The Jewish Community Center in Utica held its pre-school graduation ceremony on Friday.

Included in the group of four-year olds were seven students from the Kelberman Center who are on the autism spectrum.

Victor Pearlman is the Executive Director of the Jewish Community Center

Pearlman  says the purpose of the program is to give autistic children exposure to what a more typical classroom in school is like so their chances of doing well in public school increase.

He says the program worked seamlessly.

Pearlman says after spending several weeks in one of the JCC classrooms, children who hadn't really talked to their peers in many years of schooling made friends in the typical classrooms.

He says the plan next year is not only to have a Kelberman classroom, but to have another classroom that is 50% children on the autism spectrum and 50% "typical" children.

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