List of Schools for Autism and Challenged Kids Near Dallas

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Autism, autism spectral disorder and PDD describe a group of complex disorders of brain development. Difficulties with verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, as well as repetitive behavior, characterize the disorder. Children with PDD have more verbal abilities than children with autism, but are not able to communicate or interact socially. Several schools in the Dallas area specialize in the treatment of children with autism and other developmental disorders, with the goal of helping children live independent, successful lives as members of their communities.

1 Autism Treatment Center of Texas-Dallas Campus

Autism Treatment Center of Texas-Dallas serves children aged 3 to 22. A low student-to-teacher ratio allows teachers to address a student's specific needs. Program goals include the development of self-help, communication and social skills, and independent living. The center uses applied behavior analysis therapy, a system of regular assessments, to determine the program's effectiveness. On-campus facilities such as the Tiger Café and horticulture and art centers allow older students to develop vocational skills as well.

2 Focus on the Future Training Center

Located in Plano, Texas, the Focus on the Future Training Center serves individuals from 3 to 22 who suffer from autism and other developmental disorders. Focus on the Future specializes in early autism intervention, with a curriculum individualized for each student. Speech and occupational therapy figure prominently in all of the center's learning activities. Classes consist of 10 to 12 students and a three-to-one student-to-teacher ratio. The program stresses skills that will help students become more independent. The center offers parent training as well.

3 Chase's Place

Chase's Place serves school-age children with PDD/autism, mental retardation, traumatic brain injury as well as those with neurological disorders. Classes are small, with a two-to-one student-to-teacher ratio. The school's educational program balances traditional academic instruction in skills such as math and reading with daily living skills such as cooking and housekeeping. Art, music and gardening feature in the program when appropriate. An on-campus therapist provides daily speech, occupational and recreational therapy.

4 Newfound School

Newfound School in Carrollton offers programs from pre-K through 12th grade. The school accepts students with autism, Asperger's syndrome, PDD and other conditions that affect learning. Students in the elementary and middle school grade receive individualized reading and math instruction while the school presents social studies, science and creative arts courses at grade level. High school students follow one of three tracks: a college preparatory program, a basic high school diploma or a vocational/life skills program.

Kimberly Heffernan has taught in public schools for 25 years. Her professional works include numerous curriculum documents and project proposals. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from UT Austin and a Master of Education from Sam Houston State University and credentials to be a school counselor.