Social Skills Groups – Tuesdays Feb 6-May 22, 5:30-6:30pm

Social Skills Groups for students ages 5 to 18 years old

We have weekly Social Skills Groups all school year long. Students meet every Tuesday evening from 5:30pm to 6:30pm. 

How to Sign Up

Spring Social Skills is full, if you would like to be put on the waitlist, please email Tammy Goddard at 

About Social Skills Groups

Our Social Skills Groups are designed for students who need coaching in peer relationships and conversations. If your child is able to converse with others but may need prompting to initiate or respond to peers, he or she is our ideal participant.

During Social Skills Groups, we use the principles of Verbal Behavior and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). 

Each group session consists of fun social games and activities. However each activity includes learning opportunities that are specifically designed to focus on intensive instruction that supports peer-to-peer socialization. Intensive instruction is embedded into activities. And it is derived from evidence-based concepts of verbal behavior and behavior analysis. Moreover, intensive instruction focuses on developing the necessary skills needed to initiate with and respond to peers.

Each session is supervised by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). And the group conversations and verbal skills are facilitated by applied behavior therapists.

We have created 2 types of specialized social skills groups to best fit different student’s social needs. One group is a best fit for children who are conversational but require extra help and prompting to socialize. And the second group facilitates basic social skills for students who need more intensive instruction to interact with peers.

We are also developing a social skills class which will focus on more subtle issues such as bullying, personal space, perspective taking, etc. All classes will meet on Tuesdays from 5:30pm to 6:30pm. An interview with parents will help determine the best group for your child.


Cost: $200 for this Spring Session 2/6-5/22 Tuesdays 5:30-6:30 pm



Social Skills Group for older studentsSocial Skills Group for younger students





Open Door Learning Center’s OPEN HOUSE on March 3

Open Door Learning Center Preshcool: Open House on March 3 from 1-3pm

Join us at Open Door Learning Center Preschool Open House on Saturday, March 3 from 1-3 pm. You’ll have the chance to You’ll have the chance to meet our awesome staff, tour our school, and learn about our curriculum. Your child can also enjoy fun activities, arts and crafts, and have their face painted! The Disney Princess, Belle, will also be making a special appearance! 

Where: Open Door Learning Center
The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus 
601 Catoctin Circle, NE 
Leesburg, VA 20177


Annual Meeting – Feb 27

The Arc of Loudoun on Paxton Campus requests the honor of your presence for our

Annual Meeting
On Tuesday, February 27th, Two Thousand Eighteen
At Six O’clock in the Evening

The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus
ALLY Advocacy Center
601 Catoctin Circle, NE
Leesburg, Virginia

Come enjoy a light dinner, drinks, and connecting with The Arc of Loudoun family. We will elect our new slate of Board of Directors,  share  “2017: Year in Review,” present the Beth Mills Special Service Award and Rick Berry Professional Award, 

Thank you for what you do to empower, embrace, and engage children with disabilities and their families. 

Please RSVP by February 22nd to

Morgan Payne
Telephone: 703.777.1939  ext 106

Preschool to Kindergarten Transition Workshop – April 25th

Before the Bus Starts Coming: Still Deciding If You Will Send Your Preschooler to Kindergarten?

TOPIC:  This is the workshop for parents and families in the community who are having a difficult time deciding on whether or not to send their child to Kindergarten

SPEAKERS: Lori Padgett, Special Education Supervisor, ECSE and Karin Spencer, Consulting Teacher in the Office of Special Education 

WHEN:  Wednesday, April 25, 2018; 6:00 pm 

WHERE:  ALLY Advocacy Center on Paxton Campus
  601 Catoctin Circle, NE
  Leesburg, VA  20176

FREE, No registration required. 

Questions:  Eileen Shaffer

EMAIL: TEL: 703.777.1939 ext. 208 


Parent Support Group meets May 1; 5:30pm-6:30pm


Interested in joining our Parent Support Group? Please contact Eileen Shaffer at:

Are you the parent or caretaker of a child with a disability or special needs?  Do you wish you could talk with other parents who are in similar situations? Please consider joining our Parent Support Group!

Parent Support Group will meet the first Tuesday of each month of the School Year and coincide with Social Skills Group. While your child attends Social Skills Group, you are welcome to join a network of other parents. PLEASE NOTE: Your child does not need to be enrolled in Social Skills to attend.

Upcoming meetings: 

Tuesdays from 5:30pm to 6:30pm

October 3

November 7

December 5

January 2

February 6

March 6

April 3

May 1

Parent groups can serve many purposes, but one of their most important can be to introduce families to others like themselves, building a sense of community and of understanding. 

For more information on this group, please contact Eileen Shaffer at:

Pathways to Justice Training II; May 12

Pathways to Justice Training II

Addressing key barriers to justice for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and discussing practical solutions that work best for them

WHEN: May 12, 2018 | 10am-3pm

WHERE: 906 Trailview Blvd, Suite A, Leesburg, VA 20175 (in the ASPEN Conference Room)

WHO: Individuals served who access the community at large without a support person

REGISTRATION REQUIRED, MUST SUBMIT BY MAY 4, 2018, email Roger Younker ( for registration.


-Internet Safety
-Keeping Yourself Safe – Presented by law enforcement 
-Lunch Provided
-Knowing Your Rights- Your rights and responsibilities when stopped by the police
-Role Playing Scenarios- How to respond to others in the community 

SPONSORED BY: Loudoun County Department of MHSADS


The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus – ALLY Advocacy Center
Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office
Bonnie Hoffman and Genevieve Miller – Attoryneys


Check out images from our first Pathways to Justice Training here.


  • Internet Safety
  • Miranda Rights and what to do if you are stopped by the Police
  • LUNCH (provided)
  • Role Playing Scenarios – how to respond to others in the community
  • Small Group sessions with law enforcement

Decoding Dyslexia – May 16, 7pm

Decoding Dyslexia

This is monthly series of speakers and discussion, aiming to raise dyslexia awareness and  empower families to support their children with dyslexia.

The next workshop is on Wednesday, May 16 at 7pm. 

Topic Dr. Rachna Varia from MindWell Psychology “Interpreting Test Results”

Register here. 


For more information on Decoding Dyslexia, please search “Decoding Dyslexia Virginia” on Facebook or email

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Future 2018 Dates: 

  • No meeting in June 

Questions?  Please contact Eileen Shaffer at or call 703.777.1939 x 206

For more information on Decoding Dyslexia, please search “Decoding Dyslexia Virginia” on Facebook or email




Music at the Manor – May 19, 2018

Music at the Manor Festival | Saturday May 19, 2018, Rain or Shine

music at the manor festival loudoun leesburg

Come experience Music at the Manor Festival, a day-long celebration of
family, friends, food, and of course, live music—from blues to contemporary to rock. 
All proceeds benefit The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus as we together
empower, embrace, and engage children with special needs and their families.

When: Saturday, May 19, 2018 from 11 am to 8 pm
Where: Historic 17-acres at Paxton Manor in Leesburg, Virginia
What: Featuring bands, food, wine, beer,
local artisans, raffle, kid’s activities
Tickets: FREE – General Admission*
$20 VIP Tickets – Includes 2 drink passes
and access to VIP Hospitality Suite

The Lineup…
11:00-12:00: Rikki J and the Blue Rhythm
12:30-1:30: Willie White
2:00-3:00: Never Born To Follow
3:00-3:30: Jack Squared
3:30-4:30: Stone Cold
5:00-6:00: Juliana MacDowell
6:30-7:45:The Voodoo Blues

*RSVP Appreciated

Free parking is available onsite. The event will occur rain or shine. Bring your lawn chairs.
Please note: No outside food or drink allowed at event. 

Thank you to our generous sponsors, vendors, and raffle donors! 



Food and Beverage Vendors

Raffle Donors

5 Tara | Anytime Fitness | Be Beauty | Benton Family | BurgerFi | Copperwood Tavern Crystal Mills | Eagan Family Exit Plan | Firework’s Pizza | Ford’s Fish Shack | iFlyJennifer Alves | Ketterman’s Jewelers | La Villa Roma   Paisano’s Pizza | Play it Again Sports | Tarara Winery | Victory Martial Arts | Wegmans

music at the manor festival leesburg loudoun music at the manor festival leesburg loudoun music at the manor festival leesburg loudoun music at the manor festival leesburg loudoun



DMV comes to The Arc of Loudoun; Jan 10th; 12pm-4pm

ALLY Advocacy Center is bringing DMV to you!!! We are thrilled to announce that DMV-Connect will be setting up shop in the ALLY Advocacy Center building on the Paxton Campus on Wednesday, January 10th from 12pm-4pm (by appointment only)

How to Schedule an Appointment

**Please contact Eileen Shaffer at or 703-777-1939, ext. 208 for an appointment. To be eligible for an appointment, you must have a family member with a disability.

