Get to Know Adam Dreyfus, Director, Sarah Dooley Center for Autism
Adam came to the Sarah Dooley Center for Autism in 2013 after serving the Commonwealth of Virginia as a Technical Assistance Associate at VCU’s Autism Center for Excellence. He graduated from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor’s degree in Language and Child Development and went on to earn his Master’s degree in Special Education/Applied Behavior Analysis from Columbia University’s Teachers College. A Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Adam is a published author and has presented international autism education workshops, most recently in Belarus.
Q: Why did you choose to work at St. Joseph’s Villa?
A: I viewed this position as an opportunity to demonstrate that high quality research-based education can be delivered outside of clinical
settings. The Villa and the Sarah Dooley Center for Autism are deeply rooted in the community in many ways and are affiliated with public schools, which I found very appealing.
Q: What inspired you to work in the field of autism education?
A: One of my goals in life is to find the area of greatest need, and match it with my greatest skill. When I decided to transition from my career as a TV producer, I asked myself what it is I do best. I worked with kids almost my whole life, many with special needs and specifically autism. I went back to school for education, earned my Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis, and began my new career in autism education.
Q: What do you find most rewarding about your work?
A: Teaching a child a skill that opens up their world.
Q: What is your biggest accomplishment as Sarah Dooley director so far?
A: In a very short time, I believe I built a team of educators that’s one of the best in the area.
Q: Who is your biggest role model?
A: My grandfather worked as a civil rights attorney in Mississippi. He taught me that doing the right thing, even when unpopular, is still the right thing. That lesson drives me to provide education and advocacy for children with autism every day.
Q: What are your hopes for the school’s future?
A: I hope the Sarah Dooley Center for Autism will continue on its upward path of serving the community and working closely with public schools. I see our school helping to train teachers in the public schools, and showing that world-class services for students with severe disabilities is attainable by any school division. I believe in the public school model. Children should be educated in schools closest to their homes. Our goal is to help kids be successful where they live.