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Banner Academy recognizes Autism Awareness Month

Banner Academy provides education to children with emotional and learning disabilities 

PHOENIX (April 8, 2024) – April is Autism Awareness Month, and Banner Academy is hoping to raise awareness around autism spectrum disorders (ASD). 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ASD is a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain. Individuals with ASD may communicate and interact differently compared to other people. 

18-year-old Dagny Moore, now a senior at Banner Academy, is familiar with this diagnosis and some of the struggles that come along with it. 

“[When I was younger] in elementary school, I struggled with social and emotional issues,” Dagny said. “I was angry.” 

The CDC says nearly 1 in 36 children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, and about 1 in 6 children between the ages of 3 and 17 have been diagnosed with a developmental disability, according to a recent study from the CDC.  

Dagny’s mom, Alina Moore, remembers the heartache of her child not fitting in and struggling to find her place. 

“[Her elementary school] wanted to take her out of special education and put her in with the general population and I just knew that wasn’t going to work,” said Alina. “Academically, she was performing at grade level, but socially and emotionally, she struggled [due to her autism].” 

Not knowing where to turn, Dagny’s parents started looking for new schools. Right before Dagny entered the sixth grade is when they discovered and enrolled her at Banner Academy. 

Both Dagny and her mom remember her acclimating quickly to the school.  

“My very existence didn’t seem to make people angry [at Banner Academy],” Dagny shares. “People have been accepting of me as I am here.”  

Judy Subaitis, principal at Banner Academy, says she’s proud to work with her students and enjoys seeing them thrive every day.  

“The most rewarding part of working with Banner Academy students is witnessing their incredible transformation,” said Judy. “Many of my students with autism spectrum disorder have remarkable attention to detail, unmatched focus, pattern recognition, and extraordinary problem-solving abilities. They contribute a fresh perspective, creativity, and out-of-the-box thinking to their work in school that will benefit them later in the workplace.” 

Now, Dagny looks ahead to graduation in May – something her parents weren’t sure would ever happen. She says she’s considering working in veterinary medicine or giving back by working in a special education environment. 

“I’m a whole new person after coming here,” Dagny said. “In a good way.”   

Banner Academy is a nationally accredited private school in Tempe, Arizona, with a long history of educating children with autism, and emotional and learning disabilities. The school caters to student's 4th through 12th grade. The school offers a therapeutic setting for students with trauma-informed practices that promote a safe and welcoming climate. The learning environment is structured and predictable with built-in interventions and therapies to address social emotional deficits. We maintain a small student population and focus on building positive relationships between teachers and students and facilitating healthy and appropriate peer interactions. 

Banner Health is one of the largest, secular nonprofit health care systems in the country. In addition to 33 hospitals, Banner also operates an academic medicine division, Banner – University Medicine, and Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, a partnership with one of the world’s leading cancer programs, MD Anderson Cancer Center. Banner’s array of services includes a health insurance division, employed physician groups, outpatient surgery centers, urgent care locations, home care, and hospice services, retail pharmacies, stand-alone imaging centers, physical therapy and rehabilitation, behavioral health services, a research division and a nursing registry. To make health care easier, 100% of Banner-employed doctors are available for virtual visits and patients may also reserve spots at Banner Urgent Care locations and can book appointments online with many Banner-employed doctors. Headquartered in Arizona, Banner Health also has locations in California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. For more information, visit
Banner Health Behavioral Health Health Pediatric

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