Autism Spectrum Australia

Aspect Treetop School to open in 2016

  • Posted: Tue, 05/05/2015 - 9:30am

Invitation to register your interest! 

Adelaide parents and carers are welcome to call us on 1800 ASPECT (1800 277 328) to register interest in applying for a place for their child/ren at the new school.


Next year Aspect will establish the first ever Aspect school outside NSW and the only autism-specific school in South Australia (SA). Aspect is Australia’s leading national autism provider with the largest single autism-specific school system in the world.

This important step to increase the educational options for students on the autism spectrum in SA is the result of collaboration between Aspect and the Treetop Autism Specific School Board. The Treetop Board is a group of parents and citizens in SA led by John Dagas and who came together in order that such a school could be established.

The Aspect Treetop School is due to commence at the beginning of Term 3 in 2016. Aspect will have the full responsibility for the new independent school and will be assisted by an advisory board of parents and members of the community.

Aspect and the Treetop Board, as not-for-profit entities, are very appreciative of the support for this project by the South Australian Government, having secured the former Ashford Special School site on Anzac Highway, Ashford as the location for the new school.

Education and Child Development Minister, the Hon Susan Close MP is pleased that the school will add jobs while also extending another choice to parents of children with autism. The State Government is assisting the school by setting up a peppercorn lease. Dr Close says, “We have been pleased to work with Aspect on how to help parents wanting to give their children the best start in life. Not only will this give the former Ashford Special School a new lease on life, but it will generate 21 new jobs in its first year.”

“Looking ahead, we understand that the new school will further develop educational supports to the wider sector in SA working with a range of existing community organisations,” continues Dr Close.

“This announcement would not have been possible without the outstanding support for this project already shown by the South Australian Government,” says John Dagas, Chair of the Treetop Board, “and all the hard work by my colleagues on the Board over the past three years to make this dream become reality.”

Aspect will bring to the new school 50 years of experience in providing specialist education to students on the spectrum through its unique approach known as the Aspect Comprehensive Approach for Education. Aspect has more than 1000 students across New South Wales in eight schools with 115 satellite classes based in mainstream settings. Aspect’s focus is on successfully transitioning students on the spectrum into mainstream schools.

“Too often students with autism are placed in mainstream schools without the appropriate supports, and when they are not ready to meet the many challenges they face,” says Adrian Ford, Aspect’s CEO.

“Aspect wants to prepare students with autism for mainstream by giving them the opportunity to better understand their learning needs in an autism-specific school environment. We also work with families to develop the appropriate back up and support so their son or daughter can succeed at school once they are ready to transition across,” continues Ford.

Aspect follows their more than 150 students who transition to mainstream every year and their research show that, 12 months on, over 90% of these students successfully remain in the class to which they transitioned – a remarkable result in educational outcomes.

Ford concludes, “We are delighted to be establishing this new school in Adelaide and we are very appreciative of the support of the Treetop Board and the South Australian Government.”

The initial intake will be for 45 students but Aspect hopes to grow the school to more than 80 students covering both primary and secondary education in the next few years.

Over the next 12 months, Aspect and the Treetop Board will be working with the South Australian community to raise the funds to refurbish and modernise the buildings at Ashford for the new Aspect Treetop School.

Aspect Treetop School to open in 2016