What We Do
Since inception in 2016, Autism Charlotte (AC) has operated programs focused on helping children and youth with autism achieve their full potential with services aimed at educational, social, and personal skill development. Historically, our programs have been delivered in various public schools and YMCA facilities. However, in March 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, those sites were forced to close, leaving Autism Charlotte with no place to deliver services. With no idea how long schools would remain closed, overwhelmed by the expectations and realities of remote learning, uncertainty, and fear of the negative impact their children would experience as a result of school closures, the families we serve cried out for help. AC quickly responded. We were able to secure an exclusive use agreement for temporary space at a local church, where we provided full-day, in-person, educational, social, and personal skill development services to students on the spectrum throughout the entirety of the 18-month shut down. While forced to pivot and do business differently than we ever had, we found that delivering services in our own space offered a number of unforeseen benefits including continuity for our students; removal of limitations that are inevitable when operating in multi-usage space; increased impact and stronger outcomes for students; better support for program staff. AC therefore made the strategic decision to move away from what was in many ways a fragmented service delivery model offered in multiple locations, spaces that were not always optimal for those we serve, to creating a place and space uniquely designed and intentionally operated solely with needs of students with autism in mind, a place they can call home. In the Fall of 2022, AC will open the Charlotte's area's first Academy for Students with Autism, where we will expand our continuum of services delivery to include: · Stage One Academy: A pre-school program that prepares students with autism to successfully enter the traditional school environment. · Extended Learning: An afterschool/summer program that helps improve academic, social, and developmental outcomes for school-age children living with autism. · PATHS: An instructional and experiential program that prepares and supports youth with autism as they navigate the challenges of transitioning towards adulthood. · iCan Bike: Builds confidence, improves independence, and promotes health by teaching children with a range of disabilities how to ride a bike. · Parent Support: Provides information, education, referrals, and social connectivity for parents navigating the world of parenting a child with autism. · University & Community Outreach: Promotes awareness, acceptance, and inclusion by providing opportunities for others to get involved in the autism community through internships and volunteerism. Please visit our website at www.autismcharlotte.org to learn how you can become a part of the A Place to Call Home Campaign.
- National statistics show that 1 in 44 U.S. children are impacted by autism, with nearly 8K calling Charlotte home.
- Autism Charlotte serves over 500 students annually, and is only program of its kind in the Charlotte area.
- The services Autism Charlotte provides are concrete, hands on, and supports the entire family structure.
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