Schools play a huge role in helping students with autism - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Schools play a huge role in helping students with autism

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -     April is Autism Awareness Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in 68 children have a disorder on the autism spectrum. That's a 30% increase from just 2 years ago. 
    Jason Wright is an 8th grade student at George Washington Carver Academy in Waterloo.
    "I didn't even think that he'd be able to go to a regular school to be honest with you," said Theresa Wright, Jason's mother.  
    Wright says she knew something was different with her child at just 2 years old.
    "He was saying some phrases and then around that time he completely lost speech," said Wright.
    From there Jason started speech, occupational, and physical therapy where the Wrights lived at the time in Clinton. 
    When the family moved to Waterloo they went to Covenant Medical Center where Jason took part in Early Developmental Intervention (EDI). 
    When school officially started, Waterloo Schools put together a plan for Jason, meeting before the school year started and having individual education plan, or IEP, meetings throughout the year. Plus, Jason was set with a paraeducator who is with him for a majority of his day.
    "Well, sometimes when I get a little off, Ms. Dawn helps me and she sometimes tells me what to do, but that's ok," said Jason.
    Dawn Boone has worked with Jason the last 3 school years and says a consistent relationship is important. 
     "Just to learn about Jason's home life, it makes a difference. It helps to build that relationship to know his needs and his wants as well," said Boone.
    "He's in band and track practice and basketball. I never, ever thought that he would be able to do any of those things and it's because of the people in his life that have pushed him and honestly pushed me too," said Wright.
    Jason Wright will head to Waterloo East High School next year. The school will once again have an individualized plan set up for him.

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