New campus for kids on the autism spectrum opens in Coffs Harbour
A new campus for primary school aged children on the autism spectrum has opened in Coffs Harbour, providing tailored learning for the particular needs of these students.
The new campus is linked to Autism Spectrum Australia’s (Aspect) Macarthur School, located in Cobbity, which currently caters for nearly 100 students on the autism spectrum.
Acting Principal of Aspect’s Macarthur School, Elizabeth Watson, said the new campus would provide a permanent home for the nine students who have been receiving specialist care from Aspect since early 2016
“We have been running specialist classes for students on the autism spectrum out of a local church hall for the past year,” Mrs Watson said, “But there has been a steady increase in demand for our services from local parents.
“We currently have nine students based at the new Coffs Harbour campus, taught by two teachers with the support of teacher aides, who tailor learning to the needs of each student.
“The goal is to help our kids develop the skills they need to become as independent as possible and enable them to succeed in the wider community.”
Mrs Watson went on to say that the campus would not have been feasible if it were not for local parent, Ms Laura Daley, whose two sons are on the autism spectrum.
“Laura has been absolutely instrumental in driving the founding of the new Coffs Harbour campus and her vision and determination will benefit families in the region for years to come.”
Laura Daley, whose two children are on the autism spectrum, Henry, 8 years of age and Spencer, 6 years of age, said having access to specialist education services close to home was vital to her family and to many other families in the region.
“In 2011, When Henry was 2 years old and Spencer was a baby, I started campaigning to have an Aspect campus established in Coffs Harbour.
“At the time the closest specialist education was in Alstonville, which would have meant leaving behind the beautiful Coffs Coast and our entire support network.
“Watching my boys flourish under Aspect Coffs Harbour is a complete dream come true,” said Ms Daley
Aspect would like to thank everyone who have contributed to funding the new campus, with special thanks to Sargent Pies Charitable Foundation and Enterprise and Training Company (ETC).
Aspect currently has nine independent schools, with eight in NSW and one in South Australia, and over 110 satellite classes (classes run by Aspect Schools, held in mainstream schools).
For more information about Aspect Schools or Aspect’s work with the community, visit – www.autismspectrum.org.au
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