A K-12 private school in Mount Pleasant will launch a new program targeting students with Asperger's and high-functioning autism this fall.

If you go

What: Trident Academy community meeting

When: 10 a.m. March 16

Where: 1455 Wakendaw Road, Mount Pleasant

More info: To attend, RSVP by emailing nleiva@tridentacademy.com or calling 884-3494. To find out more information about the school, including tuition, go to tridentacademy.com.

Trident Academy officials said this will be the first academic program in the Lowcountry designed for these students. They will accept 24 children in grades K-2 for 2013-14, and they will grow by one grade per year through eighth grade.

Margaret MacDonald, president of the school's board of trustees, said in a statement that the school responded to the community's need 40 years ago when parents of children with dyslexia struggled to find the right school for their child. “It is time for a renewed focus on our community's needs,” she said. “Now parents of children with Asperger's/HFA are searching for a solution. We believe we can be that solution.”

Frampton Gwynette is director of Project Rex, which is a local treatment initiative that provides services to children with autism. This idea is coming at the right time, he said.

“The decision by Trident Academy to open this school specializing in children with Asperger's/HFA is a major breakthrough for the Charleston community,” Gwynette, an MUSC psychiatrist for children and adolescents, said in a statement. “This will fulfill a long-standing need in the region, and I look forward to the possibility of collaborating with Trident Academy on this very important effort.”

The school also will continue its focus on educating students who have language-based learning differences, such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia and ADHD.

Trident Academy plans to eliminate its high school at the end of this school year, but it will continue serving students in grades K-8. It enrolls about 50 students this year.