About DMV-Connect

DMV-Connect is an outreach program of the Department of Motor Vehicles that connects Virginians to services who may not be able to travel to or wait in line at a traditional DMV office.

If you have a family member with a disability and would like to get them an Identification Card (even if they are under 15 years old), they now offer the opportunity to get an indicator on the card designating the following categories: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Intellectual Disability, Hearing Impairment, Speech Impairment and Insulin-dependent diabetic. This a great, proactive way to insure that First Responders are notified of the disability. Please note that in order to do this, you must bring a doctor’s evaluation or note that lists the diagnosis.

They will also be able to conduct other services including: Virginia State IDs, Veterans IDs, Child IDs, Driver’s licenses, Disabled parking placards and Vehicle titles and registrations. To avoid long waits, we are scheduling appointments for this service.

**Please contact Eileen Shaffer at or 703-777-1939, ext. 208 for an appointment. To be eligible for an appointment, you must have a family member with a disability.

Documents to download before your appointment:

Futures Planning on June 21- Resources for Individuals with Dual Diagnosis, Navigating Mental Health and Brain Injury Services

Futures Planning – On the third Thursday of almost every month Tia Marsili, Director of Trusts for The Arc of NoVa Special Needs Trust Program, (SNT) and her guests present the tools to consider when developing a plan for the future to families, siblings, adults with disabilities, and others interested.

Next workshop: Thursday, June 21 | 10:00 am – 12 pm

Topic: Resources for Individuals with Dual Diagnosis, Navigating Mental Health and Brain Injury Services 


Workshop is FREE for Members of The Arc of Loudoun, *For information on becoming a member, CLICK HERE.
$10 for Non-Members, registration required. 


Location:  ALLY Advocacy Center | 601 Catoctin Circle, NE, Leesburg, VA 20176
Questions: Contact Eileen Shaffer:


Future Topics:

June 21: Resources for Indivdiuals with Dual Diagnosis: Navigating Mental Health and Brain Injury Services 

July 12: Guardianship and Alternatives to Guardianship   

August (Date and Topic TBD)

September 20: Creative Housing Options: Panel Discussion 

October 18: DD Waivers

November 15: Managing Real Estate in a Special Needs Trust 

December 13: Social Security Benefits 

Adaptive Yoga on Saturdays

Enroll in our Adaptive Yoga for Teens (ages 12-19) with disabilities today by contacting Brigitta White at or 703.220.6239. Drop-ins are welcome!

Adaptive Yoga for Teens

When: Saturdays at 10:30am to 11:15am

Dates: Check flyer for 2018 dates!


Instructor:  Brigitta White, owner of Whole Me Programs

Location:   ALLY Advocacy Center on Paxton Campus
601 Catoctin Circle, Leesburg, VA 20176

This yoga class will increase both social and emotional health. It helps with focus, empathy, self-expression and the ability to calm the body and mind.  We use developmentally appropriate exercises for breathing, relaxing and physical body movement. This yoga series joyfully integrates yoga postures with dance, movement, music and song in a fun way!  *Participants must be able to follow basic directions and be physically mobile.


Adaptive Art Classes for Adults – Thursdays: 6:00-7:00 pm

To Register: or 703.777.1939 ext. 207

Expressions through Art

Taught by Darcy Swope and Trent Carbaugh, owners of and instructors at Birds of A Feather Art School

Adults 18+ of ALL abilities are invited to take part in this exciting instructional class that will allow you to discover your inner artistic voice. Darcy and Trent are skilled art instructors and therapists, with a great deal of experience working with people of all abilities. Each week will provide a new and exciting opportunity to try different mediums (or the same one each week if that is what you would like to do!).

WHAT: Expression Through Art: Adaptive Art Classes for ALL Abilities

WHO: Adults 18+ of ALL abilities

**Drop ins are welcome.


THURSDAYS in ALLY: 6:00-7:00PM

WHERE: ALLY Advocacy Center on Paxton Campus

COST: $10/per participant* per week for members of The Arc of Loudoun (CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT BECOMING A MEMBER)

$12/per participant* per week for non-members of The Arc of Loudoun

*limited scholarships available on case by case basis


For more information, or to register, please contact Tammy Goddard at 703.777.1939, ext 207 or


Next Chapter Book Club – Meets every other Monday

The Next Chapter Book Club (NCBC) offers opportunities for people with cognitive or developmental disabilities to read and learn together, talk about books and make friends in a relaxed community setting.

Interested in joining? Please email Eileen Shaffer at 





Mondays; 6:30pm-8pm (check dates on flyer above)

At Rust Library’s Story Time Room


To get a feel for what our meetings are like: CLICK HERE 



IMG_7250Finding ways to learn and participate in the community can be challenging for adults with intellectual disabilities.  The Next Chapter Book Club offers a great opportunity to do both and have fun.

What is it?  The Next Chapter Book Club (NCBC) offers opportunities for people with cognitive or IMG_7261developmental disabilities to read and learn together, talk about books and make friends in a relaxed, community setting.

Each group is comprised of between five and eight people. The small size ensures that each participant feels valued, and facilitates the development of strong friendships between members. Anyone may join the club, regardless of reading level and abilities.  EVEN IF YOU CAN NOT READ, you can join this group! Club members take on active roles: together they decide which books to read and how they would like to structure their get-togethers. All meetings are held in local settings, such as coffee shops and the library and will take place the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month.

In partnership with the Loudoun County Public Library and generously funded by 100 Women Strong.

Interested in joining us?  Please contact Tammy at 703.777.1939 extension 207 or

Holiday Sip & Shop – Nov 11th; 12pm to 3pm


Saturday, November 11; 12pm to 3pm

Grab your friends and join us for a fun day of shopping while helping support a great cause! Our Sip & Shop features a diverse set of vendors selling everything from creative art products, delicious foods, unique clothing & jewelry items, and so much more! Don’t miss this chance to support ODLC while you enjoy some wine & appetizers and get a jump start on your holiday shopping.



Open Door Learning Center

601 Catoctin Circle, NE – Leesburg

Unique Products & Crafts, Yummy Wine & Appetizers, and Fabulous Raffle Prizes!

Direct Sale Items and/or Handmade Goods – Jewelry, Bags, Nail Products, Food Items, Home Décor, Personalized Gifts, Candles, and much more!


Snowflake Celebration; Dec 2nd; 1-3pm


Each winter season, The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus has a holiday celebration… the Snowflake Celebration!  Join us for a visit from Santa, food and drinks, holiday music, and more!

Check out previous year’s photos HERE.

Please join us at this FREE family friendly event for the community! Saturday, December 2nd from 1pm to 3pm on Paxton Campus.

Our annual celebration of kids of all ages, all who are unique – just like a snowflake!  The Snowflake Celebration will include Santa, music, food, holiday movies, and holiday crafts to make!

Jingle Jam Dance: Friday, Dec 8th; 6pm-8pm


WHAT: Jingle Jam Dance & Social Opportunity

WHO: Adults 18+

WHEN: Friday, Dcember 8th from 6pm to 8pm

WHERE:  The Aurora School on Paxton Campus –  601 Catoctin Circle NE Leesburg, VA 20176



Come join us and have a great time with light refreshments, dancing, great music and social opportunities!

50 Faces of The Arc – Ronan

For the past four years, Ronan has been attending The Aurora School, (a year-round school for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities). His ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) Instructor, Ashley, describes Ronan as a an awesome, fun kid who’s also very loving,

“He’s always smiling and will come up and give you the biggest hug!”

exclaims Ashley.  Ashley goes on to say that the learning style at Aurora has left a huge impact on Ronan,

“Before coming here he couldn’t say much, but now he’s speaking words, and we can understand what he wants.”

Ronan is also learning how to use more verbs in his speech to convey what he needs, and will communicate with his instructors about what is bothering him instead of crying. Aurora’s unique program works for children like Ronan because they’re able to get the individual attention they need, Ashley explains,

“We genuinely care about our students and everyday we teach them appropriate skills they’ll use in their everyday life. We’re able to do all of this through ABA therapy, and I wish more people knew how our [Aurora’s] curriculum works.”

