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Fire Destroys Santa Rosa School for Students With Autism – KQED

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A faculty in Santa Rosa that serves about 125 college students with autism has been destroyed by the Tubbs Fire.

The entryway to the Anova school — which is contained in the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts — is burnt virtually past recognition in photographs.

Some employees members have misplaced houses, stated Andrew Bailey, founder and CEO of Anova, however as of Tuesday morning there hadn’t been any studies of accidents from employees or households with college students attending the varsity.

“Our number one priority is making sure that our community of kids and family members and employees are safe,” he stated.

Kids’ Emotional Needs

The Anova group continues to be within the evaluation part, however there’s one thing else on Bailey’s thoughts: The emotional wants of his college students. Autism is a developmental dysfunction that impacts an individual’s potential to speak and work together. Big modifications — like a catastrophe — could be arduous for individuals with autism to cope with.

“We have students who experience anxiety and depression occasionally, sometimes fairly regularly, even without a fire event such as this,” stated Bailey. “So those types of students will have a real problem with losing their school.”

Bailey is organizing a gathering with households and employees to go over the right way to help the youngsters throughout these occasions. For instance, having a favourite stuffed animal or an iPad round as a distraction might be useful, he stated.

Then there’s the query of how one can speak to the scholars about what’s occurring in a means that’s applicable.

“[We] make sure we keep this simple and not explain a whole lot to these kids other than, ‘This is a dangerous situation but life is full of danger and your family is here,’ ” stated Bailey.

He additionally plans on offering small items of details about the longer term and the place Anova may be holding courses. His strategy is about respecting the scholars’ routines, that are essential to take care of for these on the autism spectrum.

Thankfully, Anova has robust group help, stated Bailey. The nonprofit faculty serves greater than 200 college students from across the Bay Area at two places — Santa Rosa and Concord.

Bailey’s present job is to look for a brand new momentary location for the varsity. Local faculty districts have reached out to lend them area whereas they work out methods to rebuild, he stated.

“We are strong people and we will survive this fire,” stated Bailey.

Helping the Vulnerable During Disasters

But what about all the opposite hearth-affected individuals with developmental challenges who lack a robust help community?

That’s a query Richard Ruge thinks about rather a lot. He leads a gaggle in Sonoma County referred to as Disaster Preparedness for Vulnerable Populations, which helps educate individuals — particularly the disabled or aged — concerning the significance of getting ready themselves for disasters, like holding footwear, gloves and flashlights close to the mattress. Building a group community of neighbors can also be a good suggestion, in accordance with Ruge.

Ruge has labored for a few years with individuals with disabilities, and awhile again he realized no one was serving to the incapacity group take into consideration how one can put together for disasters.

“Some people are on dialysis, some people have oxygen tanks and things like that,” Ruge stated. “So they really need to work with their neighbors and let everyone know what needs to happen if a disaster were to strike.”

The county has requested Ruge to organize an inventory of teams serving weak individuals to allow them to assist out throughout evacuations.

But there’s no system in place to maintain monitor of individuals with particular wants throughout an emergency, and Ruge is worried that most of the a whole lot of people who find themselves nonetheless unaccounted for could possibly be these weak individuals he’s tried to serve.


Devin Katayama

Devin Katayama is a reporter overlaying the East Bay for KQED News. Previously, he was the schooling reporter for WFPL in Louisville and labored as a producer with radio stations in Chicago and Portland, OR. His work has appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, The Takeaway and Here and Now.

Devin earned his MA in Journalism from Columbia College Chicago, the place he was a Follett Fellow and the recipient of the 2011 Studs Terkel Community Media Workshop Scholarship for his story on Chicago’s homeless youth. He gained WBUR’s 2014 Daniel Schorr award and a regional RTNDA Edward R. Murrow Award for his documentary “At Risk” that checked out points dealing with a few of Louisville’s college students. Devin has additionally acquired quite a few native awards from the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists.

Email: dkatayama@kqed.org Twitter: @RadioDevin Website: audiocollected.org

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