Dynamic Minds Academy aims to bridge the gap between treatment and education for students with autism spectrum disorder by providing evidence-based practices for personal growth within an optimal learning environment.
Dynamic Minds Academy will fill gaps in treatment and education by bridging evidence-based treatments and practices for an optimal learning environment.
The Hope Source (THS) began offering modern and innovative, direct therapeutic services for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in February of 2009. Initial efforts of adding the education component to The Hope Source resulted in strong academic growth and a clarified vision for combining educational and therapeutic services within a single facility. As this initial step, a partnership with Indiana Cyber Charter School (2013 – 2015) allowed the staff to assist students with an online, virtual classroom curriculum; but a lack of local control, curriculum limitations, and organizational issues within Indiana Cyber slowed progress and forced an end to that relationship. In 2016, The Hope Source partnered with Options Charter Schools to provide the virtual classroom component along with an on-site educational liaison. With students enrolled in a public charter school, THS provided therapy services for their students who spent their school and therapy day on THS premises. While each partnership moves student opportunities forward, the full vision remained unfilled.
A non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, Dynamic Minds Academy (DMA) will serve students (K-12) with ASD. The initial target audience is central Indiana, but by year three, DMA will be ready to expand the educational program to additional sites throughout the state. This school will provide an innovative choice for parents who desire a forty-eight-week academic year, and access to a public-school education that is efficiently and effectively integrated with modern therapeutic services for their children. With the focus on maximizing the enormous potential for these students, lost time from transporting students between a school and a therapy site, as is often the case when attempting to provide needed therapy, will be eliminated. Additionally, therapists will frequently work alongside educators, integrating the educational and therapy services seamlessly. In this model, communication is optimized, time is optimized, and a professional team is truly synchronized through an entire calendar year.
The DMA model, the first in Indiana to fully integrate modern therapeutic practice with accredited public education, will develop as a scalable and replicable model. The founding board is committed to the vision that DMA’s model should eventually become available for students with ASD throughout the state. Though initially implemented at one physical location in central Indiana, the growth model assumed additional physical sites, beginning after the third year of operation. New sites will only be added once existing sites are reaching capacity; demand for services are established in new locations; the existing site(s) are operating effectively; the financial condition of the existing operations is solid; and when a therapy provider can be identified to work with the new school site. This controlled growth model allows for the additional orientation/support needed to implement the project-based and online educational components. Within five years, DMA hopes to reach an enrollment of 350 students. Though the current capacity is set at 500 students, this model is ultimately only limited to the number of therapy sites with the capacity and desire to integrate educational and therapeutic services at their locations in Indiana.