She goes on to say that because of the ABA therapy, and the dedication of the staff  Ronan is able to succeed,

“If he keeps learning at this rate, he’ll be unstoppable!”

50 Faces of The Arc – Katelyn

Katelyn was the first student to attend The Aurora School, a year-round school for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Her mom, the previous director of The Arc of Loudoun, started Aurora in 2003 along with all the other programs that are now part of The Arc. Katelyn was only eight years old when she first started attending Aurora and graduated this past August.


At Aurora, Katelyn has learned to become more accepting of changes in her environment. Her Program Director, Maureen, says,

“Before, she wanted to control everything in the environment. If she walked in a room, she wouldn’t like if the lights were turned on, or if other people were talking.”

Katelyn also wouldn’t like if things weren’t in their proper place, but can now tolerate if items have suddenly moved. Maureen states,

“If a notebook was always on the right side of her table and you moved it, she’d have to put it where exactly where it was before. She’s learning to ignore those changes now.”

Furthermore, Katelyn’s academic skills have also improved, she’s able to add and subtract double digits along with balancing a checkbook. Daniel, her ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) Instructor, also says her progress with communicating has gotten better,

“Before she had little to no communication. Now she’s clearer to understand when she speaks and is really good at answering ‘who,’ ‘what,’ and ‘where’ questions.”


Daniel says he enjoyed working with Katelyn because of her happy, outgoing, and friendly personality. He states,

“I like working with her because she challenges me and she’s taught me so much about myself. She’s also super fun and is always saying humorous things!”


After being asked why The Arc is so important for students like Katelyn, Daniel responds,

“We’re really the only school like this in this area. And without it [The Arc] a lot of things would fall apart. What we do for all the kids here is huge!”

50 Faces of The Arc – Sharon & Conner

Sharon and Conner are mother and son who’ve been a part of The Arc of Loudoun community since 2015. The pair are advocates who passed Conner’s Law in Virginia. The law ensures that both parents of children with severe disabilities will pay child support, even after the child has turned eighteen. While attending a rally in Richmond two years ago, Sharon and Conner met Melissa, The Arc of Loudoun’s now Executive Director. Since then, Melissa has provided guidance and support to Sharon and Conner about passing Conner’s Law in other states. Through ALLY (A Life Like Yours) Advocacy Center, Conner has joined Speak Up, which is The Arc’s self-advocacy and public speaking group. Sharon says that Speak Up allowed Conner to learn about advocating for himself and make friends,

“Speak Up gave Conner an opportunity to feel included and he felt like he really fit in.”

Sharon goes on to say that she is very proud to be affiliated with The Arc of Loudoun,

“I’m extremely impressed with The Arc and how much they give back. We’ve met a lot of amazing people here who all contribute so much to the community!”

50 Faces of The Arc – Crystal

Before becoming a teacher at the intentionally inclusive preschool known as ODLC (Open Door Learning Center), Crystal was a regular volunteer for The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus. Crystal explains,

“Four years ago, my daughter Autumn was getting bullied at school and didn’t have the best self-esteem, and then I heard volunteering was a good outlet.”

After searching online, and completing a survey with her daughter’s interests, Shocktober popped up online as a recommendation. Shocktober is The Arc’s biggest fundraiser of the year. The mansion on campus, Paxton Manor, is used as a haunted house where thousands of people come during weekends in October to walk through the house and get a good scare. All of the proceeds go towards one of The Arc’s programs: ALLY (A Life Like Yours) Advocacy Center. Crystal goes on to say,

“The volunteer program looked like it was also catered for adults, so I asked Autumn if I could do it too, and it became something we both got to do together.”


Both Crystal and Autumn would soon fall in love with acting as terrifying characters inside and outside of the haunted mansion where they dubbed it as “scare therapy.” One year after volunteering, they were both asked to join Shocktober’s creative side of the haunt. Crystal says,

“We jumped on board with it! We were then able to help with the behind the scenes stuff, like coming up with new ideas for the haunt.”

Soon, both Crystal and Autumn would start volunteering at more of The Arc’s community events,

“We then started doing face painting at the Spring Festival and Music at the Manor.”

Crystal, with a background in teaching preschool for the past 20 years, would also be asked to join the ODLC team in 2016.


Crystal explains that The Arc does a lot for people with disabilities, but it also helps out the community as a whole,

“I signed up to volunteer in order to help with Autumn’s self confidence and it did amazing things for her! She was having a hard time making friends and dealing with bullies, and coming here– that all went away. Everybody here accepted you no matter what.”

Without The Arc, Crystal doesn’t believe her relationship with her daughter would be as great as it is now saying,

“I wouldn’t be as happy and content. My daughter’s confidence wouldn’t be as strong as it is. And my family would still be struggling with a lot of issues. Volunteers give a lot, but get a lot back as well. I’ve gained so much from working and volunteering here–and so has my daughter.”


Crystal says her favorite thing about working and volunteering for The Arc is the outpouring positivity on campus.

“I love what they do for everybody, it’s such a positive experience! Whether you work here, volunteer here, or get services from here– everything is so positive.”


Furthermore, Crystal explains that she loves working as an instructor at ODLC, because she’s able to build the students up.

“At The Arc we say, ‘Yes you can do that.’ We help them meet their goals.” As for what she wishes more people knew about The Arc, Crystal exclaims, “I wish people knew how welcoming we are! It’s like coming home. I joke that this is my second home, because I’m here so much, but I’m here so much because I love it. This is one my favorite places in the world!”

50 Faces of The Arc – Katie

Katie has been working at The Aurora School, a year-round school for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, for the past 10 years. She began as an ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) instructor and is now the testing coordinator. She tests each of the students at Aurora so that they meet all of their required goals. Katie’s favorite part of her job is working with the students saying,

“I love the kids. I do. Since I have to prepare all the student’s individual tests, I get to know each of them really well.”


Working with all the students allows Katie to see the progress they’re making, which keeps her motivated and passionate about her job. She exclaims,

“It’s amazing to see the progress, and makes me want to come to work every day! We’re doing something good here [Aurora]. We’re literally changing lives. And not just the kids’ lives but their families’ as well.”

Through the different activities at Aurora, students are able to go on CBI (Community Based Instruction) trips, where they can practice social skills at the grocery store, restaurants, libraries, etc. Katie says,

“Because of CBI, parents are now able to take their kids to the mall or grocery store without a meltdown. They’re able to take them to out to eat for the first time. It’s made all the difference in the world in their lives.”


In addition to working as the testing coordinator at Aurora, Katie also volunteers every year at Paxton’s biggest fundraiser of the year: Shocktober. Katie has a starring role as Mawmaw Carver, one of the spooky line entertainment characters for the popular haunted attraction. She’s been a volunteer and an actor since the fundraiser began eight years ago. Katie says,

“To use my goofy skills [acting as Mawmaw Carver] to help raise that kind of money has been such an unbelievable opportunity.”

Even when she’s in character, Katie still manages to educate all the Shocktober attendees about the importance of the fundraiser stating,

“I tell people what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and where the money goes– and how it will go to good use.”


Katie is also pleased with all of the different ways that The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus helps the disability community saying,

“We have holiday parties and a Spring Festival, where children with disabilities who may not have the chance to see Santa or the Easter bunny, now get that opportunity. And it’s free and open to the entire community! We also have the Music at the Manor concerts, which is a great event for the community to come and hang out.”


In the future, Katie hopes to continue working at The Arc and help kids to the best of her ability saying,

“I feel good working here. I feel like my life means something. This place makes me feel like, ‘I make a difference.’ If I can get through to a student having a tough time, then I’ve done a good thing. It’s so worth it.”

CSI: Behavior Edition; Wednesday, Oct 25 at 7pm


Open Door Learning Center presents

“CSI: Behavior Edition”

 Discovering the “why” behind your child’s challenging behaviors and increasing positive outcomes


TOPIC:      Take the guesswork out of behavior management by observing clues to your child’s behavior and use them to solve the case of tantrums, non-compliance and other problem behaviors!

This workshop will investigate positive behavior supports to help with challenging behaviors often observed in children at home and at school.


WHERE: ALLY Advocacy Center on Paxton Campus
601 Catoctin Circle, NE
Leesburg, VA  20176



50 Faces of The Arc – Jonny

Jonny has been working at The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus for the past three years, where started as a member of STEP Up (Supported Training & Employment Program); a day support program that teaches vocational skills to adults with disabilities. He is now the Facilities Assistant for the entire campus! His supervisor, Greg, describes Jonny as goofy, honest and empathetic.

