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Provo, UT: New school for "neurodiverse teens with autism"

Sept 15, 2023, Daily Herald: School for neurodiverse teens opens new educational facility in Provo
As the ribbon was cut, the crowd applauded and cheered and the door was opened to welcome the public inside to tour the new schoolhouse for Spark Academy on Thursday. The Provo school will be full of students starting Monday.

What started with three students on a ranch in Heber City has grown over the past nearly 40 years into Heritage Community, a 19-acre campus with two year-round academies for teenage students in grades 7-12. Spark Academy is for neurodiverse teens with autism spectrum disorder and Elevate Academy is for teens recovering from trauma-based diagnoses such as mood attachment disorders, drug and alcohol addictions, and mental health conditions.

Within Spark Academy, there are 60 students who live on campus and attend the year-round school with a learning program designed specifically for their needs.

Spark Academy reinvented its teaching system to a project-based learning model during the COVID-19 pandemic to give students a “hands-on, real world application with the academic knowledge and skill set, and the students feel like they’re having fun,” according to Alaina Chatterley, admissions and outreach director….

George Ballew, clinical director for Spark Academy, said the majority of students are from other states, and at the end of each semester parents come to the campus to see the students present the projects they have worked on. He said tears stream down the parents’ faces as they watch and hear of their children’s accomplishments, many of whom thought they would never see their child succeed in school.

“It’s very healing for them realizing ‘My neurodiverse child can have a very happy, successful life.’ That’s my favorite part of the work here,” Ballew said….


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