Testimonials 2017-08-30T11:30:01+00:00


Read what others are saying about Academy360

“It was scary and overwhelming not only being first-time parents, but parents of a special needs child. We had high hopes when Billy was born! What song would he dance to at his wedding? Would he share his dad’s love of music? At 2 1/2 we got the autism diagnosis. Our hopes and dreams were replaced with, ‘Will he ever speak or feed himself?’ Little league and Cub Scouts were replaced with Individualized Education Plan and researching schools. Then we found Academy360. I have seen my child make amazing progress. Academy360 gave us hope for the future and is providing an amazing education. I am most thankful for Academy360 preserving Billy’s spirit! He is a very happy child who loves other people and Academy360 has continued to nurture his social skills. He has even started flirting! There are no words available to capture the gratitude we feel towards Academt360 for making us part of their family.”
Suzanne Delaney, Parent
“If I hadn’t gone to Academy360, I don’t think I would have become my genuine self. Through art, I learned to express myself. I’d always been interested in art, but at Academy360 my interest expanded. The teachers always encouraged me and I learned to look at things from different angles and explore lots of mediums. I even helped the art teacher come up with ideas for lessons for the younger students. It has always been my dream to be an animator; to combine traditional and digital methods and get people to think about animation in a different way. I started studying art at community college this year, but I still come to Academy360 three days a week. The teachers are very flexible and let me do my college homework. They are always there to help if I have a question.”
Breanna Hannan, YAP Student
“When Alex was 11, if asked if I anticipated any major changes, I would have said no. Alex had been at a special education school for nine years and had made impressive progress except in the area of socialization. He hadn’t had a play date since he was a toddler. In July 2014, Alex started at Academy360. I didn’t have any huge expectations except that Alex would be exposed to more kids, enjoy more specialty classes like cooking and horticulture, and his commute would be a lot shorter. Much to my disbelief, by springtime Alex was expressing interest in FRIENDS! He listed nine boys that he wanted to get together with, insisting that they were friends. Through Academy360, I reached out to the parents of the boys, and successfully scheduled some play dates. Alex is having a Bar Mitzvah soon and he has nine Academy360 friends coming. His greatest wish is that ‘they get to the service early and sit in the front row.’ He says that he can’t wait to ‘introduce my friends to my cousins’. Whatever Academy360 is doing to help students socialize, I hope they keep doing it!”
Jodi Wiseman, Parent
“This is my second year in the YAP. I’m learning a lot in my social skills class, like how to communicate in a work environment and in the community. I feel more self-confident now…more comfortable being myself. I know I have lots of good qualities, and when I’m in a down mood, I’m now able to remember those good qualities and it makes me feel better. Some other classes that are teaching me important skills for my future are Travel Training, so that I can make my own transportation arrangements, and Career Education, where right now I’m learning how to use a credit card and read bill statements. This year I’m working at St. Barnabas Medical Center filing patient records and also auditing an ‘Intro to Film Study’ class at a community college. I plan to enroll next year as a film major. I am also learning to cook and drive because YAP helped me to realize that it is better to prepare for my future now so that I’ll be ready to take the next step.“
Sam Edelsack, Student
“When Joseph was in Middle School he struggled with negative behaviors that hindered his progress, especially when it came to connecting with his peers. After discussions with Academy360 staff, we decided to move Joseph to the high school a bit earlier than his peers to provide more of an educational challenge. We were nervous about this move, wondering if he would be successful academically and mature enough to meet high school expectations. Due to Academy360’s dedicated staff, Joseph has made steady progress since day one. Their hard work and expertise have helped develop Joseph’s academic, social, speech, problem solving, and pre-vocational skills. And, Joseph no longer has a one-to-one aide! As his parents, we feel this is a true testament to his continuing growth.”
Al Silver, Parent
“Academy360 is my home away from home. I attended Academy360 for middle school and then went to public school. But I’ve been coming to Academy360 for the Adult Enrichment Program since it started in 2011. I’ve taken lots of interesting classes during that time, like cooking, cake decorating, art, movie making, photography, and advanced travel training. Attending the program has helped me to become more independent, figure out what I really enjoy in life, and make new friends. It has helped me to become a better person in society. I’m really interested in cooking and have even had the chance to assist in preparing dinner for the other people who attend Adult Enrichment. Chef Matthews thinks I’d do great working in food service, and I’m thinking about it as an option.”
Zach Rodriguez, Student
“It is hard to believe that 10 years ago we entered the doors of Academy360. It was an act that has ultimately opened many more doors for Vincent over the years and will open more in the future. Doctors thought Vincent would never speak and learn, but 19 years later this young man won the 2011 New Jersey Governor’s Award in Student Arts Excellence (Media, Video), and attends Academy360’s YAP program and a community college part time studying broadcasting. His participation in the FilmAcademy360 program turned Vincent’s school experience around. He found his niche and grew as a person as a result of the self-esteem he gained from being good at something. He’s working in the FilmAcademy360 studio part time and is on his way to a potentially successful career as a video editor. He now has friends and feels more comfortable socializing. FilmAcademy360, Mr. DiIanni, and the entire Academy360 ‘family’ made this dream a reality! Never give up your dreams!”
Virginia Lissandrello, Parent
“My husband and I are very thankful that Sarah is at Academy360. I am especially thankful for the wonderful professionals in the Behavioral Intervention Department (BID). Sarah’s aggressive behaviors began about 18 months after she started at Academy360. We didn’t know it then, but this was coinciding with the onset of puberty, a common cause of aggressiveness in children on the spectrum. It was so out of character for her, we were at a loss as to what to do. In stepped the BID staff! They helped us develop programs to help Sarah at home in addition to all of the work they were doing with her at school. From daily schedules to social stories, the staff in the Behavioral Intervention Department was essential to Sarah’s success. Sarah has come a long way in controlling her aggressions. We have gone from having good days, to having good weeks, and even good months! We are so proud of her, and so thankful for all the help we received from the Behavioral Intervention Department and the rest of the staff at Academy360!”
Barbara O’Connell, Parent
“Christopher has thrived ever since he entered Academy360 for preschool. The trained, knowledgeable staff at Academy360 has taught him so many things that are incredibly valuable and essential for his quality of life. Since Chris is nonverbal, one of those things was the use of PECs (Picture Exchange Communication System). Christopher was struggling with learning sign language, which was causing great frustration for him. When his teachers and therapists at Academy360 and at home began to implement PECs, Christopher took to the process immediately. He was elated to have the ability to communicate his needs and wants with everyone around him! Chris continues to make progress in mastering the phases of the PECs program. His teachers and therapists are in constant communication with his home team and provide training and support whenever necessary. Chris is currently building sentences using his communication book!”
Kristy Schroeder, Parent
“Respite was a very scary word for me. In his 12 years of life, Max had only spent one night away from us. So when Academy360 staff approached me to have Max participate in Respite, I politely declined. They explained that Max needed to have this experience in order to develop a sense of self as well as peer identification. I signed the paperwork. Throughout the Respite, I sent little emails to staff to check on him. I was reassured that he was fine. I slept in my clothes that night with my cell phone on my chest. If my boy needed me, I would be there. But I learned something that night that I needed to know. Max did not need me because he was with his Academy360 family. He had the best time of his life! This year, Max participated in Respite again. I knew that everything would be okay because the staff loves him almost as much as I do. Academy360 is giving me my son back.”
Dorene Zacher, Parent