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Richmond, VA: New autism school for 112 opens

Sept 2, 2021, ABC8, Richmond, VA: New Richmond center to aid families and public schools in educating autistic students

A new center in Richmond hopes to help families and public schools struggling to educate students with autism. After nearly 10 years of planning and two years of construction, St. Joseph’s Villa unveiled its new Sarah Dooley Center for Autism. The center can accommodate up to 112 students from Central Virginia…. “Oh, it’s phenomenal. It’s so bright and airy. These spaces just seem so interchangeable and so fluid, just limitless,” said Megan Scoglio. Her 16-year-old daughter, Porter, got a sneak peek at the center before it opens fully for students next week…. The unveiling of the autism center is the culmination of a dream for Senior Director Adam Dreyfus. He cheered as students and staff held a ribbon cutting ceremony before touring the building. He said, “We can teach these kids how to be successful in public schools. They can be full members of society.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 54 children now have autism. Over the years, 8News has reported on parent complaints and lawsuits alleging area schools are struggling to educate autistic students. Last year, both a state report and the U.S. Department of Education found serious failures in how Virginia schools respond to special needs…. Instead there are open, padded safe spaces in the hallway for a student who may be physically aggressive. McCullough said, “They are able to go to those padded areas just to calm down.”…


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