By Karen Morfitt

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – Schools across the state are working to transition students to learn online learning. The Joshua School is a nonprofit that serves as a resource for families with children on the autism spectrum and other developmental disabilities.

They are dealing with transition challenges and a funding shortage. Kari Ansay turned to the school with two of her children.

“It’s been a lifeline for us,” she said.

Copter4 flew over the Joshua School (credit: CBS)

Her son, Cole, recently graduated, and her daughter, Jessica, is going into her eighth year.

“When she started at the Joshua School, she couldn’t even talk, and this was after her kindergarten year. So she was 6 years old, she couldn’t tell you her name. She couldn’t tell you how old she is,” Ansay said.

Today she can do that, and much more. The one-on-one work and consistency with staff is part of the school’s success.

“Students who have or are on the autism spectrum have a very routine-driven environment, and that routine involves working with the same people over and over,” Executive Director Ed Nichols said.

A few weeks ago he sent a letter to his families explaining the pandemic’s impact on their operation, and their budget now that their annual gala and largest fundraiser of the year was canceled.

“Because of the difference in the programming environment and the reimbursement methodology for the young students, we had to furlough some of the individuals involved in that program,” he said.

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They’re now turning to the community for support, and the hope is that through online fundraising they’ll raise enough money to get everyone back.

“It’s changed the entire landscape of where we are, but we are working on those financial programs right now to make sure everything stays open,” Nichols said.

It’s a need the Ansay family says is critical.

“We are family, and I say that with every fiber in my being,” she said.

Nichols said they are still able to provide the services they always have, but if you would like to support the school check out their new fundraising campaign.

Karen Morfitt

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