WARREN - The Hope Academy for Autism will open in the fall at Shepherd of All God's Children, 1628 Niles Road S.E., providing educational services to children identified with any autism spectrum disorder and Asperger syndrome.
Kimberly Clinkscale, executive director, said Shepherd of All God's Children, which is a community-based day care and child development center, will be the location for the school.
Clinkscale said the center received word of the state-funded school in May
Clinkscale said the academy, which will open Sept. 4 with a ribbon-cutting in August, has been chartered through the Ohio Department of Education as a school with the primary mission of educating children ages 6 to 12 in grades kindergarten to sixth.
Clinkscale said the school has been sponsored by Educational Resource Consultants of Ohio. The school will accept 30 students for the initial school year and will focus on personalized education.
Enrollment is expected to increase in future years.
She said in recent years, there has been an increase in the number of students being diagnosed with autism.
"We keep hearing from parents that they need help and support in their efforts to educate their children. We look forward to working with parents and providing community resources to meet the needs of our students," Clinkscale said.
She said the children will attend classes from September to June.
Clinkscale said last year there were six children who took part in a program at the center. She said using a multi-disciplinary approach, the school will focus on supporting the growth of each student, both in academic and social development.
Parent Michelle Stevenson said she has been looking for a program to help meet the needs of her daughter.
"I am excited that Hope Academy is opening and that my child will be able to stay in a program that has helped her so much," she said.
Pastor Ann Snyder, auxiliary services coordinator / community outreach, said in recent years there has been more awareness of children with autism and serving them in schools. She said more boys than girls are identified with autism.
Virginia Holmes, executive assistant, said receiving the state support is great leap.
Snyder said there are plans to establish a parent-teacher organization and training sessions for parents as part of the effort.
Allison Smith, a special education intervention specialist, said students will be provided with one-on-one instruction. Instructors will follow state content standards in reading, math and other subjects with access to technology and life skills development.
Stephanie Brady, a University of Akron special education / elementary student who has been at the center this summer, said she has found it a good learning experience working with the children. She has been a student intern.
Clinkscale said there will be board members who will oversee the program.
Applications are available for children who have been identified with any autism spectrum disorder or an existing Individualized Education Plan.