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‘People need to see there is a spark in these kids’

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Jacob Dubeau of Middlesex County and his prom buddy, Virginia Harris of Collegiate School in Richmond.

by Larry Chowning

“I was so excited about the band, and the pretty girls!” said Middlesex student Jacob Dubeau, a normal reaction of a 13-year-old attending his first prom.

For Jacob this was a remarkable reaction as the Middlesex County Middle School student has autism, and has been unable to attend regular school or participate and enjoy regular school activities. He is a student at Faison School for Autism in Richmond.

On the evening of Saturday, March 21, Jacob danced the night away inside Collegiate School’s McFall Hall at a prom sponsored by Faison and Collegiate School in Richmond.

Through the Middlesex County Public School System, Jacob enrolled in Faison four years ago. His autism has been an ongoing challenge for him and his mother, Kimberly Dubeau of Jamaica, but “Faison has made all the difference in the world,” said Mrs. Dubeau. 

Those with autism often have social impairments and lack the intuition about others that people take for granted. Throughout Jacob’s life he has suffered with aggressive behavior typical of autism, said his mother.

At the school prom, nearly 150 people, including Faison students, their parents and siblings, plus Collegiate students and faculty members, were in attendance.

“I was so proud of him. He was an absolute gentleman. It was a wonderful time,” said Jacob’s mother.

Jacob can attend Faison School for Autism until he is 22 years old.

Read the rest of this story in this week’s Southside Sentinel at newstands throughout the county, or sign up here to receive a print and/or electronic pdf subscription.

posted 03.25.2015

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