Open Your Future
Our Pioneering Story
League School for Autism was one of the first schools in New England dedicated to educating students with Autism. Two sets of parents with Autistic sons – Dr. and Mrs. Arnold Vetstein and Dr. and Mrs. Morton Olin – founded the school in the 1960s as an outpost for new educational approaches and opportunities for Autism.
During that narrow-minded time, experts believed that “refrigerator mothers” were to blame for their children’s “disability.” The co-founders modeled the school after League School of Brooklyn. They worked with its founder and director, Dr. Carl Fenichel, and a small team of professionals who believed that if you give students the right set of challenges and supportive strategies, they will grow and achieve.
League School for Autism began as a single classroom in the basement of Peabody School in Newton, Massachusetts, in 1966. Today it has grown to a multidisciplinary school for more than 100 day and residential students on the Autism spectrum.
The school moved to its current location in Walpole, Massachusetts, in 1999. In 2014 and 2017, League School added two on-campus residential homes to provide 32 students with 24-hour support. Our faculty of approximately 165 full- and part-time staff brings a wide array of disciplines and, together, creates a holistic community to guide students into adulthood.
Teaching students with Autism longer than most schools in New England, we have been evolving for more than 55 years. We were the first school in Massachusetts to offer the innovative and evidence-based SCERTS® Model. SCERTS, which stands for Social Communication, Emotional Regulation, and Transactional Supports, allows us to strategically customize a curriculum for each student with the ultimate goal of maximizing their quality of life.
Also, following our founders’ vision, we serve as a place where people can learn about the latest best practices for working with those with Autism and receive training in Autism education. On an ongoing basis, League staff members offer seminars on timely topics, attend continuing education programs, conduct research in multidisciplinary collaboration and classroom-wide programming, and support teachers in training through mentoring and partnerships with universities.
Looking to the future.
Our overarching goal has always been to support students in reaching their fullest potential, to be as independent as they can be – while recognizing we all need support systems. We have always focused on preparing students for their future. Today, this goal translates into preparing students for life in the neurodiverse world.
One of the innovative ways we are supporting students in gaining life skills is through expanding our highly regarded vocational program. We recently embarked on the development of a state-of-the-art career learning center next to the school on Moosehill Road. This four-and-a-half-acre campus, expected to open in 2025, will allow students to gain realistic and continuously relevant career training, effective communications skills, and confidence so that they can work and thrive in adulthood.
There are many qualities that set League School apart. Longevity. Innovation. Multidisciplinary programming. Individualized curriculum. Team approach. SCERTS methodology. But we believe it is our collaborative, compassionate community that distinguishes us the most.
We see ourselves as a school+, a place where every moment is a teachable one, whether in the classroom, in the workplace, or at home. We work together with our colleagues, students, families, and the community to align and expand each student’s customized curriculum beyond our brick walls for real life experiences and meaningful growth.
The founders, who were parents themselves of children with Autism, put family involvement at the core of educating their children. League School continues its founders’ vision of open communication and participation among every parent to support their child in reaching their fullest potential.
Affiliations and Recognitions
Endorsements And Recognition
Our Director of Education and five teachers have earned the Autism endorsement of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. This endorsement recognizes that these educators have acquired specialized knowledge and skills in Autism.
National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET) has named League School “School of Excellence” for the last three years. We are one of only five Massachusetts schools, and one of only two in the Greater Boston area, to earn the distinction in 2023.
Boston Parent Magazine named League School as Best Special Education Middle School (2023).