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Parent Laura Daley, ETC Board Director Ian Preston, Aspect Principal Pam Lea, Aspect Educator Meghan Williams standing at the Howard Street school development site.

The wait is finally over for families who need specialised assistance for their primary school aged children with autism.

Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) Principal Pam Lea said the Aspect team hoped to address an unmet need for autism-specific schooling in the NSW’s Mid North Coast.

“Aspect is thrilled to be establishing a school site in Coffs Harbour’s Howard Street,” Mrs Lea said.

“We’ve been working really closely with Coffs Harbour City Council and local architects to develop a site that is going to be child friendly and meet our requirements.”

According to Census data, one in 100 Australians are diagnosed with autism and there are 61 primary school-aged children living with this disability in the Coffs Harbour LGA alone.

“Our services provide people on the autism spectrum with the opportunity to realise their unique potential, as well as providing much needed support to their families, carers, friends and colleagues,” Mrs Lea said.

“Our vision is to provide the best possible opportunities for people on the spectrum.”

Local parent Laura Daley said it was a dream come true for her family.

“I have two young boys who are both on the Autism Spectrum and I am so excited that Aspect is coming,” Ms Daley said.

“The original plan was for Aspect to have just a satellite class here but now we’re going to have a full blown school – it’s incredible.”

According to Ms Daley there are many local families eager to access the new school’s services.

“There already is a large waiting list. Even parents from Grafton and Nambucca have said they are happy to travel here to use the facility,” Ms Daley said.

Ms Daley said the new school would make it easier on children to live a normal life outside of school.

“You want your child to be able to just relax and have some regular family time outside of school. I just want my boys to have fulfilling lives and reach their full potential,” Ms Daley said.

The Howard Street premises is not yet ready for operation therefore Aspect will be using a local Church building to get them through the first two terms of 2016

It is estimated that the official school will be opened from the third school term.

Thanks to a $15,000 grant from the ETC Community Support Fund, Aspect can fit-out the new school with student seating and desks, electronic whiteboards and desktop computers.

To find out more information or ask for an application pack for the new school, contact Aspect on 02 46513901 or macarthur@autismspectrum.org.au

To find out more about ETC services contact ETC today on 1800 007 400.



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