Phoenix, Arizona – Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center Community School is Arizona’s only inclusive preschool and prekindergarten where children with autism learn alongside typically developing peers.
The SARRC Community School is at present running to full capacity. Officials said that if SARRC is to continue its unique model it needs to open more preschools across the state.
Both Jon and Kori Sprintz have two sons who are now enrolled in the SARRC Community School but they have to travel from the Southeast Valley which is difficult.
Kori said that having a SARRC Community School nearby would be optimal.
Lynn Koegel, clinical director at the Koegel Autism Center at the University of California at Santa Barbara. said:
“There’s been a huge increase in the need for educational programs and training because there’s been such a huge increase in the number of kids diagnosed with autism,”
In Arizona one in 64 children in the state has autism, including one in 40 boys.
The SARRC Community School enrolls six children with autism in a class with up to 10 typically developing children. Classes have no more than 16 pupils and have four teachers.
SARRC’s president and CEO, Danny Openden said:
“Most places, whether it’s about efficiency or what people are used to, it’s about grouping kids with autism together, whether that’s in special education, autism schools or after-school programs,” said “That has never been SARRC’s approach.”
SARRC’s officials said they are considering partnerships with existing preschools as the most effective way to expand.
The original article by Eugene Scott on the azcentral.com website can be found here