 “He’s my right hand man– I don’t know what I’d do without his help,” he says. “He’ll also do his best to pick you up when you’re feeling down and makes everybody feel good about themselves.”


At The Arc, Jonny works three times a week where his specializes in landscaping.

“He loves lawn mowing,” says Greg, “but he’ll also do gardening, weeding, painting–he’s versatile in many different skills. And if he doesn’t know how to do it, he can learn very quickly by just watching.”


When Jonny’s not working, he loves to act, sing, and dance– any form of self expression he enjoys. Greg says he and Jonny have volunteered as actors for the past three years in The Arc’s biggest fundraiser of the year, Shocktober, where thousands of people come to walk through the haunted Paxton Manor for a good scare. Greg says,

“Oh, he loves Shocktober! All year he’s asking about it, and he just loves to scare people.”


Greg explains that places like The Arc are so important for people like Jonny because it gives him job experience and legitimate references,

“We give Jonny the freedom to make mistakes, but also to learn from them. Some people will give him a job, but be on his back all day. Not here, we give him that independence.”

Greg goes on to say that Jonny’s future goal is to have a full time job,

“He wants to work every day, all the time, just like you and me. I don’t know anybody who wouldn’t enjoy working with him. He’s really a stand up young man!”

50 Faces of The Arc- Jaquan and Owen

Since Jaquan has just graduated from The Aurora School, we thought we’d share his and Owen’s story as the next #50FacesofTheArc
Both boys have been attending the school for over six years, and were immediate best friends. Together, the boys love being active and enjoy participating in P.E. class where they play sports such as baseball and flag football. But their all-time favorite game to play is the card game, “War”, which they often play together.
Both boys are very creative. One of their ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) instructors, Britney, says Owen will write lyrics to his own songs, where he’ll sign them off with: “Written and Performed by Owen”. He’ll also constantly recite lines to DVDs and Youtube videos that he watches. Jaquan is just as self-expressive, Britney says,
“He’s super imaginative and a great storyteller. He’s always making up different stories about his favorite action figures.”
Owen and Jaquan’s friendship involves more than just playing games and sports with each other. Since attending Aurora, Owen has been working on his communication skills. His instructors are teaching him about different emotions, and how to appropriately react to situations when he’s frustrated. Instead of crying when he is upset or sad, Owen will often go to Jaquan. Jaquan is then able to comfort Owen with a hug and cheer him up!
Britney says she loves working with both boys, exclaiming,
“Their friendship is so awesome, and I love that I get to be a part of it!” She goes on to state that she enjoys working with Jaquan and Owen because they have such different perspectives on life, “Jaquan, in particular, will ask hypothetical questions all the time. It’s really cool to look at things in a different way, through their eyes. They really blow my mind sometimes.”
Britney’s only wish is that more people were able to experience what it’s like working with the boys and all the Aurora students, saying
“Watching their progress and growth is amazing.”
We are so proud of both Jaquan and Owen, and we can’t wait to see each of them thrive!

50 Faces of The Arc- Winfield

Winfield is a shy, but kind, student at The Aurora School, a year-round school for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities . His ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) Instructor, Tara, says she’s seen dramatic progress with Winfield’s communication since attending the school,

“We got him an iPad to communicate and he picked up on it really quickly!”

she exclaimed. Before, Winfield would grab Tara’s arm to express his wants, expecting her to understand what he needed. But now he’s using the iPad to ask for specific things, whether it’s water or a toy.

His ABA Instructors like working with Winfield because he’s a very laid back kid, who “seems genuinely happy to be at school.” They also say he’s a very sweet student,

“He’ll express his emotions by grabbing your hand or hugging you.”

Tara explains that the teaching style at Aurora is such a huge factor in Winfield’s success because the instructors are able to provide so much support for him,

“Individual attention is unheard of at typical schools, but it’s something he completely needs. Here, he’s able to get consistent therapy, whether it’s occupational therapy or music therapy.”

Tara goes on to say that The Arc provides a lot of support for the community in general,

“We’re such a big platform for others. We’ll help parents with their kids through advocacy, and we give so many options for them that other places don’t. Anybody here will jump right in to help you if you need it!”

12 Band Jam and Ride – August 12th; 2pm-12am

12 Band Jam & Ride

Proceeds benefit The Aurora School serving students with special needs

Saturday, August 12, 2017

10:30am Kickstands up – Riders Depart

2:00pm to Closing – 12 Band Jam Lineup


Where: Spanky’s Shenanigans
538 East Market Street
Leesburg, VA 20176


$20 for motorcycle riders/$10 for passengers, includes t-shirt and lunch

Riders, come and enjoy ½-price breakfast starting at 7:30 am!

$10 admission at door for 12 Band Jam

Win fabulous raffle prizes!

50/50 raffle, restaurant gift cards, wine tastings, area merchants, and so much more!  Win this one-of-a-kind custom puzzle-piece guitar signed by dozens of music legends!  Prizes awarded every hour!

Check out the awesome lineup!

2:00 pm   Al’s Big Truck

2:50 pm   Mink’s Miracle Medicine Show

3:40 pm   Voodoo Blues

4:30 pm   Andy Hawk and the Train Wreck Endings

5:20 pm   90 Proof

6:10 pm   Shortness of Breath

7:00 pm    Fast Eddie and the Fast Lane Blues Band

8:50 pm    Silver Lining

9:40 pm    Fresh Cracked Pepper

10:30 pm  Mike and the Cyclones

11:20 pm   Bastards of Twang

12:10 am   Ricky J. and Blue Rhythm



50 Faces of The Arc- Ariel

Ariel is a giddy and joyful six-year-old student at The Aurora School, a year-round school for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Whitney, Ariel’s ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) Instructor describes Ariel as the sweetest kid in the world,

“Her personality is just phenomenal.”


For the past year that she’s attended the school, Ariel has been excelling at her various goals.

“Her communication has gotten a lot better. She has ways of letting you know what she wants and doesn’t want,”

says Whitney. Ariel is also able to name items correctly when her instructor asks her to. Whitney states,

“If I ask her to give me a fork, she’s able to find it and give it me, which she wasn’t able to do before.”

One of Ariel’s goals also includes matching items into the correct category, Whitney explains,  

“If I have a water bottle, a thermos, or just a cup she’s able to match and indicate that they’re all within the cup category.”

Currently, Ariel is working on brushing her own hair, and simple tasks like picking up her backpack and hanging it in the correct place when she’s asked.


Whitney says Aurora is able to give all kids an opportunity to be themselves since every lesson plan is made to cater the individual student’s needs. Whitney exclaims,

“Here [at The Arc], kids like Ariel are given the chance to be like any other person in the community.”

50 Faces of The Arc- Ben

Ben is a happy, softspoken employee at The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus. He has been in the STEP Up (Supported Training & Employment) Program for two years, which is a day support program that teaches vocational skills to adults with disabilities. Ben comes to Paxton three times a week where he does various tasks on campus, such as helping out in the garden or assisting with the mobile snack cart. Ben’s aid, Ginny, says since being in STEP Up, he has become much more independent,

“Before he would expect for me or his parents to do a lot of tasks for him–but now if you show him the steps, and he gets enough practice, he’ll do it himself.”


In the afternoons, Ben also participates in STEP Up’s afternoon enrichment activities. He’ll enjoy coloring or completing jigsaw puzzles, but he absolutely loves going to Old Ox Brewery where he and the other STEP Up members volunteer their time to help package the brewery’s drinks. This opportunity allows Ben to get real life work experience. Ginny says,

“After seeing him [Ben] at Old Ox, I believe he can definitely try to get a part time job. He’s a hard worker, and once he gets into the swing of things he doesn’t want to stop until the job is done.”


Besides being in the STEP Up program, Ben also volunteers at The Arc’s events outside of work. He and his family have volunteered at The Arc’s biggest fundraiser of the year: Shocktober, where he took money and tickets at the attractions.


Ginny believes The Arc is so important for employees like Ben, because they provide so many advocacy opportunities saying,

“A lot of people don’t know or understand people who are like Ben, and The Arc does a great job of reaching out to the community and educating others.”

She goes on to say that STEP Up has had an extremely positive effect on Ben and herself exclaiming,

“I enjoy being around everybody [at STEP Up] and I love that Ben loves it. He’s made his best friends here!”

