Reaching full potential

From left, Marie, Matthew and Donald Detgen.

Twenty-one-year-old Matthew Detgen has cerebral palsy combined with several other medical conditions. When Matthew was three months old, he began receiving services from the early intervention program at Hunterdon Medical Center in Flemington, NJ. He subsequently attended the Buck County Intermediate Unit in Quakertown, PA, and a Mercer County regional school. By the time Matthew was 17 years old, the Delaware Valley Regional High School in Frenchtown, NJ, recognized the need for placing him into a private special education school. According to his mother Marie, a resident of Milford, NJ, the school district was “impressed with Matheny’s program and saw that it was perfect for Matthew.”

On  June 18, Matthew graduated from The Matheny School, and his mother says he has benefited from the way he has been, “consistently challenged and pushed to reach his full potential. The knowledge, opportunities and technological support that Matheny affords far exceed any class in a public special education program. No public school program could come close to all that Matheny offers.”

As Matthew moves on to Matheny’s Adult Services program, he will benefit from The Matheny School’s transition program, which is designed to increase the independence of its students, both within the school and in the surrounding community. A key element of that program is the Tea Time Café, an in-house school refreshment stand equipped with an adapted cash register. It provides students with an authentic work environment, and Marie Detgen recalls the first time she and her husband Donald saw Matthew at work, “interacting with people. We had heard about it, but actually seeing how he was so excited and happy to be engaging with others made a lasting impression.”