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Cornelius News

School for students on autism spectrum opens Aug. 28


Aug. 15. The new head of school at The Halton School says the needs of students on the autism spectrum have gone unmet for quite some time. About 1 in 60 children in the United States has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to national estimates.

“Planning schools for students whose needs have gone unmet may seem new,” says Heidi Bertino-Daum, Halton’s head of school. “The truth is that this has always been an


underserved population needing programming to meet their unique needs.”

The Halton School, which will officially open Aug. 28, was created in response to the growing need for specialized education for students on the autism spectrum.

Located on Beatties Ford Road at Hambright Road, the school for third- through eighth-graders will open with a cohort of 16 students for the 2019-20 academic year. One student’s family relocated to the Lake Norman area specifically so he/she could attend the school. She and her husband are relocating to the Lake Norman area from Fort Mill, S.C. specifically so their son can attend The Halton School.

Tanya Perri says she did extensive research on schools in Northern Florida and around the Carolinas, including four in Charlotte.

“We were impressed with the warmth and the feeling we experienced immediately at The Halton School, right down to the dog,” explains Perri.


Callie is the certified therapy dog at Halton. Research shows that dogs can make a difference in confidence levels, help reduce anxiety and improve communication among autistic children.

The Halton School is the first of three academic programs and buildings envisioned for the education campus on 25 acres adjacent to Hopewell High School.

Future programs and buildings include the first charter high school in North Carolina dedicated to having high school students graduate fully qualified in a trade, opening in 2021. Additionally, there will be a 70,000 square foot K-12 school offering specialized instruction and small classes to children with learning differences.

Aspire Carolinas Foundation supports schools for children with autism/ Asperger’s and learning differences in the greater Charlotte region. Education philanthropist Dale Halton, who became president of the family’s Pepsi-Cola bottling company in Charlotte in 1981, brought together the Aspire team to create a new concept of “school” for unique learners.

Visit AspireCarolinas.org for campus updates as well as info about Aspire Carolinas Foundation.