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LEARNING, GROWING, MAKING FRIENDS – Finding The Right School for Students with Autism

By Anthony KaDarrell Thigpen



AUTISM ACADEMY – As the first autism-only school in the state of Arizona, Autism Academy for Education and Development (AAED) continues to set a superior standard as a special needs school.

Statewide expansions of new campuses provide proof that parents are pleased with the program.

AAED is a pillar in the autism community. The founding philosophy of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges accredited school is based on 4 building blocks:

“Kids first in every decision –  Students are friends with each other and welcome new students with open arms – The school is quiet and students are working hard to do their best – Parents see amazing improvement in their child.”

The school maintains a traditional curriculum that supports academic achievement for state standards.

In addition, AAED offers a unique explorer curriculum comprised of subject based studies using a variety of special interest. These classes exceed the regularly scheduled specialty programs like music, art, physical education, and work-based learning. During explorer classes, students sample various career paths using creative courses like robotics, dance, crafting, childcare, science, multimedia, Zumba, Lego lab, and more.

Explorer Fridays allow students to gain hands-on exposure, evaluate individual interests, and experience healthy social interaction with their peers. AAED fosters friendships. With a host of family events, the school offers sensory sensitive activities on and off campus throughout the year. The compassionate staff serves as a second family during pool parties, zoo walks, pizza outings and so much more.

Each campus offers a warm professional environment that transforms the school experience into a home away from home. It’s no mystery why parents view AAED as the perfect school to accommodate their children. Every campus provides multi-sensory spaces aiding with sound, lighting, smell, touch and temperature.

To best accommodate children with autism, AAED offers behavior support, onsite speech and occupational therapists and dog therapy. Small classroom ratios are supported by a host of technological resources from desktop and laptop computers, iPads, projectors and flat screen televisions. Students at AAED experience a savvy and safe learning environment that most students and parents consider a second home.

When searching for a school to serve the academic, social and special needs of children with autism, AAED is second to none.