Els Center of Excellence, to Aid Autistic Children, Opens in Florida
It was a great day for Ernie Els and his family on Monday. The Ernie Els Center of Excellence, “a 26-acre campus for autistic children which he and his wife, Liezl, have been funding and building for eight years,” opened in Florida. From Eric Andelson of Yahoo Sports:
Els invested $6 million of his own money and raised far more for the $30 million center, which had its groundbreaking last year. On Monday, 115 kids arrived at the campus, including Ben Els, now 12, who will be a student. The kids were dropped off under large awnings, because some autistic children don’t react well to having spots on their clothes from raindrops. Els explained Thursday that classroom windows were built at a level so that students can see out of them while standing, but not while seated at their desks – to help with focus and concentration. Each class will have its own restroom, to help teachers with supervision. Parents will be allowed to watch classes, and rooms are soundproofed to keep distractions to a minimum.
Although only children from Palm Beach County can attend now, the goal is to serve the global population by allowing researchers to watch classes virtually. Some international families will be invited to visit, and one group from Brazil has already seen the center.
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