A new local program is helping kids and young adults with autism... gain their independence.
News 8's scott behrens tells us how the program works and why some experts on autism are so excited about it.
Chileda has been helping children on the autism spectrum for decades... but now for the first time ever they're helping parents, businesses and schools make their homes and establishments more autism friendly.
Karrie zielke dir.
Of the chileda development and learning center 52 11 "we really haven't done anything like this before.
52 13 karrie zielke is the director of the new development and learning center at chileda 39 49 "it's going to provide training to parents, school districts other agencies in the area, businesses 39 59 of what autism is and how they can support parents and those affected by autism."
40 02 chileda has dozens of students from around the country who live and learn skills on their campus in la crosse 40 20 "the kids that come to chileda are primarily on the autism spectrum 40 24 whether it's lower functioning or higher functioning autism with very significant behavior problems."
40 29 they help those students manage their behaviors problems and learn new skills... but many times when they go back home there's a problem 30 31 "when they transition home, sometimes they regress."
40 34 one of the biggest challenges is most environments aren't well suited for people with autism 42 15 noises may be a little bit distracting and overwhelming for them."
42 19 lights could be distracting and overwhelming for them."
42 the new program will train parents and community members on how to be more accommodating.
51 33 "education on sensory and what you can do make your business or make your home more inviting to a person with autism."
51 41 50 07 "helping the school district really look at the behavior of the child and come up with a behavior plan if their program is successful chileda says more students will be able to stay living at home... which is extremely important terri gowey chief operating officer 54 27 it'd be great if kids could stay in their homes and schools."
54 31 55 22 "children do best when they're with their families.
55 24 and with their peers and that social network."
55 28 zielke says a few small changes... could have a big impact on kids with autism 50 30 "parents that have children with autism just want to be included in the community, they want their child to be included into the community as well."
50 37 chileda's new development and learning center will be built in the image world building off mormon coulee road.
They hope construction will be finished by the end of summer.
The current chileda headquarters is just blocks away on victory street and will remain open.
If you would like to learn more or get involved in the program you can email the director at karrie z at chileda dot