Online learning helps Janesville teen with autism follow passion
Seventeen-year-old Devon Casper has attended school virtually for nearly a decade.
JANESVILLE, Wis. (WMTV) - For many students nationwide, switching to virtual learning in spring 2020 was a major shift. However, online school has been the norm for one Janesville teen, and it helped him follow his passion.
Seventeen-year-old Devon Casper started attending school virtually in third grade.
“The classes I have right now definitely would not have been an option to me,” Casper said of his online classes.
Casper has autism, and the traditional school he went to just was not the right fit.
“It just made it worse,” he remembered.
Casper’s mom enrolled him online, and that made all the difference.
“They gave us a free computer and printer, and we got started right off the bat and it immediately helped me with math and language skills,” Casper said.
Casper now attends school virtually at Destinations Career Academy of Wisconsin (WIDCA). There, he has been able to follow his passion for technology.
“I got into computers from the first time I got my own computer. I would take it apart and put it back together and I would start programming for it,” Casper explained.
Over the last six years, Casper has been able to take a variety of classes in programming and IT.
“I could learn things that would take me a lot longer in normal school,” he explained.
Pat Acker, career readiness coordinator at WIDCA, said he hears similar feedback from many families.
“Students in some cases are able to focus more, and it fits their schedule,” he said.
Acker said the virtual setting teaches students important professional skills, no matter what career they choose.
“The ability to communicate, the ability to organize, collaborate, certainly work with others,” Acker described.
Casper has one year of virtual school left before graduation. He’s looking at going into sales or becoming a mechanic, while continuing computer repair on the side.
“You do have more of an option for your future with going the virtual route,” he said.
Acker added that WIDCA is expecting to see more families interested in enrollment in 2020, as many traditional schools remain physically closed in the fall.
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