Meet Daniel: a true Texas Star

Daniel smiling on his 6th BirthdayEaster Seals North Texas has been quite busy this year. Ever since we merged with the DFW Center for Autism last January we’ve been able to serve even more children with disabilities in our community.

One of our new programs is the Texas Star Academy (TSA) in Grapevine, a full-day preschool for both typically developing children and children diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. TSA is a replication of the Walden model at Emory University. It provides services within a highly structured and supportive environment, targeting skills that are typically difficult for children with autism: communication, socialization, and appropriate engagement throughout the day. Children in the preschool receive services within an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) construct and have the opportunity to interact with neuro-typical peers since it is an inclusive setting.

One child that has benefited from services offered at TSA is Daniel. He began attending the ABA program in the summer of 2007 showing severe deficits in social interaction, communication, and play skills. With a well-tuned behavior intervention program and a lot of dedicated intervention by his parents, Daniel learned to communicate very effectively, made several friends, and blossomed in all areas in the years that followed.

Daniel graduated from the program in 2009 and last year attended a regular kindergarten program in a local public school with no additional assistance in the classroom required. He returned just for the summer this year alongside some of the friends he made at Texas Star Academy as a typical peer for our students needing ABA support.

Daniel’s brother attends also as a typically developing student in the program and the two boys are very popular with all of the children. Daniel and his family are truly giving back by sharing his amazing friendship skills and love with all of us here at Texas Star Academy, and TSA has been a wonderful complement to the other programs here at Easter Seals North Texas, including the Autism Treatment Program, Outpatient Rehabilitation Program, and our Respite Care Services.


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  1. Barbara Gaither Says:

    My son, Scottie and I had the distinct pleasure of visiting this center in Grapevine in March of this year. It was an amazing experience. The center is just beautiful, mostly because of the wonderful people working there and the adorable children they are impacting on a daily basis. We are true supporters of the idea of early intervention due to the difference it made in Scottie’s life and we were so thrilled to see so many wonderful things going on at the center in Grapevine. Scottie made several new friends and enjoyed helping out with the little ones during some of their activites. Keep up the good work and I feel certain there will be many more storied like Daniel’s to be told.
    Barbara Gaither

  2. Marie Says:

    A great example of the importance of early intervention. Thanks for posting.

  3. Juan Rodriguez Says:

    It was nothing short of extraordinary being able to watch Daniel learn so many skills while he attended TSA. TSA and staff, thank you for all your hard work and dedication! 🙂

    Daniel loved going to TSA and still does!

    You can watch videos of Daniel by visiting the website that we develop to tell his story.

    The Rodriguez Family

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