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Mommy Monday: Education for children with autism

Students at New Vistas have a 4:1 student/teacher ratio (PHOTO: NEW VISTAS).

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) - April is Autism Awareness Month – ABC 13 is highlighting a school helping children with autism spectrum disorder find success.

New Vistas in Lynchburg is a privately funded school for grades 3-12.

The average ratio of student to teacher is 4 to 1. Director Lisa DeJarnette said that environment helps children with autism spectrum disorder find real success.

“When the student is successful at school it takes some of the stress off the family,” Jarnette said. “There's not the constant issues over homework. Not the constant issues of even getting up and coming to school."

Seanda Robinson can attest to that.

Robinson said her son, Marquel, struggled in public school and it was stressful for the whole family.

“It helped to not be as stressed out about having to come up to the school a lot-- to come and get him with his outbursts,” Robinson said.

Marquel is in his second year at New Vistas and Robinson noticed a big difference.

"Every day I say, ‘How's school?’ And he says, ‘Great, we did this and this and this and this.’ It's nice to hear from him that he doesn't have any of these issues," Robinson explained.

DeJarnette said many of their students with autism spectrum disorder benefit from a smaller class size for social purposes too.

“We do see a high success rate for students when they leave us and go back into a different environment,” DeJarnette said. “Many of our students do well in college -- particularly if they go to community college first.”

New Vistas School is licensed by the Virginia Department of Education to serve students identified with:

• Specific Learning Disabilities (including Dyslexia)

• Other Health Impairment (including AD/HD)

• Autism Spectrum Disorder (high-functioning only)

• Emotional an d Behavioral Disorders (primarily anxiety)

• Traumatic Brain Injury

• Intellectual Disabilities

• Speech Language Impairment (as secondary disability only)

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