AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin ISD is considering an outside proposal that would create a partnership school within the district just for adults with autism.
Easterseals Central Texas has asked the district to join in a partnership to “provide transition services to students who have completed required courses for high school graduation and show a continued need for vocational and independent living skills.”
Easterseals, and its Greenleaf Neurodiversity Community Center, hope the school would increase the likelihood of autistic students being able to live as independent adults.
“What we’ve found with young adults who have autism is they have the intellectual capacity, and in many instances incredible skills, but they need a little bit more time to bake,” said Randi Shade, the co-chair of the Greenleaf Neurodiversity Community Center.
Specifically, it wants to focus on students ages 18-21 with a particular interest in fine arts and technology, and offer them additional job training.
The non-profit believes those focuses are particularly well suited to help students get jobs in Austin.
“There’s a lot of interest in these fields, there’s a lot of opportunities in these fields, and currently AISD does not have transition programming for this group of students in those fields,” Shade said.
The partnership is being touted as a way for AISD to draw students who are homeschooled, enrolled in private schools, or who are interested in transferring in from another district.
Easterseals currently serves 16,000 people with disabilities each year and offers job training and social activities at its community center.
Later this week, a draft agreement and performance agreement that lists performance measures will be sent to the AISD School Board trustees to review.
They expect to vote on it on March 30.
“This is so specifically focused to a subset of AISD students that need help, and Easterseals is in a great position to be able to offer that help,” Shade said.