Autism Charter Schools: Personalized Education Leads to Thriving Students

March 20, 2023
Michael Horn

Autism Charter Schools often have a specific curriculum designed to meet the needs of students with ASD. This curriculum may include therapies such as applied behavior analysis (ABA), social skills training, and communication and sensory integration therapies. The schools may also provide occupational and speech therapy and assistive technology to help students learn. The learning model for these specialized charter schools can vary depending on the specific school, but typically involves a personalized, individualized approach to learning tailored to each student’s unique needs and abilities.

But how do autism charter schools promote social skills and communication development for students with ASD?

On today’s episode of The Future of Education, host Michael Horn speaks with Diana Diaz-Harrison, Founder and CEO of Arizona Autism Charter Schools (AZACS), on what innovations and technologies are being used in the schools to enhance learning and engagement for students with ASD?

Diaz-Harrison’s core advice: Look for evidence-based practices, such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and other behavioral and developmental therapies, when selecting an educational program for individuals with ASD.

Collaborate with healthcare providers, families, and educators to ensure a comprehensive and coordinated approach to supporting individuals with ASD.

“There are so many projects-based learning, and we have adopted the program that is reserved for the highly gifted kids, but at our school, we see all the kids as gifted,” said Diaz-Harrison.

Horn and Diaz-Harrison also discussed …

● What are the benefits of attending AZACS for students with ASD?

● What therapies and educational approaches are typically used in these charter schools?

● How do autism charter schools cater to the unique needs and abilities of each student with ASD?

Diaz Harrison comments, “In our K5 program, the kiddos are in a group of about eight to 10 kids, and they have a lead teacher with a support staff, and they go through their regular day-to-day schedule that is much oriented driven”.

Diana Diaz-Harrison, M.Ed., is the Lead Founder and Executive Director at Arizona Autism Charter Schools (AZACS). She attended Claremont Graduate University.

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