Science Prep Academy in south Phoenix is first STEM school for autistic students

One in 64 children in Arizona is diagnosed with autism, according to the latest statistics released by the CDC.

Providing specialized training and education for these children as they grow older is a main focus.

Parents are learning more about Arizona's first STEM school for students with autism. Science Prep Academy focuses on preparing students for college and professional careers.

"We have a project based learning program in which we have the first Lego league at the core of our school so kids will actually participate in a year long program where they will build robots, program robots, but also receive mentorship opportunities with companies like Intel and support programs and partners like Arizona State University engineering department," said Kenneth Mims, the principal.

Principal Mims held an informational presentation during a community open house this weekend.

The Science Prep Academy located inside the Salvation Army KROC Center in south Phoenix will offer small class settings that include a 3 to 1 teacher student ratio.

"Our ratio for our opening year is three to one and that allows for teacher, co-teacher, and what we call a success coach to provide the guidance that motivation for the students so they can be successful in reaching academic goals and social goals as well," said Mims.

Aside from a focus on STEM, the school will serve a two part purpose.

"We're incorporating high-quality therapy within our school day setting. It allows students to receive those benefits in their general day," said Mims.

"The positives are how the therapies are going to be integrated into the regular teaching time. I'm also a special education teacher, so I see how in most schools therapies are done separately," said Anoni Vasquez, a mother.

The school official opens August 4 for grades 6th through 9th.