A Message from the Executive Director

A Message from the Executive Director

Autism has led my family and I on a winding journey. It began with a diagnosis in 2000 and then catapulted into creating a unique program to help our own son, Nick. As Nick has grown from a very active boy into a handsome young man, the same can be said of our school. It is surreal to think that JSA started with two students, two families and one committed teacher, Mrs. Irene Batario. Today, we have a thriving school where every day more than 100 students, teachers and augmentative program instructors come together with a common purpose.

Since opening our doors back in August of 2005, JSA has been developed by the joint efforts of a diverse group of families and professionals who are able to network with one another to develop programs that directly support our students’ unique learning needs. JSA operates under an “Integrative Model” and is open to any individual on the autism spectrum. JSA has a variety of classrooms to meet the needs of individual students. These varied programs allow for the successful development of students and ensures a comfortable transition from our new learners to advanced learners to young adults transitioning into the work force.

Our mission at JSA is to provide every student with a positive learning experience in a safe and comfortable environment. Each of our programs emphasize whole child development (behavioral, academic, social, and physical growth). While our goals and programs may be very different for our individual students, our solidarity remains strong in our resolve as “parents and teachers in partnership” to help all our students reach their potential.

I am so grateful for the opportunity the school has provided in bringing together so many students and their families along with the committed teachers and staff. At JSA, we believe that we have so much hope for what lies ahead for our children and students.

One of my favorite small books is titled “When the Last Acorn is found” by Deborah Latzke. I read this book about 15 years ago, and have always remembered the story about how a small and insignificant acorn can grow into such a beautiful and strong oak tree. The thought is thatwithout exception, we each can make a difference. In learning to make positive choices that are wise and loving, we create positive changes that are powerful and lasting. The impact of those choices and changes is felt, not only in our own lives, but within our families, our communities and the world in which we live.

In closing, here’s to having an acorn day EVERY DAY here at JSA… a place where relationships are formed and lives are truly changed.

Michelle Dunham
Founder & Executive Director
Nick’s Mom