The Sarah Dooley Center for Autism operates under St. Joseph’s Villa, which has provided best-practice therapeutic and educational services to youth and children with autism for more than 30 years.  Our Early Autism program is one of the first of its kind in Central Virginia, serving children ages 2 to 5 with a medical diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.

The Importance of Early Treatment

Research shows that treatment for autism at a young age can provide the most signficant gains in IQ and overall functioning.

Supervised by a Doctoral Level Board Certified Behavior Analyst, our expert staff use intensive teaching practices to help children develop:

  • critical language and learning skills that they will need to be successful  in a school setting
  • daily functional routines
  • social and self-control skills  that can replace repetitive and challenging behaviors such as self-injury

We are committed to working with the families of children with autism to create a bridge from school to home and beyond. We offer caregiver trainings throughout the year as well as a state-of-the-art Parent Training Lab to enhance parental skills.

Program Day

We offer 3.5-hour morning and afternoon sessions.  Children can attend one of these sessions up to five days per week.

All services are based on best-practice Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) methodology.

Depending on the child’s individualized service plan (ISP), a session may include:

  • Structured teaching – a system for organizing the environment, developing appropriate activities, and establishing expectations
  • Pivotal Response Training (PRT) – a naturalistic model that teaches language, decreases disruptive behaviors, and increases social, communication and academic skills
  • Imitation exercises – imitating fine and gross motor movements, sounds and words
  • Play therapy – teaching appropriate play skills with toys and peers
  • Speech therapy – consultation available
  • Socialization – understanding and engaging in social interaction

Data is collected and monitored on a continual basis.  Regular treatment planning sessions are held for each student to track educational and behavioral progress.

Learn more

To learn more or schedule a personal tour, please submit the contact form below, or call (804) 553-3226.

Early Autism Information Request

Click here to download a printable fact sheet about Early Autism Services at St. Joseph’s Villa.

We now accept private insurance.