At two years of age, when AJ was first diagnosed with autism, we were told to institutionalize him. We refused to give up, and instead, began our exhaustive search for the most effective treatment for him. Through our joint efforts with other families, we realized our goal in September 2000 when The AJ Foundation opened CLC, a school for children with autism utilizing the scientifically validated principles of ABA. Over the years, CLC’s staff taught AJ the skills necessary to become the person he is today—an independent functional member of his family and the community. The staff worked tirelessly to teach him many skills like toileting, tying his shoes, making his First Holy Communion, tolerating doctor’s appointments, showering, shaving, eating in a restaurant, ironing his clothes, balancing his checkbook, and finally, job training. Because of CLC, AJ is not in an institution, but instead works fulltime between three part time jobs! As AJ’s parents, we never dreamed he’d have the quality of life he enjoys today! CLC has changed AJ’s life!
—Allan & Joanne Corless
Our family is so grateful our son Benjamin has attended CLC for the past three years and that we have been able to experience the incredible impact this has made in his life. We are thrilled to see his on-going progress and continue to get excited and encouraged as we watch his language develop and his social skills improve. He continues to make substantial gains academically and has learned so many valuable life skills including tolerating dental and doctor visits, toileting, hand washing and dressing. We feel so blessed to hear Ben’s sweet voice sing a song, ask for lemonade, or share his precious smile and contagious laughter with those around him. We know he would not be where he is today without the incredible programs and amazing staff at CLC. Having a school like CLC has given our family so much hope as we look ahead knowing that so much is possible for Ben’s future. Thank you CLC and The AJ Foundation for the incredible work you do with Benjamin. You have changed our lives!
—Nathan and Michelle Knedler
The first time we walked through the doors of CLC, we knew this was the place our autistic daughter, Bryn, needed to be. Bryn was receiving services through our district and private therapy before entering CLC. Within the first few months, we could see significant improvements in our daughter. Transitions, which were a major problem for her, became so much easier. Her vocabulary grew and she started to read and sing songs. The wonderful staff at CLC not only provides Bryn with basic education, but also teaches her personal hygiene, social skills, and how to handle everyday chores. Bryn works hard for each achievement and so does the staff at CLC. There is no cure for autism yet, but CLC has given Bryn a chance at a better life and more independence. It has made our family feel whole again!
–Gregg & Joanne Buber
At 2 months old, Connor was diagnosed with Williams Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder. With this diagnosis comes a variety of medical problems and developmental delays, so at age 3.5 he was diagnosed with Autism. This was an intensely frustrating point in our lives as we struggled to communicate with him and meet his needs. We knew when it came time for him to attend school, that he needed an aggressive program which was ABA based since that was the only method of teaching that showed any acquisition and retention of new skills. Then we found CLC! Connor has been learning many new skills at school which have generalized to home and community life. He is learning turn-taking, waiting quietly, and appropriate peer interaction and conversation. Connor is also speaking in sentences with more clarity than ever. His teachers work hard to teach him life skills as well. He’s riding a bike with assistance and is also gaining independence in showering/toileting. He’s more engaging and loves to share his accomplishments with us; often taking one of our hands and leading us to his latest object of interest. “Look, look, look Daddy! Show you something!” It takes a village. We’re hopeful that you’ll become a part of the village that invests in the life of our family by supporting The AJ Foundation and CLC. Thank you!
—Adam and Camille Brittain
After months of training and gradual fading from the staff at CLC, our son, Connor, was able to work independently at our local Giant grocery store. He was dropped off two times a week and worked two hours a day without any assistance. His manager told me that he was one of the best employees she has ever had and indicated this in his review giving him the highest rating possible. Connor bagged groceries, greeted customers, straightened shelves and, his personal favorite, did a “clean sweep” of the store. The customers often stopped me to comment on how polite and friendly Connor was each day. Connor left his position at Giant to pick up an additional day of work in a medical office for a cardiologist where he scans documents, files and does other office work. This opportunity is possible, once again, because of the dedication and highly skilled individuals at CLC. Words cannot begin to express how thankful we are to The AJ Foundation and CLC!
—Mike & Patty Feeney
When Katelyn was diagnosed with autism at age 3, we knew we had to do whatever was necessary to get her the services she needed. That is when family stepped in and helped us get Katelyn into the best program possible – “CLC”. The one-on-one support they provided helped Katelyn with speech, eye contact, potty training and staying in her car seat while riding in a car. CLC’s home and community program was tremendous. The teachers would come into our home and train us, her parents, on what to do after school and at night. Our daughter needed so much structure which CLC provided by setting up the same programs for her at school and at home. Katelyn is now fully transitioned into her home school and will be going into 6th grade in September. She plays softball, piano, draws and successfully interacts with her peers. She would not be the active bright child she is today if it wasn’t for the dedication and commitment of the management and staff at CLC!
—Tony & Lisa Canuso
Owen began attending CLC when he was 3.5 years old in February of 2013. We recognized early on that he needed a one-on-one ABA treatment program and were thrilled when we found CLC! A year after receiving intensive ABA therapy at school and at home, he began part-time inclusion in a typical preschool program with support from CLC staff. In the Fall of 2015 Owen successfully transitioned into a typical Kindergarten program, thus being able to fade out CLC’s support completely. Without early intervention and the quality of ABA therapy he received from CLC, this day would not be possible! We are so thankful that there is a program like CLC out there and that we found it for our son! Owen is a sweet, smart boy with a bright future!
—Andrew & Jill Schardt
When people ask us what we’ve learned over the last 3 years since our son, Sammy, was diagnosed with autism, our response is “surround yourself with a team of good people who work hard and BELIEVE in your child”. Fortunately, we found our team at CLC. With their help, Sammy has taken tremendous steps – from learning how to focus, to following schedules, to even making that precious eye contact. Other things such as remaining appropriate during church, toileting, & sorting silverware and recyclables (having autism does not get him out of doing chores!) have been successful with the support of CLC. As parents, CLC has taught us something too – to never underestimate our son and that there is always hope. We don’t know what path is planned for Sammy in his future, but what we do know is that CLC has laid a strong foundation for him to succeed on his journey. Thank you for your support of The AJ Foundation and CLC! We are forever grateful!
—Doug & Marcia Grady