The Teacher Academy students visit Thomas A. Wildey Center

Lisa Davis assists The Teacher Academy students with a disability awareness exercise during their visit to Thomas A. Wildey Center.
Recently, seven students from The Teacher Academy at Grant Career Center visited the Thomas A. Wildey Center in Owensville.

Field trip participants included Sammi Gregory, Rachel Heflin, Lindsay Kennedy, Casey Posey, Toshia Reffit, Mackenzie Turner, Sarah Van Over, and Teacher Academy Instructor Mrs. Julie Crozier.

The Thomas A. Wildey Center houses the school age program for the Clermont County Board of Developmental Disabilities. Teacher Academy students were greeted by Principal Jay Williams, who led them on a tour of the facilities. Williams explained that the children who attend Wildey Center are referred by their local school districts because they have special needs that cannot be met within a typical classroom setting. As they visited the classrooms, The Teacher Academy students saw staff members working with students on both academic objectives and job-training skills. In addition to teachers and instructional assistants, Wildey also employs occupational, physical, and speech therapists who help students develop fine-motor, large-motor, and communication skills.

Lisa Davis, Community Relations Director at Thomas A. Wildey Center, helped The Teacher Academy students experience what it feels like to have a disability with the Disability Awareness Training Curriculum.

The group received a course in assistive technology and learned what it means to speak “People First Language.”

Ms. Davis gave the students the opportunity to “try on a disability” by taping their fingers together to simulate having a disability that hinders motor skills and by having them wear specially modified glasses to simulate having a visual impairment. Ms. Davis then asked the students to throw and catch a ball and fasten and unfasten jewelry so they could experience how a disability might impact their large-motor and fine-motor skills.

The Teacher Academy students agreed that the Disability Awareness Training was very effective in allowing them to experience the challenges that Wildey students face every day.

After the Disabilities Awareness Training, each Teacher Academy student was placed in a different classroom in order to observe a specific teacher work with Wildey students.

Toshia Reffit worked with a teacher who helped a student pick up pictures of flowers placed throughout the school hallways and to use adaptive technology to voice the word “flower” as she put the pictures in a basket. Lindsay Kennedy observed students working to improve their large motor skills by riding adaptive bicycles in the Wildey gymnasium.

Mackenzie Turner helped a class of older Wildey students to prepare kits containing coloring pages and crayons that are used in local Frisch’s Big Boy restaurants.

The Teacher Academy is a senior-only college tech prep program designed to prepare students for college and to expose them to the essentials of teaching through course content, classroom externship placements, course work transferrable to universities, and co-curricular activities such as the Thomas A. Wildey field trip.

If your soon-to-be senior son or daughter is interested in a career in the education profession, investigate career options and college partnerships on our website at, or call the Career Center for more information at (513) 734-6222.