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Regional News

New school to serve autistic students in Spokane

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Courtesy of Ascend Academy
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Students with severe autism-related disabilities in Spokane will have a new education option beginning the first of the year.

That’s when the new Ascend Academy will open its doors. It’s a free, non-profit private school in north Spokane that’s accepting applications for students in kindergarten through fifth grade. “All of the board members that came together to create Ascend all have extensive experience working with kids with autism and special needs and we just saw a tremendous need in our community for something highly-specialized that really works alongside parents and provides the necessary behavioral therapy," said Jim Matthews, the board president for the new facility.

Matthews says the school will admit 20 students with severe disabilities. He says each will be assigned what he calls a “behavioral technician” who will give students one-on-one attention throughout the day.

“In public schools sometimes you’ll hear in the news or stories even locally about kids who have a history of possibly isolation or restraint in public schools. That kind of tells us that these are kids who need an added level of support and that’s the sort of thing that we would be looking for when we’re determining who should get into Ascend. It’s really for the kids who have that higher level of intensive need behaviorally, but also require that specialized academic support along with it," he said.

He says Ascend will offer class year-round to help students who might otherwise regress during public school’s summer vacation.

“What we’re looking for is that kids are making tremendous progress, both academically and behaviorally, and that parents no longer feel that they’re butting heads with their school. I think that’s a common experience for parents who have kids with special needs in public school. Our goal is to sit right beside the parent and include them every step of the way in the process and we’ll be looking for feedback from parents on how that’s been going," Matthews said.

He says parents can apply now. The deadline for priority admissions is December tenth. You can find out here.