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Autism/Special Needs Programs in the Phoenix area?


KikaBkmn March 28, 2012

We're relocating to the Phoenix area from Houston, TX soon and hoping to find a great Autism/Special Needs program within a public school for my 8 yr old son. Any suggestions would be so greatly appreciated!

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Kimnoberly April 10, 2012

I see that you haven't gotten a reply yet and I think I may know why. I don't have any autistic children, but my 4 closest friends have children with special needs (dyslexia, autism, ADHD), and have had tremendous problems getting help with these needs. The school systems here are very corrupt, broke, and often fail to comply with federal and state requirements, yet I have not seen repercussions. With my friends I have researched countless school districts and laws and programs. I have yet to see any that I can put my fingers on that I can direct you to with confidence.

I am only telling you this because I want you to do your research. It is a long hard road and you should be prepared. Phoenix is not a place I would want to raise an autistic child. However, you will be in good company.


Lespringer April 10, 2012

You might want to try Villa Montessori. Great school with a great personalized program.


DeirdreH April 13, 2012

I have two special needs teenagers and I can tell you it just depends on how much support they need as to where they should go. If your son can function in a 'regular classroom', I would suggest a charter school. My now 14 year old son has severe social issues and putting him in a contained class would not have taught him a thing about learning to socialize with others. A good nurturing school if you require this type of help would be Milestones Charter School in Tatum and Union Hills. I know there are others, but my best experience has been with them. If your son needs to be in a contained classroom environment; then each district has their own schools that they have these programs. I would be happy to talk to you if you would like. You can email me at:


ConnieC April 23, 2012

I would recommend you look at the Paradise Valley School District and a program called ACCEL. After much frustration with local school district, DVUSD, we have moved my grandson to K12. We like their program. Granted there are still issues but at least he is being given an opportunity. Best of Luck to you.


jrmrags April 24, 2012

I have two sons with autism and I am very pleased with the autism classes at Scottsdale Unified School District. Specifically at Cherokee Elementary and Pima Elementary. The classes even have a separate sensory room adjoining the classrooms. I moved to this district for these programs and trained teachers and therapists.


laurelryan May 4, 2012


I highly recommend the Madison School District. My 12 year old son has autism and he has received services now for 10 years through the Department of Developmental Disabilities. I am from Houston and had an opportunity to move back there 6 years ago and did not because i did not want to give up the services my son receives here. If you end up in the Peoria school district, stay away from Paseo Verde school. I wish you all the best.


ARMorgan May 21, 2012

Im not sure if you are still looking for programs but you might want to check out Wellspring Education Center.

It is located in Gilbert, AZ.


my2babies9806 June 13, 2012

I have a 14 year old with autism, and he has had so many issues with the schools that I finally pulled him and decided to home school him. We use Arizona Virtual Academy. The work is individualized, he can do it on his time table, he will be able to get a regular degree, they do field trips 4 times a year, and since its a public charter school that happens to be offered online, it's completely free. And if you have low enough income, they will even give ou a free desktop computer, printer with scanner, and a mic. My son loves it so much that I just enrolled my 5 year old to start kindergarten with them. We're waiting for her computer to be delivered.


Sydneybird11 August 7, 2012

Hi - I am not sure if any of you have found any help for your children or not. We had a long.... time to research before we came to Arizona as to which school to put our two special needs daughters in. My dh interviewed for nine months before we actually knew he was offered the position. We chose to live in the Paradise Valley School District in Scottsdale. I called and spoke to various heads of the special ed departments in various school districts and called the actual schools they recommended. I spoke to the psychologists in addition to the teachers at each school. We were looking for schools that had an emphasis on the Arts too. But we had to think of a priority of special ed for our daughters. We chose Desert Shadows Middle School due the help the children receive and they do have such small class sizes. Our daughters English class and their reading/writing class has 8-10 children and other classes science/social studies have 22-26 (max) children. The teachers are absolutely amazing and we sure can tell because we were in some pretty bad schools in the Beaverton School District in Portland, Oregon. The Principal is amazing and the teachers have been there for 10-15/20 years. The children have Resource time and they do not believe it taking away the children's extra-curricular activities to be in the resource room. All of the Academies are amazing and they really include special needs children in the school - they are not left out and they are made to feel loved and welcomed by all. You will see them in choir - children with CP up on the stage with all the other children and these are children with major CP and they are singing their hearts out with all the other children and they go to the major singing events around the country (if you wish). If you want extra curricular activities for your child, they have them. It is just amazing to see our children accepted and loved - nothing like what we experienced in Portland, Oregon. Please if you have any questions - let me know.


AZMommyX5 August 25, 2012

Hi, I just saw this & wanted to know if you found a good school yet? We are in Desert Ridge and in the Paradise Valley Unified School District. After trying mainstreaming him for Kindergarten and half of 1st Grade, we switched him to a contained classroom in Scottsdale within our district, Desert Springs Prep. And it has been wonderful, so far. Great teacher and OT, ST, School Psych, Paras, everyone! Good Luck!!!

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