In just two weeks, classes will start at a new middle and high school dedicated to students with autism.

The school near 22nd Street and Swan Road is the first Tucson location for Arizona Autism Charter Schools (AZACS).

The tuition-free charter school will open Sep. 1, using what had been the campus of Changemaker High School, another charter school.

It is giving hope to parents of children with autism, many who have struggled to find schools that are both adequately engaging and accommodating.

Stephanie Codd Anderson is one of those parents. She spoke with KGUN about her son, who is entering 12th grade.

He has been in four different high schools, she said. It is hard as a mom to watch your kid struggle and be dismissed We are beyond the moment when we should be considering more innovative options and models and strategies for how to meet these kids where theyre at.

So she worked to bring an option like that to Tucson, using her background with Higher Ground, which serves the non-academic needs of students in the area.

Anderson met with AZACS founder and executive director Diana Diaz-Harrison, another autism parent. They worked to make the goal of an AZACS school in Tucson a reality.

Diaz-Harrison says that the plan accelerated when the former Changemaker property became available about three months ago.

We have about 10 students in the class and one lead teacher and two support staff, she explained. We also have therapists that push into the classroom with speech and other therapies that kids need We have a very hands-on, project-based learning model.

There are three different levels of instruction at the school to cater to kids all across the spectrum in terms of their ability levels.

But all of them get access to technology in the STEAM lab like tablets, drones, augmented reality and 3D printers.

Thats where we see the magic with our kids, said Diaz-Harrison. They are very tactile, sensory

Students will also be in language arts, math, science and social studies classes.

If kids arent getting the support that they need, they may attend school but theyre not actually learning anything, said Kate Elliott, an autism parent and executive director of the Autism Society of Southern Arizona.

Each individual autistic kid is so different, she said. And so the way that they really talk to each one and find out their needs is really gonna be beneficial to all these students.

About 50 kids will start the school year on Sep. 1, including Stephanies son.

This is the difference between my son being able to feel some sort of success out of school and him literally dropping out of school and not having any hope for the future.

I cant say how grateful I am.

Diaz-Harrison says there are still open spots in this years inaugural class, and interested parents can apply through the AZACS website.