Kaia... She was diagnosed at 6 months old with severe epilepsy, had open heart surgery and had hundreds of seizures each day. By the time Kaia started at Achievement Academy she was weak and could not communicate at all. Our little girl was completely dependent on others for even the most basic needs.
Now, three years later, she is nothing like the child she used to be. Because of the dedication and work from everyone at the school, Kaia is now able to sit up, crawl, help with her feedings and even pull up into a standing position. Today she can respond to the sound of my voice, she kisses her daddy on the cheek and she can wrap her arms around us to show affection. I know in my heart, she never would have been able to do this if it were not for the help she has received from Achievement Academy. By Kaia's mom, Ansley
Joshua... Somewhere between 12 –14 months old, something changed and the baby that would gaze into your eyes, smile and laugh, slipped away. He would soon be diagnosed with severe speech apraxia (difficulty transmitting the speech message from his brain to his mouth) full body apraxia, developmental delays and mild autistic tendencies.
At Achievement Academy, extraordinary teachers helped ensure that he would reach his goals. Joshua received one-on-one, specialized therapies and most importantly he was given love each day. Our son would not be where he is today if it were not for the school. Recently, Achievement Academy along with the Kiwanis Club of Winter Haven gave Joshua the most precious gift… his own Augmentative Communication device. This truly has given him “a voice in life”. By Joshua's mom, Tracey
Erin... There was a long list of “problems” but no diagnosis. Doctors were unable to give answers and I was afraid no one was going to be able to help our little girl learn and develop. She was different… what kind of future did she have, would anyone love and accept her?
That’s where we were when Erin came to Achievement Academy. It became very clear that the experienced teachers, highly skilled therapists and the loving environment were the perfect fit for our little girl. Their commitment to Erin’s future was something we will never forget.
Today, Erin can write her name, read a few words and loves the computer. We still don’t have any clear answers but Achievement Academy taught us that Erin can learn and that she has a bright future. Achievement Academy has given us hope and confidence for the road ahead. By Erin's mom, Teresa
Jordyn... The birth of a baby is typically a life altering experience, but it is greatly magnified when the doctor tells you that your new baby has Down Syndrome. In the midst of this realization, we chose to believe that she would accomplish all that the doctors said she never would. Our search for help led us to Achievement Academy. There we found people who saw the potential in our child and worked lovingly and diligently to bring out the best in her. It is an extremely supportive environment where independence is encouraged.
Achievement Academy’s motto is “We believe, they achieve.” Just as this school believes, Jordyn continues to achieve. She is walking, communicating and getting ready for “real” kindergarten very soon! By Jordyn's mom, Lesila
Taylor... I did not know that Taylor would have Down Syndrome until the moment she was born. We were terrified! I felt so lost and devastated… I did not know what to do.
Then I found Achievement Academy. They became my life line. They loved my daughter exactly the way she was. They had high expectations of Taylor and insisted that we do the same. Because of each and every person at the Achievement Academy, my daughter's future is bright. She CAN DO and BE ANYTHING she wants to be.
This great school didn't only change the life of a special little girl, it changed the life of her whole family...they gave us our hope back. There aren't enough words to say thank you for that! By Taylor’s mom, Rhonda
Evan... At 2 1/2 years old we had concerns. Evan had been diagnosed with significant developmental delays and would hardly eat anything. He was slow to crawl, to walk and could not do many physical activities that other children his age could do.
The teachers and therapists at Achievement Academy seemed to understand what was going on with Evan and had a plan to help him. They knew he needed academic stimulation as much as he needed therapy. At Achievement Academy he received an excellent balance of both.
Today, Evan is a bright, outspoken young boy. He is learning to read, to write his name and do many other things children his age are doing. We are truly grateful for the impact Achievement Academy has had on Evan’s life and ours. By Evan’s dad, Andy
Charlie... At 2 pounds, 4 ounces, Charlie literally fit in the palm of our hand. Her journey at Achievement Academy began when she was only 4 months old.
Charlie had a rough start to life that included many obstacles to overcome. Learning to crawl and walk took much time and effort. Last year she was able to join a local cheerleading squad and had the time of her life! We truly believe that if it weren’t for Achievement Academy and United Way, Charlie would not be where she is today. By Charlie’s mom, Lauren
Hailey... Born premature and weighing only 2lbs, 11oz, I’ve never seen anyone that small! Nine months and several surgeries later, it became very clear that Hailey was severely developmentally delayed.
We were not sure when she would ever walk, talk or eat on her own but during her first few weeks at Achievement Academy, she began to blossom. Recently her feeding tube was removed because she’s learned to eat by mouth. She has also started “babbling” and yes, she is WALKING!
When I think of the people at Achievement Academy, I don’t think of them as staff members but as our extended family. They all share in our victories, big and small, and they stand by us when setbacks occur. We are so blessed. I don’t know where Hailey would be without them. By Hailey’s mom, Rachael
Joseph... In 2007, Joseph came to the Achievement Academy with several developmental delays. He immediately began to receive many therapies available at the school, becoming more independent and accomplishing many goals set out for him.
During this time, Joseph also had to deal with the death of his mother and the transition to a new home with us, his Aunt and Uncle. The staff was very loving and supportive to his needs and worked diligently to keep him on the right track. They believed…. and he achieved.
I am so proud! Joseph is graduating this year and heading off to KINDERGARTEN. As an employee of Achievement Academy, I have always known that we strive to find the greatest potential in EVERY child. Seeing the accomplishments that my nephew has achieved just re-affirms that Achievement Academy strives for the very best for every child and their family. By Joseph’s Aunt Destiny
Sarah & Rachel... At 23 weeks pregnant we were told that our twin girls, Sarah and Rachel, would be born with a genetic disorder. Not long after they were born, multiple seizures began and their development came to a halt.
Not many people in my life could relate to what it was like to be the caretaker of two special needs children. That changed when the girls began to attend Achievement Academy. No longer was it just my husband and I trying to take care of these special girls, it was a whole group of people from teachers to therapists and even administrators. It allowed us to become a family again.
This school is full of people who are truly dedicated to the work they’re doing and it is phenomenal work. Being at Achievement Academy I have realized that my girls are not just people who need care, they have their own mark to leave on the world. By Sarah & Rachel’s mom, Mary