Transformations at ATC
Our students are making transformations every day, but there are other things transforming at ATC as well! Our San Antonio school was gifted with 5 butterfly habitats and 32 caterpillars from the parents of one of our students.
Robert & Liz Brown saw how much their son, James, enjoyed the small butterfly kit that was given to him, and decided they wanted all of our students to experience the same joy.
The students have enjoyed watching the process of the caterpillars changing into butterflies. One student now enjoys taking pictures of them in the garden! Releasing the butterflies into the garden and still seeing them days later has prompted more questions from the students and has given us the opportunity to do more research with them about butterflies and how we benefit from having them. The natural curiosity this has brought out in students (and staff!) has been wonderful to see!
We're so grateful for the thoughtful support of the community of parents at ATC that help make learning opportunities like this possible.
Last spring, ATC launched a fundraising campaign to build a teaching garden for our San Antonio school. Thanks to the generous individuals who contributed to this project, our students are now “digging” their new outdoor classroom. Special education teacher, Rashele Hoyer, has developed a curriculum that uses garden experiences to teach math, language, art, and, of course, science.
The first plants to go in were herbs - lavender, basil, mint, rosemary, lemon thyme, and many more. Students are not only learning how to care for the plants, they are learning to enjoy them, too. Bryan (below shown watering) loves to eat basil so much he often chooses to go to the garden and pick fresh leaves as his preferred activity when he completes an assignment.
The garden was professionally designed by one of our friends, Annette Paulin, who included features like wicking tubs that would help students learn about ecology and water conservation. Annette also helped our staff, their family members, and other community volunteers build the garden, overseeing every detail and providing follow-up support to make sure the plants got off to a good start.
The purpose of the garden is about so much more than teaching our students to grow plants. Gardening helps them build confidence and develop independent living skills they’ll need to live and work in the community after they graduate.
Like many of the tools and resources ATC uses in our programs, this garden was made possible by the monetary gifts, in-kind donations, and volunteer service from our friends in the community. To learn how you can help with other projects that improve the lives of children and adults with autism, contact Carrie Nelson in Dallas (email@example.com) or Cynthia Hamilton in San Antonio (firstname.lastname@example.org). There are many ways you can make a difference!
Anna Hundley, told me she would give me 60 days, and then evaluate me. I’m still waiting for that evaluation!
What has kept you at ATC for 40 years? Honestly, it was the individuals who took my heart. My love for the kids kept me here. My motto is “give them the best quality of life possible,” and I have just always wanted to be around to make sure that happened. Also, I loved watching Cedric interact with the kids. He’s now the Environmental Coordinator and Contact Tracer for ATC.
What do you enjoy doing outside of ATC? I love traveling! I collect jewelry and watches, as well as art from all the places I travel. I’ve been to Africa, Australia, Europe, and most recently (before the pandemic) on a trip to the Virgin Islands. I also collect masks (about 75 now) from all the countries I visit. I want my next trip to be to Dubai after the pandemic is over. I also want to travel around America in my retirement.
Thank you, Tuffy, for your years of service and the lifetime of love you’ve given our individuals!
Several of the adults in our Dallas program enjoy volunteering in the community, but due to the pandemic all activities were put on hold for the past year. We are all very excited to get back out there and have begun volunteering with Meals on Wheels again!
We asked a few of the adults: Why do you like volunteering with Meals on Wheels?
"I like it because I like to get out and help the older ladies." - BP
"I like to help the handicapped." - LW
"To help the older people and homeless people." - LL
In addition to delivering meals, the adults are also helping local pets! Families receiving groceries from the local food bank are able to pick up food for their pets as well. The adults volunteer by packaging dog and cat food to be delivered for distribution at the food bank.
When the COVID-19 vaccine became available for the general public, we heard from parents who were concerned their child's challenging behaviors would keep them from getting the vaccine.
Thanks to our partners in Dallas and San Antonio - DMS Pharmacy, Tom Thumb, The Perot Foundation - we are providing sensory-friendly vaccine clinics in both communities for youth and adults with autism and their family members. For dates and registration information on upcoming ATC vaccine clinics, visit www.atcoftexas.org/vaccine
We know how hard the children and parents in our programs have worked towards their goals and it has been a priority to make sure the progress that has been made isn't lost. We appreciate the patience and support of the clients and families who have put their trust in us.
Each of our 3 therapy clinics are now open.