Before coming to Pressley Ridge School for Autism (PRSA) in February 2020, 14-year-old Noah Ralston kept to himself rather than interacting with his fellow students at his former school. Now, even with social distancing measures in place, the 9th grader has already formed friendships with his classmates. While these relationships have their typical teenage ups and downs, the teachers and staff at PRSA are pleased with the amount of progress he has made in a short amount of time.

Noah, always one to be helpful, embodies Pressley Ridge’s value of “we are all teachers and learners.” He is eager to share knowledge in a positive way about his interests, like model airplanes, creating maps, and the game BeamNG Drive. At the same time, Noah learns from his teachers, especially Mr. Hill, to be more aware of his emotions, to communicate with his words instead of his behavior when he is upset, and to express when joking goes too far and upsets him.

Noah also follows the Re-Education Principle of “Know joy each day.” He is famous throughout the school for his sense of humor and desire to make his classroom a fun place for everyone. He is quick to tell a joke and even quicker to give feedback if your joke isn’t up to his standards. Noah especially enjoys proposing interesting scenarios for staff to choose between – a veritable “Choose Your Own Adventure” challenge!

As far as the future, Noah isn’t sure what he wants to do when he graduates from Pressley Ridge or even what he wants to do this weekend. When asked to give some advice to anyone reading an article about how awesome he is, Noah kept it simple: “Buck up!”

Students like Noah work daily to reach their full potential at the Pressley Ridge School for Autism. The program is a licensed private academic school serving students from area districts through age 21.