Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center Plans to Expand - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center Plans to Expand Facilities

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A local organization that helps children with autism and learning disabilities wants to expand.

Leaders at the Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center want to open a second facility that they believe will make a difference for many families here in the community.

The BRAAC is set up like a school right now, but with this new facility, the goal is to teach students in an environment that feels more like a home.

That's why the center's leaders are eyeing an actual home to make this happen.

The idea is to make that space into a residential life skills center, an off-site facility where they can show students things like how to cook, garden, and clean, among other things, which are important skills they say will help these kids become more independent and confident.

The center would really be geared toward older students in the high school- to college-age range.

Leaders say currently there's not much in the way of programs for those folks, and once they're done with school, they're essentially being thrown out into the world.

They say this gives them another option that can help make that transition better for the students and their families.

"We really want a facility that's set up to be like that so that it's not really a school," said Craig Balzer, chairman of the BRAAC board. "It feels more like where they would be in their home. And we don't have that here."