My name is Ron Swearingen II, and my son Trey is diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, NOS with Mild Autistic Features. I would like to share a little of our history with the Blue Ridge Autism Center, which began back in August of 2006. Trey was 3 years old at the time and we were just wrapping up with the Birth to Three Program and my wife Angela and I both knew Trey needed more than our local school system in WV could provide. Enter, Angie Leonard and the Blue Ridge Autism Center. I spoke with Angie over the phone in order to determine what services her program offered and whether or not Trey would be a good fit there.

 

Angie suggested that I bring Trey by for a visit so they could evaluate him and I could lay eyes on the facility and meet staff members. The following Monday we loaded Trey up and made the 95-mile trip to Roanoke. It was the best decision that we have ever made regarding our son! Angie and a few staff members greeted us at the door and after a couple hours into the visit, we knew we had found our school! We were fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time as a slot was opening up due to another student graduating and moving on to public school.

 

So for the next two years, we made that 95-mile trip one way in order to give our son the best opportunity to reach his maximum potential. To say we were rewarded for this would be a huge understatement. When Trey entered the program, he was non-verbal and not potty-trained yet, and we stated that these were two issues that were very important to us. The staff at BRAC made it their mission to accomplish these and other identified goals and they met each with much success. Fast forward to today and Trey is now in middle school and spends part of his day out in the regular education classroom where he has established numerous relationships with “normal kids”. He has even had a couple sleep over’s with students at our home and is a member of the middle school pep band.

 

In closing, I would like to say that Angie and staff just blew us away from day one as their commitment and compassion toward our son and our family was second to none! This has yet to be replicated at any other school Trey has attended. We felt like this program was an extension of our family and when I dropped my son off there each day, I knew they had his best interest at heart. I just knew it! We will forever be grateful to Angie and staff as they provided Trey with a foundation and skill set that has allowed him to continue to learn outside their structured environment.

Ron Swearingen II - Trey's Dad,