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Sense-Ability School for Autism set to open in September - KRTV News in Great Falls, Montana

Sense-Ability School for Autism set to open in September

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The Sense-Ability School for Autism is set to open in September at 1220 17th Street South. The Sense-Ability School for Autism is set to open in September at 1220 17th Street South.
GREAT FALLS -

The Sense-Ability School for Autism is set to open in September.

They just moved into their building on 1220 17th Street South.

The building they’re moving into formally housed several churches, and the new school will use many of the materials left inside to hold a rummage sale to help families with the cost of tuition.

The Sense-Ability School for Autism will be the first of its kind in Montana.

Each classroom will have one head-teacher and four students. Each student will work one-on-one with a behavioral assistant throughout the day. 

Sense-Ability School Vice President, Rita Rowe explained:  “Public education system has provided a great service for most children with autism. However, they're are some that their needs just aren’t being met, and our goal is to fill in that gap and get those kids ready and back into public school.”

The school will follow Montana State Core Curriculum with the mornings being devoted to academics and the afternoons focused on life skills training. 

The afternoons will also feature art, drama, and equine therapy.

 “Academically, they’re very intelligent, and so they don’t necessarily need a lot of academic help. But, the areas of social, emotional, and sensory areas they are affected by that. So, they really need a different type of environment,” explained Sense-Ability School President, Sharon Altschwager

The Sense-Ability School for Autism is able to cover the costs of opening their facility in September. However, the major reason they’re doing a variety of fundraisers this summer is to cover the costs for families who may not be able to afford private school tuition.”   

 Sense-Ability School Secretary Treasurer, Kaitlin Torres explained: “I think Great Falls can be a place that we can support kids with these kinda needs and the families.” 

The organization has partnered with a number of organization to raise funds. Those organizations include Amazon Smile, Fuddruckers, and Schwann’s.

 The school is also conducting a capital campaign, and they are applying for federal and private grants. 

“We see these kids as perfect! We just, you know, it’s not something we want to fix and take away. We just want to help them develop it,” explained Watson

The idea is to have the students on the Autistic spectrum attend the school for one to threeyears where they will continue academics but receive treatment to improve their social thinking, self and emotional regulation, and sensory processing skills.

The rummage sale will be held at the school at 1220 17th Street South from 8am to 2pm on Saturday and Sunday.

It will help families cover the $21,000 per year tuition.

To learn more about the school, visit their Facebook page.

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