Mililani’s Lissa Goya To Help Autistic Keiki

Melissa Moniz
Wednesday - August 08, 2007
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Mililani resident Lissa Goya and classmate Jennifer Dustow have teamed up to open a preschool for children with autism.

The two met at Argosy University, where they both earned their doctorates in education. “We met in a doctoral class and agreed that opening a preschool would be a good starting point and utilize both of our skills,“explained Goya, who also graduated from Mililani High School.

“There’s such a need for resources and to help the community to be aware of children with special needs and children with autism.”

Cornerstone Educational Services is currently seeking a location for the school and will begin fundraising with a benefit from 6 to 11 p.m. Aug. 29 at Ocean Club in Honolulu.

The new preschool, for children ages 3 to 5, aims to mainstream children with autism into successful, productive educational situations, the partners say. Dustow will direct the preschool, basing its program on child-centered success, discipline, determination, cooperative and collaborative learning, and research-based activities.

The school’s goal is also to provide tutoring and consulting to students of all ages and varied needs, addressing sensory, academic and life skills. The tuition is estimated at $1,350 a month and includes registration, enrollment and a student educational plan.

“We literally focus on the sensory aspect for children with autism,“added Goya, who also has her master’s in special ed. “We’re only taking 20 children because we really want to solidify our philosophy.”

The Aug. 29 gala will have pupus, giveaways and entertainment by Makena and the Gregg Hammer band. Cost is $20 pre-sale and $25 at the door.

For more information, visit or 723-4858.

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