Our journey with Colleen has been a long one, indeed. Our son Drew was diagnosed with Autism in 2003 at the age of two. At that time, Drew was completely non-verbal and would not even point his finger to request needs or wants. Soon after diagnoses, my husband, Greg, built a therapy room in our garage equipped with learning supplies, chalk board and air conditioning. Colleen would come to our home and work with Drew, initially teaching him sign language. Colleen explained to our family that communication was the most important skill we could give Drew, that we needed to give it to him immediately and that with the analysis of verbal behavior program, the sign would get him communicating right away while encouraging vocal speech. We were a bit afraid at first that sign language would teach Drew that not talking was acceptable and we had faith in our hearts that he would be a talker, so we started the program with some reservations. Colleen provided a wealth of information and spent hours with us sharing the benefits. Her strong belief in our son and his ability to succeed was encouraging and by the end of his second week of therapy, Drew was communicating his needs using sign language. We were astounded. As Drew grew into school age, we muddled through the public school system and would supplement behavior therapy still out of our air-conditioned garage. As a family, we were discouraged simply because we knew that what Drew really needed he was not receiving in the public school. While his teachers were well-meaning, he just wasn’t making the same gains that he was making in his 1:! therapy program. In the midst of going from one autism program to the next, Colleen was birthing a dream of opening ABLE Academy, a dream come true for our family! When the doors of ABLE Academy opened in 2006, Drew and our family began a whole new chapter. After years of faith, trust and hard work, we are so grateful, amazed and full of joy of all that Drew can do! Drew is now just a few months shy of his 14th birthday; Team ABLE has not only taught our son to communicate wants and needs, but they have taught him to use his voice to express himself. They are currently teaching him valuable life skills and we are implementing those skills at home as well. We are so grateful as a family for the endless hours, effort, dedication and pure devotion not only to our son but to all of the children at ABLE Academy. The daily encouragement, enthusiasm and love that team ABLE pores out to our son Drew has overflowed in our entire family. Thank you ABLE Academy.
When we arrived at ABLE Academy shortly after our son's diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, we were distraught, afraid and uncertain about our son's future. The staff at ABLE Academy quickly gave us reasons to hope. Through their expertise, dedication and loving hearts we saw our son meet the benchmarks of his development that we only dreamed would ever be possible. Day in and day out, we saw the staff at ABLE go above and beyond. Their dedication and love for the children is nothing short of amazing. Our son is now in public school and is continuing to thrive and we can't thank ABLE enough for setting our boy in such a promising trajectory.