Bancroft Opens Transformative Special Education and Residential Treatment Campus for Children with Autism
Vision Realized. That was the theme as
Bancroft, the 134-year-old New Jersey-based human services and healthcare
nonprofit organization, marked the opening of the transformative Bancroft
Raymond & Joanne Welsh Campus for children’s programs in Mt. Laurel. The
campus is one of the first in the nation designed and inspired by the
challenges of today’s children with autism and other intellectual and
A decade in the making, the new campus is home
to The Bancroft School and the renowned Lindens Neurobehavioral Program, one of
few intensive residential treatment programs in the country focused on children
with severe autism. More than a century of experience has been interpreted into
sensory elements thoughtfully incorporated throughout the campus and its
facilities to address the specific and individual challenges of children today
and for generations to come.
“We believe this campus, school and
residential treatment programs represent a new standard for special education
and residential treatment for children and adolescents, just as The Bancroft
School did when Margaret Bancroft established it in 1883,” said Toni Pergolin,
President and CEO of Bancroft. “With its purposeful design and function for the
children we serve, this campus and all its features allow us to think beyond
our excellent programing and into the unrealized potential of each child.”
Bancroft education and therapeutic residential
programs are person-centered. Through individualized assessments, plans are
created collaboratively with school districts, social workers and the Bancroft
teams to best reach the behavioral, academic and social needs of each student.
The goal, no matter what the child’s challenge, is building life skills to move
toward greater independence, while ensuring each child lives each day with joy.
Dynamic learning and living environments on
the campus include:
The Bancroft School (capacity 265) and Activity Center
Lindens Neurobehavioral Program (capacity 30)
Campus Residences (capacity 44)
Gymnasium, fitness center, art and music studios
Job Skills Training in retail/beverage service, environmental services,
materials handling, food service and horticulture
Bancroft, founded in 1883 by special education
pioneer Margaret Bancroft, now serves and supports 2,000 individuals annually
with intellectual and developmental disabilities including autism, as well as
those in need of neurological rehabilitation. Of Bancroft’s 2,500 employees,
more than 530 special education teachers, paraprofessionals, speech,
occupational and physical therapists and medical professionals will work on the
Nearly 40 percent of students who attend The Bancroft School reside in Bancroft campus or community group homes. Staff work with children 24 hours a day, 365 days a year incorporating learning and skills development in all aspects of their lives.
“The complexity of the children we serve has
evolved over the past few decades, many needing unimaginable supports their
families struggle with on a daily basis. Our programs build on abilities,
address communication and behavioral challenges and teach life skills to help
children live life to their fullest potential and successfully transition into
adulthood,” said Pergolin.
Medical complexities are frequently
experienced by children with autism and related conditions. Bancroft’s holistic
approach to wrap-around medical services revolves around a health center for
daily nursing care and medication management as well as desensitization rooms
to prepare children for interactions with healthcare professionals.
our nation and state are at a critical juncture, we are committed to providing
sustainable solutions for those with disabilities. It is organizations like
Bancroft that are developing solutions to address the complexities of serving
and supporting individuals who need care today and well into the future,” said
Congressman Tom MacArthur, New Jersey 3rd District.
The design of the campus, school and
residences focuses on the academic, sensory, behavior, communication, health,
recreation and social needs of children with special needs. Features include
extensive natural lighting, which studies report relaxes students, permits
better concentration, and reduces hyperactivity. Teaching kitchens for life skills development
and new opportunities to engage in indoor and outdoor activity and sensory play
An Activity Pool was added to the project based
on input from staff and families to provide swim and water-safety lessons, as
well as sensory experiences. Music and
art studios, a gymnasium and a fitness center offer students an opportunity for
new programing related to their unique social and recreational needs, including
Special Olympics activities.
“Since many children with special needs lack
access to enrichment and recreation, we took the opportunity to provide a safe
and welcoming environment for water activity, sports, and life/job skills all
incorporated into the Activity Center. We plan to open these opportunities to
families throughout the region, regardless where their child attends school,”
said Dennis Morgan, Senior Vice President of Children’s Services at Bancroft.
The Mt. Laurel campus is named after former
Bancroft board member Raymond Welsh and his wife, Joanne. Longtime supporters,
they shared a deep appreciation for the care their son received at Bancroft.
“If there were ever a place that exemplified
taking a child’s true potential and bringing that untapped possibility to the
next level, it’s here at Bancroft,” said Senator-elect Troy Singleton from New
Jersey’s 7th Legislative District. “This is not just a shiny new
campus; this is poised to make a great impact on the special needs community
for decades to come.”
child, regardless of his or her ability, deserves the ability to learn, grow,
and live their best life,” said future New Jersey First Lady Tammy Snyder
Murphy. “The Bancroft School has been delivering on that mission for over 130
years, and with the opening of this wonderful new facility, they will continue
to serve New Jersey’s children for years to come.”
Children will begin to move into their new
homes on campus in late December, and students of The Bancroft School will
begin their first day on campus January 3, 2018.
“On time and on budget, the largest project in
Bancroft history is just that: History in the making. We are so fortunate to
provide this remarkable environment to contribute and shape the lives of these
children today, and the children we will serve in the future. After all, this
is for them, and they deserve it,” said Pergolin.