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Closing the gap for kids with autism

Children’s Village implemented a collaborative training classroom in response to the needs of our community.

During the past 25 years, the ratio of children affected by autism has increased from 1 in every 2,000 children to 1 in 150 children nationally. Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that typically appears during the first three years of life, and is part of a group of disorders known as autism spectrum disorders, or ASD. Autism impairs a person’s ability to communicate and relate to others; as a spectrum disorder, it affects each individual differently and at varying degrees, making early diagnosis so important.

In Yakima County

There are an estimated 513 local children with ASD, although some remain undiagnosed. Children’s Village implemented a collaborative training classroom in response to the needs of our community. The goal of the classroom is to improve school readiness for children with autism or significant social, emotional, behavioral and communication delays.

Autism numbers have grown beyond what Children’s Village can handle alone. That’s why it’s essential to collaborate with other professionals. This classroom allows educators, child care providers and students specializing in early childhood development to experience and learn the best practices to teach children with these challenges. The partnership involves Central Washington University, local school districts and Educational Service District 105, as well as physical and occupational therapists, parents and teachers.

“Families continually help us to understand what is truly needed for children on the autism spectrum. The training classroom will continue to help us reach out further within the community—touching the lives of many more children now and in the future,” says Diane Patterson, director of Children’s Village.
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