by ADN

July 16, 2014

schoolPleasant Grove, UT-A new autism specialized school called Spectrum Academy is being built in Pleasant Grove Utah. The charter school will open in the fall will be tuition-free.

This is great news to many families, especially the Schmutz who have run out of options for their nine-year-old son Dallin after public and home school wasn’t working. 

The charter already has another location in North Salt Lake that has been in operation since 2006 but with many families needing it’s specialized education it’s filled to capacity with many on a waiting list. If the Schmutz got in on the lottery selection system this location would have been an hours drive away. This 20-minutes close site is a welcomed relief to the family. 

Jessica Scmutz told Deseret News,

“I had an idea of how to help my son learn. But I was expected to wear the hats of teacher, counselor, therapist, and mother and so many more,” Schmutz said. “I was so overwhelmed. I have my mommy instincts, but I knew I didn’t have the skill set to help him progress.” 

Unlike most schools who may not be equipped to handle moderately functioning  children with autism like Dallin, Spectrum Academy is designed to meet the unique needs of it’s students. The walls are painted in soothing tones, there is natural light in every room, and plenty of break rooms beside each classroom. 

The building has 32 classrooms with more then 40,000 square feet for grades kindergarden through 8th grade. The school will add around 20,000 square feet each year to reach it’s goal of becoming a full K-12 institution with 650 students total. Class sizes are moderate with only 12-15 students per class. Each day students will under go social scenario training for 45 minutes to an hour. Director of Development Brad Nelson stressed to Deseret News that they are purely a school and not a treatment center. 

“We have made these specifications in order to facilitate learning and education and accommodate student needs.” 

The 430 slots of this location are already filled but a waiting list is being set up for families who didn’t get in. Spectrum Academy is only one of three publicly funded schools that specialize in autism. 

To learn more about Spectrum Academy, visit their website here.

Contributed by Audrey L. Hollingshead

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