Anyone looking for information about autism and Aspergers Syndrome is welcome to attend a series of classes offered by the Office of Special Education at Canyons District.

The classes, which are taught by Melisa Geneaux, a consultant and trainer who focuses on autism spectrum disorders, will cover behavior strategies for home and school, executive functioning strategies and how to cope with anxiety and depression. Geneaux works with school districts across the country, providing support for parents and teachers looking for help with behavior and classroom management, social skills instruction and special education legal compliance. Supplemental materials and resources will be distributed at each class.

The classes, which are free and open to the public, will take place on March 22 and April 13 from 4:15-7 p.m. at the Canyons Administration Building East, 9361 S. 300 East. To register, contact Shela Barker at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your name, phone number and the dates you wish to attend with the words “Focus on Autism” written in the subject line.

 Teachers may register online through ontrack using course #61843 at

Canyons District and the Utah Parent Center are holding a free workshop about Section 504, the federal law that provides equal access and opportunities to individuals with disabilities.

The 6:30-8:30 p.m. event on Tuesday, Nov. 10 will be held at the Canyons Technical Education Center, 825 E. 9085 South.

Attendees are encouraged to pre-register online at or by calling 801-708-1841 or 801-272-1051.
Students at Jordan Valley School are raising their voices — and their swords — in a musical production of "Mulan," the tale of a young girl who disguises herself to fight in a battle and becomes a heroine in the process.

Teachers and students at Jordan Valley, Canyons District’s school for students with severe disabilities, are performing their annual spring musical at 10:30 a.m. April 1-3.  The parts are adapted to the abilities of the students, and students perform with the help of many aides and teachers. 

The Wednesday, April 1 performance is for staff and students. The Thursday, April 2 and Friday, April 3 shows are for the public.  Please arrive early to get a seat.  If tradition holds, all seats will be taken for every performance.

The show will be staged in the auditorium of the school, 7501 S. 1000 East.

In previous years, Jordan Valley students have shined in such productions as "Peter Pan," "Beauty and the Beast," "The Little Mermaid," and "High School Musical."
A recent shopping trip for Jordan Valley School's Transition Academy served as a step forward in the students' efforts to become productive participants in the community. The shopping excursion, sponsored by America First Credit Union, not only resulted in new footwear, but also assisted the students as they put into practice independent-living and financial-literacy skills.

Teacher Carrie Taylor said the 18- to 22-year-old students spend their days learning to transition to the next stage of their lives. To aid in that process, from Monday to Friday, the students, accompanied by teachers and aides, leave the well-known hallways of Jordan Valley, CSD’s school for students with severe disabilities, to go on planned adventures to various venues. Using public transportation, they make trips to libraries, museums, and grocery stores. They also work weekly in the Canyons Technical Education Center's greenhouse.

One the challenges has been that many of the CTA students didn’t have proper footwear for inclement-weather days, Taylor said. Either the students suffered cold feet during the activity, she said, or their shoes remained soggy after they returned to the school. The footwear problem was solved, though, when America First, one of Canyons District’s community partners, stepped up to sponsor a shopping trip.

“The weather is so unpredictable — you just never know what we’re going to run into,” Taylor said. “To have good shoes that we can keep at the school is going to be absolutely fantastic. This has been so exciting for the students.”

Robin Collett, CSD’s Director of Special Education called the learning activity, which resulted in hand-picked footwear for the students, “a complete success.”

At Target, students found the shoe department and were able to select for themselves a pair of boots or sturdy shoes. Flashing grins, they combed through the footwear, looking for their sizes and favorite colors. Once all the students had chosen a pair, they made their way to the front of the store to make their purchases.

Most of the CTA students had never before used a credit or debit card, however. With a little help from teachers and aides, each student was able to approach a cashier, present the item they sought to purchase, and complete the shopping transaction with the pre-paid Visa cards provided by AFCU.

“Thanks to America First Credit Union, the students didn’t just get the gift of a new pair of boots,” said Collett. “Through this experience they were given a chance to learn some vital financial literacy and independent-living skills. We can’t thank America First Credit Union enough for helping us to help our students in this way.”
Canyons District’s Special Education Department is offering classes about autism and Aspergers Syndrome taught by Melisa Genaux, a consultant and trainer on autism spectrum disorders who works with school districts nationwide. The free public courses may be taken individually or as a series.

The following classes are scheduled for 4:15–7 p.m. in the Professional Development Center of the Canyons Support Services Center, 9361 S. 300 East: 
  • Jan. 29: How characteristics affect all areas of language, behavior, social, academic and executive function; strategies for language/communication and academic skills.
  • Feb. 24: Behavior strategies for home and school
  • March 26: Executive functioning strategies and coping with anxiety and depression
To register, please contact Shela Barker at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please include “Focus on Autism” in the subject field, and include your name, phone number, and the sessions you would like to attend.
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