Ginny goes on to say that she’s learned so much from being around Ben,

“Because of him I’ve become more patient and kind. And I’m not the only one affected by Ben–anybody who’s around him is instantly happier!”  

50 Faces of The Arc – Tine

Tine has been working for The Arc of Loudoun since 2010, where she was initially hired as the Administrative Assistant for the intentionally inclusive preschool on campus, Open Door Learning Center (ODLC), however, she’s been the Director of ODLC for the past five years. As the mother of a child with a disability, Tine loved what The Arc was doing in 2010 and said,

“I met the past Directors of The Arc and loved their passion and knew I needed to be a part of that.”


Soon after telling the Directors she wanted to join the the Paxton team, Tine left her position at another preschool and helped with the creation of ODLC from the ground up. For Tine, working at an intentionally inclusive preschool, for both children with and without disabilities, was incredibly important. She says,

“My son Kyle got kicked out of three different preschools. At ODLC I have never called a parent to pick up their child because of a behavior issue. Ever.”

Tine goes on to explain that she wants to make it as smooth of a road as possible for parents of children with behavior challenges and disabilities stating,

“It was a very, very bumpy road for Kyle growing up, and I don’t want parents, nor the children, to go through what we went through.” She goes on to say, “What I get out of this job is seeing successes. Seeing children talking who couldn’t talk before they came here. It’s seeing children playing with their peers when they didn’t before. It’s having parents know we’re here for them, too.  We’re getting kids (and their parents!) kindergarten ready, whether that’s socially, emotionally or academically.”  


ODLC started with six kids in 2010, and since then, the school has enrolled students from West Virginia to Maryland, is being referred to by the county school system, and is packed with children. The school was also given accreditation in 2012, which Tine says is her proudest professional accomplishment,

“It wasn’t my effort alone, it was a TEAM effort.”

Now, Tine and her team focus on outreach to the community which includes training other preschools about the principles of ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy. Tine credits The Arc of Loudoun for teaching her about ABA and the importance of outreach. She says,

“I got sick and tired of kids getting kicked out of schools. We’re doing something different here that works, so now I want to share what we do here with the community.”

Tine has given ABA training to preschools in the surrounding areas who will implement the teachings of ABA in their classrooms.


Seeing the successes of students is what Tine enjoys most about working for The Arc. She also loves how everybody who works for the organization wants to fulfill the same vision. She exclaims,

“We work as a team, and together make sure that the mission is accomplished! We see a need, we fill a need. And everyday at ODLC, we come in with a smile on our face, knowing we’re making a difference in the life of a child.”  


After seven years of growing the ODLC program at The Arc of Loudoun, Tine has made the difficult decision, based on personal reasons, to move to Pennsylvania. But she knows that the new leader of the ODLC team (Ms. Megan), will forward Tine’s vision and continue the campus mission.  She wishes the best for the preschool program, the children and parents at ODLC past and present, and all of the programs at The Arc, saying,

“The Arc and ODLC will always have a special place in my heart.  I’ll miss everyone dearly, but I also can’t wait to see what the future brings to the campus and ODLC!”

Social Skills Group, Ages 6-10, Summer Fun with Friends

Wednesdays from 3:30-4:30pm, June 21st-August 9th, 2017

“Summer Fun with Friends” is a once a week after school social skills program that offers a balance of brief instruction with a variety of fun indoor and outdoor games and activities to practice skills they are learning in an engaging and natural way.

  • Each group is supervised by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst
  • Skills are taught  by ABA Therapists
  • Our focus is on Peer Interaction, Conversation and Verbal Skills
  • Ideal candidates for this group are conversational but need facilitation for improved social skills

Please click here the Summer Fun with Friends Inquiry Form link to request registration.

Enrollment is determined on a first come first served basis.
Each session is $20/day or $130 for all 7 days (a $10 savings!) and is paid in advance. The Arc of Loudoun members get 1 FREE day if enrolled in all 7 days!



Workshop: PCM for Parents and Professionals; May 20th and May 21st


WHO:             Parents and professionals who work and care for individuals with behavioral difficulties

DATE:              May 20th and May 21st from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm (Participation is required for both full days)

COST:            $250

REGISTER:     Respond by May 1st  2017 to Kendra McDonald

LOCATION:     The Aurora School

601 Catoctin Circle, NE, Leesburg, VA 20176

  • Professional Crisis Management courses teach a range of verbal (non-physical) and physical strategies for managing crisis situations safely and effectively.
  • Training will include repetition of physical procedures, an introduction to behavior analysis and the function of behavior, real life discussions of scenarios, coursework, and problem solving of individual concerns.
  • Participants who meet the requirements of this course will be certified as a Practitioner 1. Certification is for a period of 1 year, and will be issued upon PCMA receiving testing and training materials, and participants passing a practical and written exam.

What is Professional Crisis Management? – reprinted from the link:

PCM is an advanced system of crisis management. Unlike other methods that teach intervention techniques only after individuals have become non-compliant, agitated or aggressive, PCM focuses primarily on prevention before a crisis occurs. PCM includes Crisis Prevention, Crisis De-escalation, Crisis Intervention, and Post-Crisis Intervention components. PCM utilizes “hands on” competency-based training and written tests to certify that individuals who receive instruction in PCM reach the highest level of skill acquisition. PCM is the only complete crisis management system available that can guarantee successful prevention and intervention with maximum safety, increased dignity and total effectiveness.

Crisis Prevention

The best way to handle a crisis situation is to prevent it before it happens!

The crisis prevention component of the PCM system teaches a wide range of nonphysical and verbal strategies for the prevention of crisis situations. Since PCM is based on a teaching and learning model, it integrates smoothly as well as complements and strengthens your existing teaching and treatment strategies. Furthermore, throughout the PCM course, an emphasis is placed on the importance of individual choice and basic human rights.

Crisis De-escalation

The PCM system is based on a cognitive-behavioral model of intervention that utilizes established research based techniques for verbally de-escalating disruptive and aggressive behaviors. The PCM de-escalation component benefits from the groundwork established during the prevention process. During the PCM training course, participants acquire skills that enable them to quickly and safely stabilize an escalating situation before it becomes necessary to physically intervene.

Crisis Intervention

PCM provides individuals with a continuum of painless physical procedures and techniques that can be utilized to intervene in a crisis situation. Specific procedures have been uniquely designed for children, adolescents, and adults. All of the procedures have been designed to maintain human dignity and to completely avoid awkward positioning and physical pain. The PCM training course teaches participants to respect the dignity and value of all human beings and to be sensitive to individual human rights and freedoms.

Post-Crisis Intervention

The PCM course teaches participants various methods of interacting (verbally) following the implementation of crisis intervention. Specific content for post-crisis intervention counseling is presented and practiced at all training courses. Participants gain skills that enable them to quickly reintegrate individuals back to their regular teaching or treatment activities. Participants obtain training in how to conduct post-crisis analysis which includes ways of improving future interactions in crisis situations.




Interfaith Spirituality Support Group Wednesdays 2017

We are accepting new members! 


What: Interfaith Spirituality Support Group. Each meeting will be facilitated by a Spiritual Companion.

WhoAll parents and caregivers of people with disabilities are welcome to join any or all of the meetings.

When: Wednesdays in 2017


1/11 morning

1/18 evening

1/25 morning

2/1 morning

2/8 evening

2/15 morning

2/22 evening

3/1 morning – Impositions of Ashes will be available at Paxton Campus on this day.  

3/8 evening

3/15 morning

3/22 evening

3/29 morning

4/5 evening

4/19 morning

4/26 evening

5/3 morning

5/10 evening

5/17 morning

5/24 evening

5/31 morning

6/7 evening


Where: In the Janney Parlor of St. James Episcopal Church: 14 Cornwall Street NW, Leesburg, Virginia 20176

Contact the Rev. Daniel Velez-Rivera  of St. Gabriel’s

Telephone:  703-779-3616


VSA Art Group for Adults; Mondays: 10am-12pm

Art Group – Targeted for ages 16 and up. These fun and creative art projects are not only a great way to express yourself, but are also an interesting way to connect with peers. Artwork will be shared and discussed with the group, offering a chance to not only discover art, but also something about yourself and each other!

