Maui Business

Poʻokela Center on Maui to Serve Kids with Developmental Disabilities

November 30, 2016, 9:03 AM HST
* Updated December 2, 8:17 AM
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DOE School Closures.

DOE School Closures.

After a year of planning, the Department of Education’s Baldwin-Kekaulike-Maui Complex will celebrate the opening of Poʻokela Maui on Friday, Dec. 2, 2016.

The focus of the center will be to assist children who have significant behavioral challenges with adjusting to a classroom environment. Teachers will work on addressing any barriers to learning and helping each child with their social engagement and communication skills.

Students who qualify for Poʻokela Maui services will be temporarily placed there for three months to one year. The goal is to get students up to speed and ready for a classroom environment at a public school campus through the Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment Program and Placement and Essential For Living Curriculum.

Program leaders say students with autism and other developmental disabilities sometimes experience anxiety when they are unable to communicate wants and needs. They may also become frustrated when they do not have basic problem-solving skills, perseverance, flexibility, and independence.

“Poʻokela provides the focused programming and strategic environment that allows students to safely and solidly build these skills,” state education officials said.


The Po’okela Maui center will be located at 1305 North Holopono St., Suite 6, above the Maui Research and Technology Park in Kīhei.


Dignitaries expected to be in attendance at the opening event include: Leah Belmonte, Office of Governor David Ige; Katie McMillan, Office of US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard; Senator Roz Baker; Mayor Alan Arakawa; John Harrison, Maui Economic Development Board; Grant Chun, Hawaiʻi State Board of Education; and Leila Hayashida, Complex Area Superintendent.

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