Aspect extends autism support to Illawarra high school

Cedars Christian College principal Steven Walton, left, and Aspect School for Autism principal Bruce Rowles. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Cedars Christian College principal Steven Walton, left, and Aspect School for Autism principal Bruce Rowles. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Apect South Coast will open its first satellite high school class for students with autism spectrum disorder at Cedars Christian College in 2015.

Principal Bruce Rowles said Aspect South Coast was establishing a small class for year 7 students initially, in response to demand.

"It's something we've wanted for quite a while, to offer our families an opportunity to stay with us if they want to to continue through to year 10 or year 12," he said.

"We're really excited about the prospect."

While some students will stay on in the class until their senior school years, Mr Rowles said their curriculum focused on teaching students skills to transition into a mainstream school.

"We'll do it like we do with all our classes. Our goal is to equip students with all the skills they need to go into a mainstream process.

"Some students may be able to access mainstream classes from the beginning, for others we will have to set up a transition process."

Aspect South Coast already has four satellite classes at primary schools across the Illawarra for students with autism.

Steven Walton, principal of Cedars Christian College, said the college wanted to expand the services they offered to all students in the community.

"We would want students to integrate into normal classes wherever they feel it would be beneficial for the children to do that.

"We want them to be involved in our chapel program, our Bible program, lunchtime, sport, really any part of the school the Aspect staff and their parents feel the children would integrate well with," Mr Walton said.

He said the class would also mean students with autism could attend the same school as their brothers and sisters.

He said by being at the same school they feel part of that community.

Expressions of interest for the class are open.

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