unite in effort to start school for children with autism
April 22, 2003
TENAFLY - A borough family has united with other
to start a school for children with autism.
"It's one of the most exciting things that has really ever happened," said Jon Singer,
whose 6-year-old daughter, Rebecca, has autistic tendencies. "Knowing that the
school will have a credible impact on Rebecca's future and so many children is a
his wife, Michey, of
school that would benefit their daughter. After talking to officials from the Alpine
Group in Paramus, the Singers found there were five
families who had a similar mission for their own children.
"We were on the same track," Singer said. "We wanted to start a school and they
wanted to start one, too, so it was a clincher to work together."
for Effective Educational Development or
in the fall. Denise Gonzalez, a school spokeswoman, said a location in
County has yet to be determined.
She said that at first, the school will serve about seven children, ages 3 to 7.
Gonzalez, a school founder, has 5-year-old twins with autism who will attend the school.
"We felt that joining together we would be stronger in advocating for our school," Gonzalez said.
Singer and his daughter, set out on a 3,500-mile trip from
"The Drive for Rebecca" was designed to increase autism awareness and to promote and raise
funds for advanced medical and educational research.
The Singers raised more than $80,000 through pledges and other donations. Singer said they
have distributed more than $20,000 to two autism medical research organizations, and to three
educational institutes in
announcements. He said about $60,000 was raised for the new school.
Awareness Month, which is this month, the
Borders Books and Music on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
For every customer who makes a purchase and presents a special coupon on those days, the
store will donate 15 percent of the proceeds to the school and other autism organizations. The
coupons can be printed from the Singers' Web site.
Autism is a lifelong disability that affects communication, social, and life-skills development. It
is sometimes characterized by repetitive movements and children who seem emotionally distant
from their families. At least one in every 500 Americans is affected by some form of autism,
according to the National Institutes of Health. The cause of autism is not known and there is no cure.
The new school will teach students through the method of "applied behavioral analysis." Students
will all have a one-on-one assistant to focus on life skills, who will help them interact with their family
and community. For more information about the school or the fund-raising efforts, visit the school's
Web site at www.reedacademy.org.
Monsy Alvarado's e-mail address is email@example.com
For updates 1) about upcoming events to help find the cause and a cure 2) with more helpful information
and 3) and to be notified of the publication of The Special Needs Caregiver Survival Guide,
send email to:
The Drive for Rebecca, Inc.