From the Founder
Almost two decades ago, I embarked on an exciting, challenging, and life altering journey to serve children with autism spectrum disorder. After years as an early intervention teacher in a public school, I was completely sold on the concept that children with ASD are best served when intervention is provided in natural environments, based on the individual needs of the children.
This journey was exciting because any of you familiar with children with ASD know that “our kids” bring massive amounts of passion for the things they love or feel they need. This passion manifests in many forms, leaving the adult on alert at all times expecting the unexpected. “Our kids” are shaping the future of treatment and education for children with ASD.
The journey was challenging because I could not move past the common sense notion of educating children with severe social deficits in anything but age-typical social settings. The simplicity of my thinking required years of research and systematically applying innovative general and special education strategies to create an effective inclusion model. At times the challenge seemed too daunting, but the dedication of a group of committed people with a common goal was a mighty force and not to be underestimated.
The life altering leg of this journey was a result of the indefinable richness I receive from walking this journey with the most incredible children, parents, and colleagues. Every day I have the privilege of sharing life with children who use more courage facing fears in one day than I’ve used in a lifetime. I have the privilege of hearing a child’s first word and seeing her write her first sentence. I feel honored when one of our teens tells me how much he loves Oakstone because he finally has friends. I see promise when one of our high school students tells me that he is going to college to be a teacher so he can come back and teach at Oakstone. I am humbled by the grace that parents demonstrate by pulling themselves up and addressing their child’s needs and yet caring enough to want other children to have the same wonderful opportunities for growth. I am inspired by the dedication, intelligence, creativity, and servant hearts of the people I have the privilege of working beside every day.
This has been, and will continue to be, an amazing journey. A journey that embraces the strength of the human spirit, not only its power to overcome, but also to reach past ourselves to love and serve others. It is truly my honor to work with the children, families, and colleagues that make up CCDE and Oakstone Academy. It is within this work that the pre-existing limits imposed on children with ASD are being ignored and re-established allowing the impossible to become the possible one child at a time.
Rebecca Morrison, Ph.D.
Co-Founder CCDE/Oakstone Academy