State-of-the-art facility opens in Evansville to cater to students with neurobehavioral challenges

A new facility for kids and with mental and behavioral challenges has just opened its doors in Evansville.

Lifesong Academy will cater to kids 30 months old to 22 years old.

Some of its organizers tell us not only is this the first facility of it's kind in the area, but it will also bring dozens of new jobs as well.

Twelve years ago when some of Kim Derk's kids were diagnosed with autism, she was told she couldn't get the help she needed in the Tri-State.

"We were told to move," says Derk.

She responded by creating Behavior NetWorks in 2005, a service that used the Applied Behavior Analysis to work with kids with neurological challenges.

"Now in 2012 we've had such a waiting list we've decided to open this facility," she says.

The new academy has a 1 to 2 ratio of students to teachers.

Each room specifically caters to the needs of the individual and helps them learn through doing activities.

For example, there is the music room, the sensory room, and an activity room which isn't complete yet.

"We're going to have a pirate ship and it's going to be like the climbing station for them," says Brock Quinton, Business Development Manager at Lifesong.

"We're able to do here a lot of other services that have not been available in this area," says Derk. "For instance, a lot of kids can't and won't be involved in sports or music programs because it's very hard for them."

Lifesong academy will cater to these students.

Derk says they are starting out with about 20 employees but will probably expand to at least 40 soon.

"What we're finding is that very fast as people become aware of the fact that there are different supportive services available we'll have more need for more services," says Derk.

She adds the academy will expand and be able to serve at least 100 children if not more.

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