Center opens for individuals with Asperger Syndrome

A new center at 461 Capshaw Road in Madison will benefit individuals with Asperger Syndrome (AS).

The AS Support, Educate, Advocate (SEA) Beyond Tomorrow center provides a day program for students in grades 5-10 and is a tax-exempt 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

Director Angela Collier said the AS SEA Beyond Tomorrow center offers “an alternative to situations where students often experience difficulties in large middle and high school settings. People with AS are very capable; however, they need smaller group experience and materials presented in different formats.”

Collier defines AS as one of a group of neurological disorders known as autism spectrum disorders. “AS is considered to be on the mild end of the spectrum.” People with AS are classified as high functioning, which means these individuals do not have delayed language acquisition and cognitive development.

Collier holds a master’s degree in education and has more than 35 years of experience in special education.

The new center will serve to educate, remediate and support all ages. “However, we still need more,” Collier said. “Larger spaces (can) provide superior programs and a place for parents to gather as students meet. Funds are needed to expand our services for adults.”

Collier has visited the Dan Marino Foundation in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. “Their program is far superior to anything Alabama has. They have an alternative campus with three levels to meet learning needs for 18- to 26-year-olds. ”

After school is completed, the focus dwindles for AS students. “We need to, as a community, be ready for (many) individuals with AS who will graduate, look for jobs and have to settle for whatever jobs are available that are inferior to their skill abilities,” Collier said. “We need to plan better so talents such as theirs will not be lost.”

Young adults with AS will find that they don’t have alternatives like their peers. “Many live at home making them feel inferior to others,” she said. “They need continued guidance.”

For more information, send email to as.seabeyondtomorrow@gmail.com or visit aspergersyndromeseabeyondtomorrow.com.

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