The first ever MIA school for children on the Autism spectrum has appointed two experienced teachers to start its classes in 2018; and are looking forward to student enrolments.
Aspect Riverina, which provides educational programs for children on the autism spectrum, has opened a primary school in Yenda at the site of the former St Therese’s school, which closed in 2016.
Jane Sinclair, who previously taught at Aspect’s Albury school, will be the head teacher at Yenda, supported by Griffith’s own Danielle Favero as teacher’s aide.
The dynamic duo can teach a class of up to six students, which maintains Aspect’s three-to-one teacher-student ratio.
“Access to teachers is a lot greater [than in mainstream schools], so you can really focus on learning the task at hand,” Ms Sinclair said.
The school is also looking at a possible after-school program for both primary students and teenagers.
Classes will commence as soon as possible after enrolments are made.
MIA parents with children on the Autism spectrum are invited to visit the Yenda site at a series of open days over the next week for a chat to see if the school can meet their kids’ educational needs.
Ms Sinclair acknowledges the cost [three payments of $1,880 for the year] of full enrolment in the primary school is a barrier for many families.
She said there’s a carer’s allowance of $120, for which many parents may be eligible, which would cover much of the cost.
Aspect Riverina would also welcome any offers from MIA businesses to sponsor or support student enrolment.
The NSW Government’s Assisted School Travel Program may be able to help with transport from Griffith and other towns.
Ms Sinclair also said integration, not isolation, is the main aim of the school.
“We want to link with other school and community environments as much as possible – we’ll be taking children to shops, libraries and parks”.
“The aim is to help the students to transition them back to a mainstream school environment”.
Aspect have said their classes utilise a lot of visuals.
“I think in pictures,” is a saying by Temple Grandin, a well-known American with autism. Children on the spectrum can often find language confusing, which is why visual prompts can really help them along.
Meet the teachers days are scheduled for:
Friday 9 February 130pm to 230pm
Tuesday 13 February 530pm to 630pm
Thursday 15 Febrary 11am to midday
Phone Aspect Yenda mobile on 0481904959 for more details.