Richmond school for kids with autism making major expansion

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — One of the largest resources for kids with autism in the Richmond area is becoming even bigger.

It’s a diagnosis that’s become more prevalent across the country. One in 68 kids are now diagnosed with autism.

“We first got his diagnosis and really had no idea what autism would mean in his life,” said parent Brook Trible.

Trible says after her son was diagnosed she wasn’t sure what to do. That’s when she heard about the Faison School. For years the school has been educating kids with autism from school districts across the state but the organization has taken their efforts to the next level. Now called the Faison Center, they’ve changed much more than just their name.

“Now what we can do is take a kid as young as 18 months and have him or her for the rest of their life,” said Brian McCann with the Faison Center.

It’s a model unlike any other in the country. The center currently has two buildings, one for kids and apartments for adults with autism. But Faison plans on expanding and will eventually become a campus. They’re now taking kids as young as 18 months.

“The earlier you can get intervention, the more hope that you have for them,” said Trible.

They’re helping kids through high school.

“You have 500,000 kids graduating high school that are somewhere on the spectrum in the next 10 years,” said McCann.

And if need be through adulthood giving them much needed job training.

“Eighty-90 percent of individuals with autism are underemployed or unemployed,” said McCann.“So I think there’s a lot of opportunity for employers in this region and beyond to employ individuals with autism.”

Trible says it’s paying off.

“He’s improved his language, his behavior, he’s really a new little guy. They remind me of how far he’s come and i couldn’t ask for better people to be working with him,” said Trible.

If you’d like more information about the Faison Center visit http://faisoncenter.org/

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

Never miss another Facebook post from 8News

Find 8News on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram; send your news tips to iReport8@wric.com.