Classroom Helps Children With Autism

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FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -- April is Autism Awareness Month and a center that has a specialized classroom for children with autism wants parents to know there is help in our community.

The Elizabeth Richardson Center is a developmental preschool for children that have developmental delays or disabilities, as well as children who do not.

The center has a specialized classroom for children who are autistic.

“We've seen kiddos who have come in with minimal to no speech and they leave us with speech and that's from once again the multi-disciplinary team of us,” Heather Tyler said.

Tyler is the autism program coordinator and her daughter was diagnosed with autism when she was three, so helping children like her daughter is her passion.

She said her daughter was in a home-based therapy program, but they wish she would've had a school program like this one.

“We have a social exposure for kids. So we are using some of those same evidence based practices but we are using them in a facility such as this where there are other kids and there are transitions and an ability to learn how to do things in an environment outside of the home,” Tyler said.

Director of children's services Patty Fleshman said it's very important for early intervention like their program.

“The whole goal of everything is to have these kids to be inclusive in classrooms and not excluded, be able to work in a classroom alongside their peers with or without disabilities with success,” Fleshman said.

The Elizabeth Richardson Center has five developmental preschools in Northwest Arkansas. This special program is for kids three and a half to five.

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