Jeremiah School in Johnson City changing lives for kids with autism
Johnson City, TN —
A special school in Johnson City fills a need in our community, serving kids with autism.
Jeremiah School opened in august on Susannah Street in the North Roan Street area.
During this Autism Awareness month, News 5's Jessica Griffith pays a visit to the school and sees why the kids are thriving.
16-year-old Emma coon is a student at Jeremiah School.
She loves drawing and singing. This school allows her to follow her passion.
"It's a school where everybody understands me," she said.
It's unique because it individualizes the curriculum, has various seating which helps kid's with sensory issues and allows the students to take breaks whenever they need to.
Beyond the basic courses like science and math, the school also teaches life and social skills, like going to a restaurant or riding public transportation.
"Kids on the spectrum may unfortunately not ever be able to drive but we want them to become as independent as possible so we're trying to set up those opportunity to increase that independence as best we can," Transition Support Coordinator Martha Worley said.
Tommy Foskey's 13-year-old son is a student here. In just the few months he's been here, Foskey said he's noticed a huge change in his son.
"He doesn't seem to stay to himself as much as he used to, he's kind of branching out and that's one of the traits with him he tends to stay to himself and not really want to engage with peers," Foskey said.
Jo Cullen is the head of school. She said many students with autism in regular surroundings shut down, some of them bullied at their old schools. But after spending time here, they blossom.
"It's absolutely amazing in fact it sends tingles down my spine even thinking about it," Cullen said.
The school hopes to grow and create scholarships, but as a non-profit, they need help.
"There are kids out there who really really want to come but they can't afford the tuition," Cullen said.
If you'd like to donate, or learn more, their website is http://www.jeremiahschool.com/