Tri-Cities school opening this fall to focus on children with autism

A group of local mothers who have children diagnosed with autism felt like their kids were getting lost in the shuffle.

When they couldn’t find a place that fit their children’s needs, they took matters into their own hands and started a school from the ground up.


According to the CDC, in 2010 1 in 68 children were identified as being on the autism spectrum.

On Wednesday we got a first look as these moms are looking forward to the start of a new chapter for their children.

Amy Lowe is one of the parents who started what is known as Jeremiah School, a school for autistic children that will be located Johnson City.

Lowe said the decision came after a lot of prayer and thought.

“I don’t want him to be alone,” said Lowe.

Since Amy Lowe’s son Lucas was diagnosed with autism at age 7, she says its been one big learning curve.

“I look into my sons eyes and I see him in his world, and he wants me to come into his world, and I sometimes don’t know how to do that,” said Lowe.

Part of what Lowe says she has learned, is her son doesn’t fit in to a traditional school environment.


“They struggle a lot with socializing,” said Lowe.

It is something even 11-year-old Lucas seems to understand.

“Let back in socializing, but in here, there is a lot in here that I have learned,” said Lucas Lowe.

Lucas is just part of what is inspiring, and motivating teachers like Jennifer Ledbetter to plan a curriculum tailor made for children with autism.

“I have seen the need, the parents feel it, the students feel it and the teachers in the public schools feel it too,” said Ledbetter.

Ledbetter will be one of two teachers for Jeremiah School’s inaugural year, a school that is only expected to have five to six students enrolled for the first year.

While they are starting with a small class size, teachers are coming up with big ideas, like starting out the day with yoga.

“Its prepping the body, and the brain to learn,” said Ledbetter.

As Lowe talked with Lucas about his day, she was reminded of some of her son’s struggles.

“I want him to have friends, and have a relationship, and have a very close friend,” said Lowe.

She hopes a place like Jeremiah School is the answer for not only Lucas, but many others across the region who are on the autism spectrum.

Lowe says they are already accepting applications for the 2016-2017 school year.

Copyright 2015 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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