WHEELING, W.Va – We’re one day away from one of the biggest fundraisers in the Ohio Valley!
Dancing with the Ohio Valley Stars is a night of entertainment that supports an amazing cause. For 11 years they’ve been serving children with autism in the Ohio Valley. Thursday was TJ Ullom’s sixth birthday. He likes laughing, counting and learning about the solar system, but two years ago he had trouble communicating and playing with kids in daycare. His parents Tim and Kayla had him tested for autism.
“The speech therapy started right away and not long after we started going to Augusta Levy and he started flying from there,” said TJ’s dad, Tim.
In August, Tim posted on Facebook as TJ started his new adventure.
“When you go to school, where do you go?,” asked Tim.
“Kindergarten,” exclaimed TJ.
But even at Elm Grove Elementary, TJ had some help getting adjusted.
“What was really awesome about Augusta Levy is when he started kindergarten, they had someone with him to transition him. So he doesn’t go alone, and scared and confused, and they will go as long as they feel like they need to be there,” said TJ’s mom, Kayla.
Thanks to the ABA therapy TJ received at Augusta Levy, he was able to start school on time with his peers. That’s the goal for every kid that attends the center.
“Approximately 84 percent of our graduates are in typical classrooms with no further intervention, so we’re really proud of that number and we hope to continue that,” said Staci Stephen, Director of Development at August Levy Learning Center.
That’s why fundraisers like Dancing with the Ohio Valley Stars are essential to Augusta Levy. They help offset the costs of one-on-one therapy each student who attends the Center needs.
“We were lucky to be there with the great therapists they have and uh, TJ, he blossomed with them and he’s you know, I think the sky is the limit for him now,” said Tim.