Charis Academy provides life changing experience for students with Autism

Cool School

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WBCD) — Charis Academy, Greek for love, grace, and kindness was founded last year in Summerville. The school focuses on students with learning challenges. We’re in Dorchester county for our first Cool School of the year.

For students with learning challenges, social struggles can be life-altering, but Charis helps students find their voice. The school focuses on students with high functioning Autism, ADHD, and other learning challenges.

“We marry directions with picture symbols,” says founder and director Jodee Robinson. “Our ratio is smaller. Our ratio in each classroom is one to six and we use manipulatives wherever possible, specifically with math. We bring in manipulatives that we can use to teach them numbers so they can see what a one to one relation is, and with science and social studies, we bring things to their hands, so anything they can see or touch they can feel. They can act out in a play, or they can create scripts for, it creates permanency and mastery in their learning,” says Robinson.

The school works with behavioral specialists who comes in three days a week to provide one on one therapy. Erich Iberle works for with Behavioral Innovations. He says, “Sometimes these kids fall through the gap. They don’t have the right social cues and functional skills to go through. Charis allows us to work with them in the school so we can provide that for them.”

Parents and students say the Charis experience is life-changing. Sixth-grade student Daniel Robinson says, “I really like it, and the environment is very comfortable. I used to have Tourettes Syndrome. It was related to anxiety. Ever since I came, my anxiety levels have gone down, and I’ve been better. It helps me be more me and not just robotic, just working all day. Helps me express my feelings, helps me get along with life better I guess. Things are easier to understand and learn.”

Right now classes go up to sixth grade, but leaders hope to offer high school level courses in the future.

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