Building futures of greater independence.

We have been making a big difference for kids and young adults with autism and other developmental disabilities for more than 40 years. Our developmental disabilities services help individuals learn skills for life beyond St. Joseph’s Villa, and provide care for the whole family.

Sarah Dooley Center for Autism

Our Sarah Dooley Center for Autism prepares students with autism for the fullest possible life as adults. Serving children and youth ages 5 to 22, we focus on developing real-world skills through community-based instruction and best-practice Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) principles. We provide education year-round at no cost to families.

The primary goal of our Center is to help students successfully transition back to their public schools, to vocational programs, and to the community. We partner with families, public schools, universities, research centers and professional networks to help students reach their potential. Our Center is part of a continuum of care at St. Joseph’s Villa, where students and families can access a range of wraparound supports including Career and Transition Services.

Virtual Learning

Students in the Sarah Dooley Center for Autism virtual classroom receive instruction across a variety of modalities, including:

  1. Live classroom sessions. Students attend 2-3 virtual classes each day with several different teachers providing instruction in order to practice generalization. Students attend morning meeting, academic work, vocational, and gym classes each week.
  2. Asynchronous learning videos. Students are provided with daily videos to address academic content (reading, math, science, etc.) and IEP goals (listener response, social skills, etc.) in short (10-15 minute) videos that can be paused or re-watched to ensure retention.
  3. Tailored instructional packets. Students are mailed worksheets and task analyses bi-weekly to address academic, vocational, and IEP goal opportunities.
  4. TeachTown, an academic learning app. Designed to mimic in-person instruction, this app tailors instruction to each student’s IEP and can adjust questions in-the-moment to meet students’ academic level. For example, several wrong answers in a row will prompt the program to provide fewer answer choices or switch to previously-known targets. Teachers are able to track progress in real time.

LEARN MORE / 804-553-5571

Day Support for Children

Day Support provides a structured program for children with a diagnosed intellectual disability and/or autism. The after-school program caters to each child’s needs working inside of the school’s Individualized Education Program and Individual Service Plan. Participants have the opportunity to engage in skill enhancement activities, socialization with peers, therapeutic recreation such as arts and crafts, music, and physical activity, and field trips focused on community integration. Individual choice is encouraged throughout all aspects of programming.

Personal care assistance and nutritional meals and snacks are provided. To best serve each child, staff-to-client ratio will not exceed 1:4.

LEARN MORE / 8804-553-3232

Day Support for Adults

This program for individuals 21 and older with a diagnosed intellectual disability and/or autism focuses on building social, pre-vocational, and essential life skills. Participants have access to campus resources and recreational areas. We also partner with local nonprofits and businesses to offer job training and volunteer opportunities. Our goal is to support participants in gaining as much independence as possible and improving their overall quality of life.

Day Support for Adults offers personal care assistance, physical fitness activities, arts and crafts, library visits, and music and sensory stimulation. We work with a 1:4 staff-to-client ratio to provide personalized service and ensure the outcomes of each Individual Service Plan are met.

Take a virtual tour of Adult Day Support.

LEARN MORE / 804-553-3232

In-Home Behavioral Treatment

Our In-Home Behavioral Treatment program allows families to keep their children in their homes and communities.

We help children with behavioral difficulties, communication limitations, adaptive functioning delays, or sensory integration difficulties resulting from intellectual disabilities or developmental delays. A qualified mental health professional provides therapy, support, and training for the child and family. We ensure ongoing coordination of all support services and provide 24-hour emergency response including evenings and weekends.

Our goal is to improve each child’s behavior, communication skills and quality of life while avoiding out-of-home placements. This program operates as part of Medicaid’s Early Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT) program.

LEARN MORE / 8804-553-3232

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AIA Design Award

Sarah Dooley Center for Autism receives 2021 Design Award from AIA Richmond

When we first began planning our new Sarah Dooley Center for Autism, Odell led a series of charrettes with faculty, parents, and public school partners to make sure we got

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