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      School aimed at helping autistic children coming to the Midlands

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Friday afternoon eight year old Ryan Unumb learns how to match building blocks with help from his therapist. Doctors diagnosed Ryan with autism years ago and now he gets individualized education at home. It TMs this method of learning his parents hope other children with autism can also receive.

      "It's going to be best practices across the board. One on one intervention for children with autism, cause we know that if these kids can get intervention alot of them will go on to overcome their autistic characteristics, says Lorri Unumb.

      Ryan TMs parents partnering with Clemson University TMs Youth Learning Institute to help establish The Autism Academy of South Carolina in the Midlands.

      The school will open inside the Capital City Baptist Church starting in July.

      "We may eventually grow twenty-five to thirty kids as we examine the best schools across the country. Most of them are limited to thirty children. But we hope to have a model that would be replicated across the state, says Unumb.

      Ryan TMs mother Lorri lobbies for the rights of autistic children.

      Her efforts helping to establish Ryan TMs Law in South Carolina which requires insurance companies to cover treatments for autism.

      Twenty-five other states passing similar legislation.

      Because she works with the national organization Autism Speaks, Lorri says the new academy will get plenty of help.

      "I've had the opportunity to know the best autism experts in the nation. The behavioral analysts who have been working with children for a number of years and it TMs a tremendous opportunity to be able to pick up the phone and call the people who wrote the text books," says Unumb.

      The academy will accept students between the ages of three and twenty-one.