In this Autism Awareness month issue of the Equip you will be blessed, humbled, and inspired by Reagan, James, Chris, Keith, Tom, and Tony. It is amazing to see how God is using Elim to equip each one of them to achieve their God-given potential. Through their stories you will see God-given potential expressed in smiles, attitudes, service, appreciation, grace, and engagement.
While discussions about the precise cause(s) of autism continue, there is no mistaking its prevalence. At Elim, the number of students with a primary diagnosis of autism has increased substantially. Since the inception of the Pathways (autism) program in our school in 2004, Elim’s census for students with autism has grown to 129 students, just less than half of our student body. In the Adult Services’ ACTS (autism) program, launched in 2008, we now have 15 adults with autism, and eight more on the waiting list.
Not only have these programs for people with autism grown numerically, they have also grown to serve students and adults with more significant needs. All of this has pressed us to ask the question about how we might enhance the training and support our staff members need to carry out their responsibilities consistent with best practices. To better meet the challenges of serving students and adults with very high needs, Elim has launched an exciting new initiative called the Elim Academy.
The Academy is primarily funded by grants and its fundamental purpose is to develop best practices at Elim and then to share those practices with others. This is accomplished by providing individualized professional training for Elim staff, ensuring they are highly qualified and effective in service provision, and then making that training available to others locally, nationally, and internationally. We envision the Elim Academy will make it possible not only for students to thrive at Elim, but for some to eventually transition back into their local public and/or Christian schools for educational services.
In places where intensive services and support are not currently available, the training resources offered through the Elim Academy will eventually be available to help these schools, churches, families, and businesses be more inclusive in their local communities. The Elim Academy will help to make the stories of Reagan, James, Chris, Keith, Tom, and Tony possible on a geographic scale that is virtually limitless. This will happen as the Elim Academy helps to foster inclusive communities in and around Elim, throughout North America, and around the world. Thank you for your role in making all of this possible!
It is the Standard of Elim Christian Services to admit children and adults to agency services regardless of race, color, national and ethnic origin, to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to agency service recipients. Elim Christian Services does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered policies. Read Full Disclosure.