Location: ALLY Advocacy Center on Paxton Campus
When: Weekly Monday 10:00 – 11:00AM
Cost: $10/session ($15 for both Studio and Group)

Open Studio – Targeted for ages 16 and up. This ongoing studio session provides an artistic outlet for people just beginning to explore their interest in the visual arts as well as those who have long enjoyed painting, drawing and other art media. Participants will enjoy meeting at area art centers to do their own work at their own pace, with an instructor on hand for tips and techniques.

Location: ALLY Advocacy Center on Paxton Campus
When: Weekly Monday 10:00 – 11:00AM
Cost: $10/session ($15 for both Studio and Group)

Creative Benefits

The growing VSA arts DaVinci Art Studio provides various exciting opportunities for people of all abilities to enjoy the multiple benefits of making art. The creative process can help focus, relax, express oneself, discover the world, and practice decision-making skills — the artist gets to chose, and they are always right!

While classes listed below are drop-in, please contact us at (540)338-7973 or contact Lisa Zimmer-Chu, VSA Artistic Director via regarding your interest in order to help with planning.

Fees are nominal (please inquire if assistance is needed) and all programs include materials.

Our Instructures and Volunteers:

Lisa Zimmer-Chu, VSA Artistic Director for the Visual Arts is also the instructor for both the DaVinci Open Art Studio and DaVinci Group. She holds a BFA in Painting from Michigan State University as well as an MPS in Creative Arts Therapy from Pratt Institute in New York. She has also served on the Board of Directors and taught at the Round Hill Arts Center.

Transition Series 2017: Canceled

Due to low registration, the Transition Series workshop is canceled. However, every month at our Futures Planning meeting we cover several of the same topics that would’ve been discussed at Transition Series. Anyone with a particular need is welcome to join the Futures Planning meetings and/or contact the ALLY Advocacy Directors for an individual consult, free of charge!
More info about Futures Planning here:


Paxton Campus will be holding its next TRANSITION SERIES for families with young adults (ages 14-22) who will soon be transitioning out of school. The seminars will have one track only, for parents (and/or guardians, caretakers, or adult siblings).  

**Attendance for both sessions is required for the parent/caretaker

This program is free for members of The Arc of Loudoun (click HERE to learn about membership) and $45 for non-members.

This 2-day workshop is a structured educational event designed to empower families and individuals with disabilities as they transition from school services to the maze of systems in “the real world.”  Each series provides educational programming in the areas of Medicaid Waivers, Social Security Insurance, Employment, Special Needs Trusts, legal authority, transportation, Law Enforcement Safety, LCPS Transition Services, Recreation, Social Relationships and Futures Planning for families with young adults with disabilities.

Last year’s program was a huge success… the parents/caretakers truly enjoyed the time they spent in the program.

Space is limited.  Click HERE for an Application.

SOCKtober – sock drive during October


A sock drive for people in need through the month of October.

Shocktober meets SOCKtober at Maggie’s Closet on Paxton Campus. We will be collecting SOCKS all October long to give to people and families in need.


Please drop off new, warm SOCKS at Maggie’s Closet dropbox (the blue drop box) located on Paxton Campus near the first stone building on the right.

Maggie’s Closet is a non-profit store for families in need. The store   provides quality clothing to families and individuals in a store-like   setting at no cost. Shoppers can come by appointment, and take   what they need, no questions asked.

Speak Up! Discussion Group – Tues, Aug 16th; 12pm-1pm

Speak Up Summer 2016

Speak Up is a self-advocacy and discussion group focused on empowering adults with disabilities to speak for themselves.

You do not need to be good at public speaking to join; You just have to be willing to try!

Some of the goals for the group are:

  • Telling YOUR story: Connecting and Sharing About Self and Community
  • Social Opportunities: Increasing Social Opportunities and Outlets
  • Understanding Speech Components and Effective Communication Styles
  • Impacting YOUR World for Systems Change

Speak Up!

Please RSVP to Melissa Heifetz, Director of Advocacy, ALLY Advocacy Center: or 703.777.1939, ext 206

WHAT: Speak Up!  Self-Advocacy and Discussion Group

WHO: Adults 18+ of ALL abilities

WHERE: ALLY Advocacy Center on The Paxton Campus

Waiver Redesign Workshop – July 26th; 7-9pm

Becky King


Tuesday, July 26th; 7pm-9pm

GUEST SPEAKER: Becky King, Director of Policy and Advocacy at
The Arc of Virginia.

The Medicaid Waiver is undergoing significant changes, all going into effect on August 1st. Join us at the ALLY Advocacy Center as Becky King from The Arc of Virginia gives us the most up-to-date information on these changes.Bring your questions or feel free to send your questions ahead of time to Eileen Shaffer at



Before the Bus Starts Coming; June 7th; 9:15am-10:30am

Before the Bus Starts Coming: A workshop for parents of soon-to-be kindergartners


Before the Bus Starts Coming

TOPICS COVERED: What is the Parent Resource Center and How Can They Help? How parents can prepare for the transition to kindergarten, how half-day kindergartners can benefit from afternoon enrichment class.

Tuesday, June 7; 9:15am-10:30am

Paxton Campus
ALLY Advocacy Center
601 Catoctin Circle, NE,
Leesburg, VA 20176

Speakers:  Pam Spiering, LCPS Parent Resource Center and Christine Favreaux, Open Door Learning Center


*CHILDCARE provided with registration*

Questions:   Eileen Shaffer, Advocacy Coordinator, 703.777.1939, ext 208 or


Food Drive for Loudoun Interfaith Relief: 6/6 to 6/16


June 6th – June 16th

Cereal, 100% Juice, Fresh Fruits & Vegetables, Canned Meats (tuna or chicken), Mac & Cheese, Peanut Butter, Hearty SoupsFood Drive 2016

Teen/Young Adult Social Group- June 9th Picnic and Outdoor Games

To attend any of these events, please contact Katie at to RSVP today!

Teen and Young Adult Social Group 2016

WHO SHOULD JOIN US?  Young Adult (ages 16-20) who  are interested in making friends!  We accept teens and young adults with and without disabilities who are looking to foster new friendships and interested in trying new activities!

What we do: Every other week we get together and have fun  doing various activities in the community.



Date Activity Location Cost
April 14th Photography Class with Ms. Tine Paxton Campus FREE
April 28th Boxing/Fitness Class with Ms. Paula Paxton Campus FREE
May 12th Hiking Red RockRegional Park FREE
May 26th Dining Restaurant- TBD $10-$15
June 9th Picnic and Outdoor Games Ida Lee Park Bring a dish!

Please contact Katie at to RSVP  today!

Facilitated by: Katie Wilcox, M.A., BCBA, LBA


Katie Wilcox

Katie Wilcox

Katie Wilcox, M.A., BCBA, LBA

Katie began working with children and adults with autism and related disabilities in 2009 at The Faison School for Autism in Richmond, VA.   Following her graduation from University of Richmond in 2011, Katie went on to continue working in the field in a variety of settings including Kennedy Krieger Institute’s LEAP Program, consulting in D.C. and VA public schools, and conducting therapy in various in-home settings.  While in VA, Katie received her Master’s Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis with an emphasis in Autism.  Katie is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and holds a provisional special education teaching license.  Katie’s interests include reduction of problem behaviors, feeding, natural environment teaching, and increasing functional life skills needed for a successful transition to an independent lifestyle.


Expression Through Art

Paint, markers, pencils, American flags and paper fill the tables in the ALLY Advocacy Center.

When you arrive at Expressions Through Art taught by Darcy Swope and Trent Carbaugh, owners and instructors at Bird of A Feather Art School, you can sit anywhere and pick which ever art materials you want to work with.

You can paint on large sheets of paper or you can draw with sharpies in your notebook. You can work in color or in black and white. You are free to create and express yourself.

As you walk in the door, everyone is greeted with a warm hello. The artists are excited to see each other and catch up about their activities over the past week.

Shortly after the hellos, blank pieces of paper begin to transform in to beautiful pieces of art. For the next hour, everyone is in art mode.

Tony creates a picture to give to his sister as a gift. Emily paints a Fourth of July cake and Sophia works on a rainbow with her favorite color yellow

Stripes, mountains, bracelets and whirlwinds of colors are just a few of the other masterpieces created at last night’s class.

As everyone is deep in their work, Darcy and Trent walk around to see how each artist is doing. Everyone is excited to show off what they have been working on.

It is beautiful and inspiring to watch the class open up their minds and express themselves on the paper in front of them. This hour is a chance to show what they have been thinking about and want to show to the world.

Check out our art gallery featuring the AWESOME art from last nights class.

