Sticking to it

School nurse Amy Murdter helps student Kimberly Alarcon with her library paging duties.

Have you ever checked a book out of the library, only to find that someone has doodled on several of the pages, or perhaps spilled something that left a big stain? Well, some of the students in Matheny’s transition program are trying to alleviate your suffering.

The transition program is intended to boost the independence of students, both within the school and in the surrounding community. With that in mind, a group of Matheny students regularly visits the Bridgewater, NJ, Township Library to serve as library pagers in the youth services section, looking through books to find out which pages have these blemishes. Then, they put a sticky note on the damaged pages they find and turn the books over to the library staff to follow up. Some of the Matheny students are non-verbal, but, working with a school staff member, they communicate via switches or symbols. For example, a staff member will ask, “Sticky note, or turn the page?” and the student will answer via a voice-automated switch or point to a symbol, indicating one of the two answers.

Other transition activities include sizing, sorting and organizing at the TJMaxx/Home Goods stores in Bridgewater and serving as office cleaners and organizers at the Gurukul Yoga Center, also in Bridgewater.

One student found this damage to Abraham Lincoln’s nose in the book "Abraham Lincoln and the End of Slavery."