When John enrolled at the Academy at age 18, he was very quiet, socially unskilled and disinclined to join in conversation with classmates. With the patient encouragement of faculty and staff, including our speech therapist and social worker, John gained confidence. Soon, John was the one who enlivened Monday morning meetings by asking his peers and staff about their weekends, about computer and cell phone problems he could help them with, and about movies they’d seen.

John also gained needed job readiness skills through his coursework and three valuable internships. This training prepared John for the kind of social interaction required for success in the workplace. John obtained competitive employment at a local retailer while, simultaneously, moving into his own apartment; unaided, he learned the schedule of the bus route that takes him from one to the other. John truly found his voice.