A NEW autism-specific school will open in the Hunter within the next few years to help meet increasing demand.
Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) has purchased the site of the former Bupa aged care facility at Cardiff with plans to transform it into an autism-specific school for between 50 and 60 primary school students.
The existing three-storey building on 6,542 square meters of land is an ideal location, says Aspect's national director of education, Maryanne Gosling.
"Much work will need to be done to convert the building into a purpose-built school. Our class student numbers are purposefully small to cater for the needs of each individual student, and the aesthetics and layout are carefully considered with our students in mind," she said.
Aspect already caters for more than 200 students with autism at a number of campuses - their base school, at Thornton, and at seven satellite schools in mainstream and Catholic schools.
"With the current demand and wait list, our hope is to continue to build additional partnerships with other schools as well, to help address the immediate needs of the community, " Ms Gosling said.
There are more than 5,500 children on the autism spectrum living in the Hunter/Newcastle region, according to the National Disability Insurance Scheme, leading to long wait lists for supports and services.
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