If you want to join in the fun… don’t miss out on our upcoming sessions.

Expressions Through Art is adaptive art classes for adults age 18 and up. ALL abilities are invited to take part in this exciting instructional class that will allow you to discover your inner artistic voice. Each week will provide a new and exciting opportunity to try different mediums (or the same one each week if that is what you would like to do!

Independence 12 Fellowship Group

Independence 12 Fellowship Group

Amy Stone Logo

Who? Individuals who are in wheelchairs and are 16 years old and up. There will be a waiting room available for caregivers, they are encouraged to stay.


What? Independence 12 is for individuals that are seeking a path towards independence and freedom and want to self-reflect in the presence of others who have similar stories.


Where? Paxton Campus

ALLY Advocacy Center

601 Catoctin Circle NE

Leesburg, VA 20176


When? Dates: To be determined  – please contact Melissa (contact details below) for more information.







Contact Melissa Heifetz, Director of Advocacy

(703) 777-1939 ext. 206 or





Town Hall Meeting, Monday, May 9; 7pm to 9pm

Paxton Campus and Loudoun County Public Schools Career and Transition Services

Town Hall Meeting


When: Monday, May 9, 2016; 7pm-9pm

Town Hall Meeting


Paxton Campus

ALLY Advocacy Center

601 Catoctin Circle NE

Leesburg, VA 20176


This Town Hall is an opportunity for families to voice their needs and wishes for post-high school vocational training and day support services.

We want to hear your stories!

A discussion will be facilitated by Janet Clarke, LCPS Transition Specialist and Melissa Heifetz, Director of Advocacy at Paxton Campus.  We will be providing information on the status of the County’s programs to support recent graduates with disabilities who are in need of vocational training and day support services.


Sleepless in Loudoun: Helpful Strategies for Successful Bedtimes; May 11th


Sleepless in Loudoun

Open Door Learning Center presents

Sleepless in Loudoun: Helpful Behavioral Strategies for Successful Bedtime Routines

TOPIC:   Tired of being tired??  Does Suzy not want to go to bed?  Does Tommy want to be in your bed rather than his own?  Join us for this informational roundtable with parents in the community and learn some ways you can help your child go to bed and stay in bed!


WHERE: ALLY Advocacy Bldg, Paxton Campus
601 Catoctin Circle, NE
Leesburg, VA  20176



Mandy Butler, Team Lead @ ODLC

Many Butler has been working at the Paxton Campus for almost 10 years and has been with ODLC since we opened in 2010.  As a mother of two, she is all too familiar with the challenges parents can face at nighttime.

Using her practical experience and by following the basic principles of ABA, Ms. Mandy is excited to share these workshop techniques so parents AND kids can get a good night’s sleep!


Give Choose on May 3rd


With grateful hearts, we thank you! GiveChoose 2016 was a success for the programs of Paxton on May 3rd because of your generosity and extra efforts! Not only did we meet our fundraising goal, we won two prizes totaling $1,000 for having the most donors during two separate hours of the event. Paxton has the greatest donors in the world and we cannot thank you all enough. THANK YOU!

Give Choose FB Event Profile

Paxton Campus has partnered with the Community Foundation of Loudoun and 50 other local nonprofits in Loudoun in this annual day of giving.

We need your help to make this year’s campaign successful. Here’s what you can do:

1)         LIKE our facebook post to help us win $500

2)         RETWEET our pinned tweet  to help us win $500

3)         Mark your calendar for Tuesday, May 3rd.

4)         Bookmark this giving link.

5)         Spread the word! Post our giving link and your support on your social media channels.

6)         Donate on May 3rd.  **If you donate between the hours of 8am and 9am on May 3rd, you can help us to win additional cash prizes!


Your donation on May 3rd will help us continue to support and grow these programs and the communities they serve.

We are grateful for your support. Thank you for helping us do more for our community.

Workshop on Providing Meaningful Experiences in Community Settings – April 29


How to Effectively Provide Meaningful Experiences for Individuals


WHO SHOULD ATTEND:   Professionals who work with people with disabilities

WHEN:   Friday, April 29;  10am-12pm

WHERE:   ALLY Advocacy Center   601 Catoctin Circle, NE,   Leesburg, VA 20176

Registration required. REGISTER HERE



Kendra McDonald, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst at The Aurora School on Paxton Campus in Leesburg, VA.


DETAILS:   Individuals with disabilities  in our community want to participate in activities that enhance their education and promote community involvement.  Providers of these activities often face barrier behaviors that may prevent meaningful experiences.  This workshop will focus on teaching providers on how to work with individuals with challenging behaviors so that all individuals in our community can enjoy interacting with providers and participate in therapeutic and social activities within their community.


Speak Up is back!

by Jennifer Alves, Receptionist and Self-Advocate at Paxton Campus

After a long recess, SPEAK-UP! is ready to regroup and strengthen the voices of young advocates.  For the first meeting of 2016, 8 eager participants set up the ‘agenda’ and discussion rules on Tuesday, April 5th from 12pm to 1pm.

Speak Up! Public Speaking Group for Adults with Disabilities

The ALLY Advocacy Center is home-base for SPEAK-UP!   to meet on the first and third Tuesday of each month.  Members suggest we also try to group at local cafés and coffee shops.

Everything discussed at SPEAK-UP!  remains in the group.  The privacy rule makes it comfortable for members to share personal experience and/or bring up a problem they need help with.  The group will of course discuss and debate advocacy issues.  Topics include: relationships, mobility and transportation, jobs and wages, exercise and recreational activity, independent living options, and state waiver programs.

Members look forward to speaking with groups at Paxton Campus and other venues.  Most members took part in Disability Advocacy Day 2016, and enjoyed the experience of meeting with state delegates at VA’s General Assembly Building in Richmond.  More recently, members spoke to a room full of local leaders at ALLY Advocacy.

The Golden Rule is expected to be obeyed at SPEAK-UP!  Be courteous and considerate to your fellow members at all times; show respect of others feelings and opinions even when they do match your own.  Please raise your hand to speak.  Please do not chat with others when someone is talking to the group.  A member does not need to talk if they do not want to.

Melissa Heifetz mentioned an advocacy project scheduled for September.  The Loudoun Education Board will be invited to Paxton Campus to hear story’s from students with developmental challenges on what school is like or was like.

Love-ABLE Products Launch Party

Launch of Love-ABLE Product Line at Be Beauty

Leesburg, Virginia, April 11, 2016 – In recognition of Autism Awareness month, Paxton Campus and Be Beauty have partnered together for a launch party to introduce the new line of beauty and home products – Love-ABLE Products, made by the STEP Up Team, young adults with disabilities who are employees at Paxton Campus.

The Love-ABLE Product Launch Happy Hour was on Monday, April 11 from 5pm to 7pm at Be Beauty in Market Station in Leesburg.


Here are the two Love-ABLE Products that Be Beauty has started to sell in their store: Bath Fizzies and Room Deodorizer!

Love-ABLE Launch Party

“We are trying to empower young adults with disabilities, who might not be successful in another environment, to become entrepreneurs and create their own businesses with whatever interests them,” says Katie Wilcox, Program Director for the STEP Up Program.

STEP Up (Supported Training and Employment Program) provides adults with disabilities with training and meaningful employment opportunities both on-campus and in the community.  We believe that ALL adults should be involved in meaningful jobs which they enjoy and that ALL adults are capable of thriving in the workforce when provided with the right supports.

Be Beauty is Downtown Leesburg’s only custom makeup studio, with makeup, skincare, nail care products and accessories for sale.

STEP Up will be launching two products at the event: Love-ABLE Bath Fizzies and Love-ABLE Room Deodorizer.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Be Beauty for this product launch, and look forward to many more fruitful partnerships with Loudoun businesses. Be Beauty will also be hosting a ‘Spa Day’ for some women with disabilities living in Loudoun later this month,” says Jennifer Lassiter, Executive Director of Paxton Campus.

To Read the Press Release: CLICK HERE


Check out the Love-ABLE products made by the STEP Up team here:

Food for Thought – Improving Mealtime Routines: March 9th 3:45pm-4:45pm

Workshop 03.09.16 Food For Thought


Open Door Learning Center presents

“Food for Thought”:

 Increasing food selectivity and improving mealtime routines

TOPIC:             Do you have a “picky eater”?  Does sitting at the dinner table always seem to be a challenge?  Increase appropriate behaviors during mealtime routines and combat food selectivity with strategies that’ll give you “food for thought”.


