Autism Politico is pleased to hear that a private autism school has lost accreditation and another one has closed within the past two years.
The story is a pretty extensive one, but we will focus on three small paragraphs of a very long article:
John Locke Academy, a mainstream high school, and the special needs School of Autistic Healing, opened as companion schools two years ago. They are largely run by the family of Bob Jones, the real estate developer blamed by many teachers and parents for the August 2008 closure of Utah Southvalley Community School (USC), a Murray private school formerly known as Woodland Hills.
Jones had acquired the financially strapped Woodland Hills, for children with Asperger’s syndrome and other cognitive and behavioral impairments, a year earlier and hoped to revive it, partly through introducing a comprehensive sports program. But the school suffered rapid teacher turnover — at least 50 teachers quit or were fired in one year — and some parents complained about the new focus on athletics.
The “School of Autistic Healing” is a silly name for a school seeing as how no government agency will state that there is a cure for autism. “Healing” implies that there is a way to a cure.
With regard to athletics, as we know, some autistics may suffer problems with coordination. Having them play sports if they don’t want to might cause them to feel even more inept that they already do. That a school would not understand this goes to show how little they know about autism.
At the time, Jones argued he had kept the school from closing and lost his own money in the process. In March 2009, he filed for bankruptcy, leaving behind $6.5 million in debts both from his real estate ventures and USC. The Utah Office of Debt Collection reports there are still 30 outstanding cases for unpaid wages to school employees.
That he invested his own money is nice, but considering the debts the ultimate fate of this man’s adventures, it’s best that the school closed before the attendees came to suffer from lack of proper funding. This is not to imply that the students would have suffered, but it appears from this story that the person behind the two schools doesn’t have much knowledge about autism or how to deal with autistics.
Replies to this editorial are welcome.