Westbrook Preparatory School is the first residential New York State Regents junior/senior high school for students with Asperger syndrome, high functioning autism and related conditions. We provide direct intervention and long term planning to help our students adapt, communicate and learn. The focus of our program is to create a supportive, therapeutic environment that will allow each student to develop the daily living skills and emotional strength to successfully manage life’s complex demands now and into adulthood.
Westbrook began long before it had a name.
It began with concerned parents who had something in common: a child with high functioning autism. Many struggled to get teachers and schools to understand that even though their child was bright, they had other real challenges and needed modified work and special care just like any other young person with special needs.
In 2006, New York State began developing a plan to bring 100-150 students with special needs who had previously been sent out of state due to a lack of well-suited schools, back to New York. State officials began to hold public forums about the plan.
A movement was born.
The founders of Westbrook connected and, from 2006-2010, they fought a long battle to establish a residential school tailored to their children’s unique needs, meeting with funders several times a year. With SCO Family of Services as their partner, they found a venue for the school — St. Brigid’s Parish in Westbury, a former convent.
In 2008, nearly 500 Westbury residents attended a village meeting wearing big, green smiley face badges that read “Westbury Welcomes Westbrook.” The enthusiasm and acceptance from the community stunned many of the parents and one says it was one of the most striking experiences of her life.
In February 2011, after years of planning, New York State opened its first residential school for youth with high functioning autism: Westbrook Preparatory School.Back to Top
We build. We belong. We believe.
We build life skills, self-confidence and community.
We belong at Westbrook: our students, family members and staff should feel welcome, valued and proud to be a part of our school community.
We believe and are committed to Westbrook’s mission and are mindful of the educational values that guide our school.
Our Success Stories
Before coming to Westbrook Preparatory School, Sam, who has Asperger syndrome, was struggling academically and socially. At Westbrook, Sam has found acceptance, developed coping skills and is maturing into someone who is more in control of his actions and his future. See Sam’s story.
Rachel struggled with crippling anxiety, which came to a head in 2012. She had always been a straight A student, however, her worsening social anxiety, general anxiety and panic attacks led to her eventual diagnosis – Rachel had Asperger syndrome. When she arrived at Westbrook, it was hard for Rachel to imagine becoming the college student she is today. “When I first got to Westbrook, I couldn’t even say the word college without getting nauseous,” she recalls.
Rachel enrolled in Westbrook in May 2012. She says, “Attending Westbrook was the first time I felt comfortable with other kids.” Transferring from a school with 1,200 students to Westbrook, with a student body of 24, surely played a role in her transformation, but it was much more than that.
“My anxiety went down so much. The other students understood me because they were going through a lot of the same things. I also had a great therapist, Suzy. There was always someone I could talk to at Westbrook,” says Rachel.
Rachel now attends Landmark College in Vermont. She has access to vocational, therapeutic and academic supports and she draws upon the coping techniques she learned at Westbrook whenever issues arise. Rachel is currently studying liberal arts and hopes to attend law school.
Ross, a former student at SCO’s Westbrook Preparatory School, is a motivated and engaging young man who has Asperger syndrome. “I’m actually different from many people with Asperger’s in that I’m a very social guy,” says Ross. “On the other hand, sometimes I am unaware of other people’s feelings. I can be impulsive, and I do get overwhelmed. ”
Ross had difficulty adapting at his previous public school due to these challenges. However, Westbrook’s residential school setting gave Ross the opportunity to work on his social skills and develop strategies to help him avoid feeling overwhelmed.
One key element of life at Westbrook is the internship program. While students find comfort and build confidence living and learning with other teens who have similar challenges, they know that they need to prepare themselves to communicate and work well with all kinds of people. Ross’s first internship was at Sports Authority, and he held another at St. Brigid’s Elementary School Camp where he found talking with children about sports very rewarding.
His interest in sports led Ross to his next internship at WCWP 88.1 FM, the college radio station at CW Post. He ran the audio control sound board at sporting events, made guest appearances on a college sports talk show and researched sports information for use on air. He enjoyed his experience so much that he decided to study communications in college.Back to Top
Westbrook Preparatory School
231 St. Brigid’s Lane
Westbury, NY 11590
By Car from North Shore:
Northern State Parkway to Post Ave Exit. Turn South on Post Ave toward Village of Westbury. Make a right turn on Drexel Ave. Go approximately 4 blocks and enter Westbrook parking lot on left.
From the South Shore:
Meadowbrook Pkwy to Merchant’s concourse Exit. Go straight through Old Country Road. You will be on Ellison Ave. Go to the 1st stop sign past the traffic light and make a right onto Walnut St. Go approximately 300 ft. (Walnut St. turns into Drexel Ave.) Entrance will be on the right (three story brick building.)
Long Island Rail Road to Westbury Station, on the Port Jefferson line. Station is at Union and Post avenues. Walk north on Post Ave. to Drexel Ave. and make a left turn. Walk Approximately 4 blocks and enter Westbrook parking lot on left.