Category Archives: Developmental Disabilities

Sarah Dooley Center for Autism journeys to Washington D.C.

Posted on May 14, 2024
Our Sarah Dooley Center for Autism (SDCA) deeply believes in the transformative power of community-based instruction. By engaging with people in a variety of real-world settings like stores, museums and restaurants, students are able to build life skills that will support their independence as adults. Teacher James Auer took this approach to a historic new level for SDCA by leading his class on their first-ever trip to our nation’s capital. ...Read More

Join our Inaugural Sarah Dooley Center for Autism Conference

Posted on September 22, 2023
Announcing our 1st annual conference for our public school partners! Thursday, November 2 8:00am-3:30pm | $120 Sarah Dooley Center for Autism at St. Joseph's Villa Lunch will be provided. REGISTER HERE   Designed to share our pioneering model in a collegial and collaborative environment, this event will be ideal for special education teachers, administrators who supervise special education classrooms, support staff, and other professionals who work with students diagnosed with ...Read More

PBS’s Virginia Home Grown features Villa Learning & Therapy Garden

Posted on July 5, 2023
In Virginia Home Grown's recent episode on the healing power of nature, our own Matthew Kreydatus, Senior Director of Wellness and Transition Services, and Tyler Berkeley, Garden Coordinator, shared the many ways gardening can benefit students with specialized education needs. The Villa's 7,500 sq. ft. Learning & Therapy Garden is a dynamic shared space for everyone we serve, and home to a wide range of activities designed to enhance physical, ...Read More

Stepping up: Saxon Shoes creates career opportunities for Villa students

Posted on May 22, 2023
The Villa’s partnership with Saxon Shoes has grown over the years from what started as a holiday fundraiser for local nonprofits in 2016. Today, the store serves as a work training site for our Career and Transition Services students, where they can build valuable skills for employment. The Villa’s Career and Transition Services (CATS) supports individuals with emotional, behavioral and academic challenges, as well as those with moderate to severe ...Read More

Adam Dreyfus, Center for Autism Senior Director, appointed to Virginia Board of Education Special Education Advisory Committee

Posted on June 27, 2022
St. Joseph's Villa congratulates Adam Dreyfus, Senior Director of the Villa's Sarah Dooley Center for Autism, on his appointment to serve on the Board of Education's State Special Education Advisory Committee. Adam has led the Sarah Dooley Center for Autism since 2013, after serving the Commonwealth of Virginia as a Technical Assistance Associate at VCU’s Autism Center for Excellence. He has worked in Region 1 and 8 providing direct services ...Read More

In The News: St. Joseph’s Villa Garden serving as sanctuary, educational space for children, families (WRIC ABC 8News)

Posted on June 22, 2022
Our Villa Garden will celebrate its 10th anniversary in October. Thanks to support from our community partners and volunteers, each season has seen the garden expand as an ever-changing therapeutic and educational resource for all Villa students and clients. On their annual Founder's Day of Caring, volunteers from the ABC 8News team joined us in the garden to install galvanized raised beds and prep them for growing. These sturdy new ...Read More

Navigating the Pandemic for Children with Autism

Posted on March 30, 2022
Column by CEO Kathleen Burke Barrett Published by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, March 26, 2022 More than two years ago, COVID-19 was declared a national emergency. The prevailing assumption was that U.S. schools would be closed for a week or two before reopening and returning to “normal.” Given the primary challenges for students with autism amid COVID were a lack of structure, social interactions and instruction delivery, our goal at St. ...Read More

St. Joseph’s Villa Announces Grand Opening of New Autism Center

Posted on August 6, 2021
Historic School Building Repurposed to Serve as National Model for Autism Education and Teacher Training RICHMOND, Va. – Inspired to make a difference by rising autism rates and the demonstrated long-term impact of expert educational intervention, St. Joseph’s Villa unveiled its new Sarah Dooley Center for Autism (SDCA) on Sept. 2, 2021. The school will expand SDCA’s capacity beyond the current 96 students, with the goal of reaching thousands more ...Read More

SJV Center for Autism staff share pivots in education model at state conference

Posted on March 1, 2021
When Governor Northam ordered the physical closing of every school in the Commonwealth due to COVID-19 on March 13th, 2020, the Villa's Sarah Dooley Center for Autism (SDCA) rebooted as a virtual private day school the following Monday. All of our resources pivoted to providing the best online learning experience we could. We knew that many of our students would not be able to simply sit in front of a ...Read More

RiseUP Campaign exceeds $25 million goal to upgrade programs and campus

Posted on February 23, 2021
History has been made at the Villa! We are so grateful for the generous support of our community, and proud to announce that the Villa’s five-year RiseUP Campaign raised over $30.6 million - exceeding our $25 million goal! We thank our donors, volunteers and partners from the bottom of our hearts for helping to create a brighter future for the Villa and the children and families we serve. The RiseUP ...Read More

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