Camelot Northwest Center for Autism Celebrates Payton Hess for His Achievements
Camelot Northwest Center for Autism (NWCA) celebrates Payton Hess for his ongoing achievements at school. He has been working with team leader Tyler Mosier and paraprofessional Ben Roettger. Since entering the school in fall 2018, Payton has made significant progress in the classroom, becoming a valuable member of NWCA’s community.
Payton, a vocational s tudent, attributes his advancement to being part of NWCA’s program that helps students maintain certain norms and live by them for three or more positive weeks. After this, students pledge to become a Tiger, which is the school’s mascot. Payton successfully achieved “Tiger status.”
“When I first got my Tiger status, I felt proud,” said Payton. “I was very impressed with the way Mr. Tyler gave me my pledge packet. He talked with me about the right norms, the right rules to live by, and how I can be a Tiger.”
Payton has been able to implement the norms he learned by working with Roettger, who challenges Payton to do his best every day.
“I like how Mr. Ben is able to help me and spend time working with me one-on-one. He gets me to work hard and helps me with my work when I need it,” said Payton. “Mr. Ben helped me learn to talk about how I am feeling. Last year I got better at recognizing some of my struggles, and now I can turn to my coping skills, using deep breaths at hard moments.”
Working with Payton, Roettger takes a calm, cool and collected approach. The two communicate well with one another.
“Ben has a quiet, calming voice. He is clear with Payton about expectations and shows him a lot of compassion,” said NWCA Principal Niamh Welp. “This creates a specialized learning environment for Payton.”
Roettger’s consistency has also been crucial for Payton’s development. “Payton relies on the predictability that he gets from Ben,” added Welp.
“I think he’s really blossomed into a gentleman and a fine young man,” said Roettger. “He’s a very polite, friendly person to be around.”
In the classroom, Payton has become a happy, calm and an active participant. During remote learning, he shows up for every session ready to learn. Payton relishes the opportunity to share his ideas with classmates and staff.
“Payton has come so far,” said Welp. “It is awesome to see where he will continue to grow as he gains more skills.”
Payton found a positive place in the community. “I love to be helpful at school,” Payton said. He always looks for ways he can contribute, and frequently asks what he can do to help.
His positive energy epitomizes the extent to which he has progressed along NWCA’s learning model. Payton also uses humor to bring light to the people around him. He is frequently found joking around and laughing.
Along with Roettger and Mosier, Payton found support from an encouraging staff community, which includes special education teacher Martha Kelly, and Board Certified Behavioral Analyst Bethany Foster.
NWCA staff provides academic and therapeutic services for children, adolescents and young adults, ages 3 through 21 with extraordinary needs including autism, multiple disabilities, emotional disabilities and other health impairments.
“We take a team approach. Collaboration is important to the work our staff does together,” said Welp. “We take different approaches with every student because individualized learning works for our model. We learn who every student is to determine what their needs might be. That way we can make decisions on how best to support the student academically, socially and emotionally.”
This collaborative approach helps students like Payton Hess thrive. “I like the people at NWCA,” he said. “I’m very friendly with everyone there.”