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New School for Autism Breaks Ground

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A new school in Palm Beach County specifically for children on the autism spectrum broke ground Monday morning. The Els Center of Excellence will house educational, medical and research services all under one roof. The 27-acre school will be built north of Indiantown Road and east of Interstate 95 in the Limestone Creek area of Jupiter, FL.

“The first of its kind Center will focus on a digital e-learning platform that gives children on the spectrum around the world access to 'best practices' in education and therapy,” reads the description of the project on the foundation’s website. “It will also help connect the international autism community with 'best practices' and the very latest information and research. The 26 acre facility will also have an on-site education for 300 students ages 3-21, medical and professional services, research, transition to adulthood, adult living and on-site job training.”

The school is expected to enroll approximately 300 students from first grade through high school. The $35 million project will be separated into two public charter schools, equipped with an athletic field, swimming pool and job training program.

Founded in 2009 by 19-time PGA Tour winner Ernie Els and his wife Liezl, the Els for Autism Foundation says that “funds are in place for the construction of the Lower School and Center of Excellence Auditorium building and the goal is to have these in operation by mid 2015.”

Lee A. Wilkinson, PhD, CCBT, NCSP is author of the award-winning book, A Best Practice Guide to Assessment and Intervention for Autism and Asperger Syndrome in Schools, published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. He is also editor of a new Volume in the APA School Psychology Book Series, Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children and Adolescents: Evidence-Based Assessment and Intervention in Schools.

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