2019 Run for Autism 5K

Graduation Day
Graduation Day

The Young and the Breathless

We dedicate our team, The Young (my kids) and the Breathless (that’s me), to Nate.

When Nate came to VIA, nearly 5 years ago, he was a withdrawn, scared, under-achieving kid.

For years, Nate’s family and teachers had struggled to find ways to help him. Nate’s issues seemed to be around self-control and behavior. Unlike many with autism, he’s social and articulate, but he has struggled with violent verbal and physical outbursts that kept him from being successful in public school (or anywhere in public). They tried moving him from mainstream elementary school to a school for children with emotional needs, but his behavior continued to deteriorate. His desparate parents pulled him out of school and set up a homeschool. They sought the help of more professionals. But this time the therapist (who coincidentally was one of four VIA founders 23 years ago) asked the family to consider autism. He was finally re-evaluated, diagnosed, and started at VIA's James C. Hormel School at age 8.

His mom told me the minute she stepped onto the campus of the James C. Hormel school, she knew this was where her son belonged. She told me that, no matter his instructor or his classroom at VIA, she knew Nate was always surrounded by love. She said, “VIA picked up our family and gave us our lives back.” VIA was the game changer for Nate and his family.

It’s what we do--compassionate, evidence-based intervention.

Needless to say, Nate has thrived. He has gone from having no friends, and reading on a kindergarten level, to reading like an adult, telling stories about his friends, and looking forward to coming to school. To top it off, for the last few months, he’s been getting A’s in his honors classes back in public school.

That’s right, as of Friday, March 30, Nate is VIA’s most recent graduate. He and his family have achieved what we hope for all who come to VIA, that they leave with the tools and confidence they need to be successful in the world.

Please join me in donating to support compassionate, evidence-based support for autism, hard working VIA staff, and more VIA graduation parties. Congrats, Nate! We are all incredibly proud of you.


P.S. If you want to read more about what VIA has meant to Nate and his family, head on over to his mother's Run for Autism 5K page: Team Nate 2019.

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