years of life and become increasingly difficult to change over time. For a child with disabilities, these educational and therapeutic interventions during preschool years can drastically change his or her future trajectory in education, and long-term - employment and independent living.
While specializing in early childhood intervention, our goal is long-term success. Unfortunately, people with disabilities face discrimination in many areas of life including employment. The National Organization on Disability reports that the vast majority of people with disabilities can and want to work; however, more than 25 years after the passage of the Americans with Disability Act, only one in five Americans with disabilities holds a job. For our students, the Meyer Center is the first step towards overcoming these odds.
Enrollment in the Meyer Center not only impacts our students’ lives but also that of their families. Although critical, adequate early intervention for young children with disabilities is costly. At the Meyer Center no child is turned away due to inability to pay for services, making it the only viable option in Upstate SC for children of many low-income families to receive critical early intervention. In addition to alleviating a financial burden, enrollment also allows many caregivers to enter or remain in the workforce.
Students who attend the Meyer Center during their critical early years thrive from receiving the high-quality, evidenced-based therapies and special education that only we provide all under one roof. Parents often express that having their child at the Meyer Center was the first time they felt real hope for the future. On average 85% of students achieve their goals. One student was able to tell her All students work toward individualized education and therapy goals. parents “I love you” for the first time. Another student, who was once completely immobile, is now able to run and play with his friends. Every child deserves successes like these.
Upon graduating from the Meyer Center, we help place students in the most appropriate and least restrictive environment for their continued success. Our unique approach makes our students better prepared for the future. Upon graduating from the Meyer Center, we help place students in the most appropriate and least restrictive environment for their continued success. On average, 99% of students enter public schools.