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Rating: 5 stars  

The difference between ACT School and our son’s prior ‘educational environment’ is so vast it’s difficult to describe. Our son was diagnosed with autism at 18 months old, and by 20 months we had a full ABA-style program running out of our house. At 3 years old he entered the local public school’s early intervention program, where he began to struggle. Everybody pointed to the new environment, more people, more distractions, etc., as reasons why he would tend to do better at home, and we agreed it made sense. Unfortunately, the gap between our son’s progress at home and his progress at school continued to widen. 3 years and 5 classroom placements later we were presented IEP goals which were almost identical to his original intake goals – basically, the school system had been unable to teach him a single thing in 3 years and was ready to classify him as mentally retarded and put him in a classroom where learning wouldn’t be required! Fast forward to ACT School, and our son’s life has changed dramatically. From a purely academic standpoint, our son was being *taught* the same things every school-aged kid gets to learn. He excelled immediately, soaking up everything he could with a smile on his face. Seeing his schoolwork come home in his backpack each week has been amazing – math, spelling, creative writing – it’s a far cry from our previous experiences seeing notes about whether or not he cried, slept, or ate his lunch. In 2.5 years at ACT School he has learned enough to skip a grade; last spring he took the AIMS test at a higher grade level than the number of years he’s been in school! But the difference is far more than academics. Our son is learning about himself. How to communicate better (which had been a source of frustration). The importance of controlling his own body (and how to do it) compared with the crutch of having somebody else hold him steady. The hard work and small steps required down the long path towards independence... And these differences permeate throughout the rest of his life – he’s a happier, prouder, more confident kid than he’s ever been in his life. As an example, this summer we watched him independently make a new (typical) friend at a public swimming pool, whom he then swam and played with for the next hour – it was a satisfying, gratifying, proud-parent moment! ACT School.. Assuming Competence Today - I can’t imagine where we would be as a family or what life would be like if our son hadn’t enrolled at ACT School. Fortunately I don’t have to.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the services and education provided my son.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Help create greater awareness for NMTSA and the work it does in our community.

Role:  Board Member & Served as a Board member for NMTSA and their ACT School Program.