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A unicorn.
A needle in a haystack.
The Holy Grail.
The fountain of youth…

Karen with boys.jpg

In 2013, when I was in search of the right school for my twin boys with autism, it felt like I was in search of any one of those. How could I be asking for too much? I knew what they needed, and I knew what I wanted for their continued growth. Not solely academic growth, but social growth as well. When finding that mix of intensive programming with family support and opportunities for inclusion just wasn’t available, I did what any good artist does. I began to build.

That herculean effort of 2013 created A Step Up Academy, opening with just two students and licensed through only first grade. We began to forge the critical partnerships with our community to bring our students the opportunities for inclusion that are so important in their development. At the same time, we developed a strong academic program that integrated speech and occupational therapy as integral parts of a student’s day.  We built an infrastructure that provided families open access to the classroom and regular update meetings where any home-based therapists were encouraged to attend.

We haven’t stopped. ASUA is now licensed for Pre-K through 12th grade, with multiple partners that provide not only inclusion for our students, but also creates amazing growth opportunities for all students participating.  Our sights are on the big picture, to foster a community that embraces neuro-diversity while we prepare our students to be active members of society. 

Karen E. Misher

Board Chair

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