Foundation School is Texas' First Public School Focused on Serving Children with Autism

Oct 12, 2010, 15:04 ET from Responsive Education Solutions

Charter school is a collaboration between ResponsiveEd and Autism Community Network

AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Responsive Education Solutions (ResponsiveEd), Texas' largest public charter school holder, and the Autism Community Network (ACN) today announced the opening of the first charter school in Texas focused on serving children with autism. Called the Foundation School for Autism, it is a tuition-free public charter school located in San Antonio, Texas.

"The creation of the Foundation School for Autism represents an important first step in addressing needs of a state with 400 percent increase in autism diagnoses," said Charles Cook, CEO of ResponsiveEd.  "Working together, ResponsiveEd and the Autism Community Network are providing the best education possible for young children with autism in a public school setting. Through early intervention, we are helping children with autism develop the social, communication, and academic skills necessary to be successful in school and in life."

The Foundation School provides parents of children with autism an alternative to expensive private schools.

"What is fantastic about The Foundation School for Autism is that every child, despite their parent's income, receives high quality, evidence-based autism intervention and education," said Jesse Franco, Executive Director of ACN. "Autism knows no boundaries. Rich or poor, white collar or blue collar, families face a huge financial burden when confronted by autism."

The school officially opened in August with three classrooms for children ages 3 to 6 years old. Today, 21 children with Autism spectrum disorders are receiving intensive early intervention therapy. Research shows that if a child receives early intervention therapies, appropriate and intensive therapy before the age of six, their chance of leading a self-supporting life doubles.

"The Foundation School joins the work of schools and teachers all across the state that try to make a difference for our students with Autism Spectrum Disorder," said State Senator Florence Shapiro.  "But by having the opportunity to focus on one mission, one purpose, I am hopeful the Foundation School will be able to accomplish extraordinary things; it is a courageous effort.  Furthermore, I am committed to seeking out partners from universities and others doing research and making progress in this field, who can gather around this new initiative and work to ensure that each child receives an excellent education."

Foundation School students receive both one-to-one and group instruction that includes Applied Behavior Analysis, Speech Therapy, and Occupational Therapy, as well as special sessions such as music therapy. Each child receives an individual plan to develop and improve key areas such as verbal behavior, play, learning readiness, social communication, adaptive skills, independent work, classroom skills — and of course, academics.

"The presence of the Foundation School in San Antonio reflects the unique and creative partnerships that exist in San Antonio between public and private organizations," said State Senator Leticia Van de Putte. "It is my hope that this school can serve as a sustainable model to address the needs of children with autism."

Autism spectrum disorder includes a wide range of challenging behaviors. In the classroom this means disruptive outbursts such as tantrums, non-compliance, and a child's inability to participate in classroom group activities.  So, for learning to take place, there must be extremely well-trained and experienced teachers who know autism. They must have skills that enable them to keep a child with autism engaged in learning throughout the day.

ResponsiveEd provides the infrastructure and the teachers for the school. The Autism Community Network provides support and specialized training for ResponsiveEd's staff at the school, as well as supplementary therapies for the students, such as speech, occupational, and music therapy.

About Autism Community Network

The Autism Community Network (ACN) is a non-profit organization serving the San Antonio community. ACN's goal is to help children with autism maximize their potential by providing early diagnostics and treatment, training professionals, and connecting families to the care and support they need. To learn more, visit http://autismcommunitynetwork-sa.org/.

About Responsive Education Solutions

Responsive Education Solutions (ResponsiveEd), Texas' largest public charter school holder, operates 36 public school campuses located throughout the state of Texas, including Premier High Schools, Vista Academies, Quest Middle School, iSchool High, and iQ Academy. ResponsiveEd schools are high quality, free public charter schools that serve at-risk students in grades 6-12, and students on college preparatory tracks in grades K-5, 6-8, and 9-12.  To learn more, visit http://ResponsiveEd.com.

SOURCE Responsive Education Solutions



RELATED LINKS

http://autismcommunitynetwork-sa.org/


http://responsiveed.com/