Heyworth Teacher Starts Program For Autistic Children

By Marc Strauss

August 24, 2011 Updated Aug 24, 2011 at 9:48 PM CDT

Seth Klessig and his two aids Tammy Tucker and Sydni Szafranski teach children with developmental disabilities at Heyworth Grade School.

It's a challenging job, but one with big rewards.

"I've always been drawn to kids that are just a little bit different or who need a little bit more help<" said Klessig, whose been working with autistic kids for 10 years. "They're very sweet children and they deserve everything that we can do for them."

Klessig's class consists of 3 children with autism. They're learning to communicate verbally. But to do that they need special toys and other materials. And that costs money.

Heyworth Grade School will be able to buy some of those things with a $1,000 "One Class at a Time" grant from CEFCU and HOI 19 News.

"That is fantastic," exclaimed a happy Klessig upon receiving the news. "These kids deserve every single bit of that. That is wonderful.

"Kids with autism don't know how to play, they don't know how to socialize, they have to be taught those things and toys are very expensive."

For Klessig's students the proper learning tools can be a life changing experience. And Principal Brian Bradshaw says they couldn't have a more compassionate teacher.

"He works very hard with the kids. He's a very caring individual and does what he can to try to help those students be successful," said Bradshaw,