 WHERE: Davis Cottage on Paxton Campus
601 Catoctin Circle, NE
Leesburg, VA  20176


RSVP: Christine Favréaux

Presenter:  Megan Allman, BCaBA, LABA – Team Lead @ ODLC

Megan Allman has been working with kids and young adults with developmental disabilities for the past eight years.  Ms. Megan completed her BCaBA coursework through the Florida Institute of Technology and became a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst in January of 2013.  She joined the Paxton Campus in February 2015 and has been the Team Lead at ODLC since the beginning of the school year.  Ms. Megan enjoys working in the field she loves and is excited to share these workshop techniques using the principles off Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).


Music Therapy for Adults: Wednesdays and Fridays

Music Therapy for Adults 2016

WHAT: Music Therapy for Adults

WHO: Adults


Adult Intermediate Learners:
Wednesdays: 10am-11am

Adult Beginner Learners:
Fridays: 10am-11am


$10/per participant per week for non-members of The Arc of Loudoun

WHERE:  ALLY Advocacy Center on Paxton Campus –  601 Catoctin Circle NE Leesburg, VA 20176

SIGN UP: Call Tammy (703) 777-1939 x207 or email her

IEP Roundtable – Thursday, January 21; 1pm-3pm



This roundtable is facilitated by  Melissa Heifetz, Director of Advocacy on Paxton Campus, and Tia Marsili educational consultant and mother to two children with special needs, sponsored by the the Down Syndrome Association of Northern Virginia.

Roundtable is FREE for Members of The Arc of Loudoun, *For information on becoming a member, CLICK HERE. and for members of the Down Syndrome Association of Northern Virginia (DSANV).

$10 for Non-Members, registration require.


This is your opportunity to:

  • Learn: Prioritize questions regarding your child’s education and IEP & get answers
  • Network: Meet others with similar issues
  • Grow: Become a more powerful advocate for your child

IEP Roundtable



Paxton Campus’ Holiday Party – COSMIC BOWLING on Dec 13!


Click here to RSVPPaxton Holiday Party 2015 - Cosmic Bowling

Let the good times roll! You are invited to Paxton’s Holiday Party at Village Lanes Bowling Alley in Leesburg!

Thank you for being such a wonderful part of Paxton’s year. We want to celebrate the holidays with ALL OF OUR FRIENDS.  Please join us!

  • Free Cosmic Bowling!
  • Dinner will be catered!
  • Drink Tickets for FREE Beer or non-alcoholic drink!
  • Oldies Music
  • and Socializing!

This year’s theme is 1950s Bowling Party, but dress code is UP TO YOU!  Come as you love!

This celebration is for Friends 18 years and older.

Click here to RSVP


Giving Tuesday, December 1st

donate-onlineGiving Tuesday 1st

#WEAREPAXTON on #GivingTuesday

On Tuesday, December 1st, Paxton Campus is celebrating Giving Tuesday.

We need your help to make this year’s campaign successful. Here’s what you can do:

1) Take a “selfie” and tell us why YOU give to Paxton “I (or We) give to Paxton because …”  with #WeArePaxton and #GivingTuesday – Download sign here


2) Make a donation to Paxton Campus online here:

I give to Paxton because ... #Giving Tuesday #WeArePaxton

I give to Paxton because … I am honored to be a part of this “family” and share in their voice

Giving Tuesday #WeArePaxton

We give to Paxton because… our daughter has blossomed here and loves her Paxton “family”.

Robert #GivingTuesday #WeArePaxton

I give to Paxton because… I am thankful I have a job at Paxton.


Paxton Campus has partnered with local businesses to help raise funds for programs and to help raise awareness about what we do. Thank you to our generous sponsors!

Reston Limo

Birds of a Feather

Empower Me Fitness

Blossom and Bloom

Pittsburgh Ricks

RestonLimo_25th_RGBBirds of a Feather

EMF-Logob&b logoPittsburgh Ricks Logo



Your donation on Giving Tuesday, December 1st will help us continue to support and grow these programs and the communities they serve.

We are grateful for your support. Thank you for helping us do more for our community.



#GivingTuesday #WeArePaxton

Holiday Giving Program: Help make this season special for EVERYONE

Holiday Giving Program 2015

At Paxton Campus, we want everyone to have opportunities to live “A Life Like Yours”.

During the holiday season people in group homes and our families who need our support also need to be remembered and celebrated! 

Elves! We need your help to make the holidays special for them too!

What we need: Civic Groups, Families and Individuals willing to make this season special for a group home and/or family in need by providing items off of their “Wish List”.

Please contact Tammy Goddard if you are interested in participating or 703.777.1939, ext 207

Thank you for your support!



Paxton Holiday Giving 2014-  The 2014 Holiday Season was Paxton’s first year to organize this wonderful giving program. We had more than 20 civic groups, families and individuals willing to be “Elves” and help us make the holiday season special for EVERYONE. We had 17 group homes, clients and families who were in need to feel extra special over the holidays and they gave us their “Wish Lists” and we tried to give them those gifts.

Here are some pictures from last Holiday Season!

Holiday Giving 2014 Paxton Holiday Giving 2014 Paxton Holiday Giving 2014 Paxton Holiday Giving 2014 Paxton Holiday Giving 2014 Paxton Holiday Giving 2014


“It’s Not Magic!”: Using Effective Behavioral Strategies to Improve your Pre-K/K Behavior -Nov 9

Workshop 11.09.15 encore presentation


TOPIC:             Learn the “A-B-C’s” of your child behaviors.  This workshop provides simple TRICKS to EXPOSING the magic behind conquering tantrums, non-compliance, bedtime issues, manners and more.  This workshop will REVEAL effective behavioral strategies that can help behavior problems (almost) DISAPPEAR at school and at home!!


WHEN: Monday, November 9, 2015


WHERE: Davis Cottage on Paxton Campus
601 Catoctin Circle, NE
Leesburg, VA  20176


RSVP: Christine Favréaux

Presenter:  Kendra McDonald, MA, BCBA
Kendra began her career in behavior analysis after her son was diagnosed with autism in 2002. Following the successful implementation of his home program, she worked as an in-home ABA therapist for other families affected with autism. Kendra has been with The Aurora School since 2009.  She completed her behavior analysis coursework at UMASS Lowell and she has a Master’s Degree in Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.  She secured her BCBA in June 2014. Kendra emphasizes the principles and teaching procedures of verbal behavior across all teaching opportunities including communication, social skills, and academics.


Public Safety: Law Enforcement & People with Disabilities – Canceled

Public Safety


Public Safety: Law Enforcement and People with Disabilities

Tuesday, October 6,  6pm-7:30pm

Scott Campbell will present on Public Safety Considerations: Guidance for Parents and Caregivers

•Public Safety Risks;
•Common Reasons for First Responders;
•Proactive Community Involvement;
•Safety Items;
•And more.

Questions?  Email Melissa Heifetz at:


ALLY Advocacy Center on Paxton Campus

601 Catoctin Circle, NE

Leesburg, VA 20176


Music Therapy by A Place To Be, starting in September!


WHAT: Music Therapy – individual sessions

WHO: For Ages 6-20

WHEN: 30 minute and 50 minute sessions available. Call (540) 687-6740 or visit to check dates and times

WHERE:  ALLY Advocacy Center on Paxton Campus –  601 Catoctin Circle NE Leesburg, VA 20176

SIGN UP: Call (540) 687-6740 or visit to check dates and times

Check out A Place to Be‘s website or call 540 687 6740 for more information!

IFSP Grant Applications- September 15th

If you have a family member on the ID Urgent or Non-Urgent or DD Medicaid waiver wait list, it is time to apply for the $1,000 Individual and Family Support Program (IFSP) grant.


Click here for Directions on How to Fill out Your Application
Click here for the Application 


Changes from last year:

1. There is only ONE funding period for FY2016; all money will be distributed during this round.

2. To assist more individuals, the maximum amount of funds per person will be $1000 for the entire year.



1. Applications must be postmarked on September 15, 2015
(applications posted before September 15th will not be eligible for funding)

2. Applications from any previous funding periods will not be accepted.

3. Applications faxed to the IFSP office or dropped off at the DBHDS building also will NOT be eligible for funding.

4. If individuals/families have not turned in all receipts from any previous IFSP Funding Period, they will NOT be eligible for funding

Individuals and families may contact the IFSP program regarding the status of applications beginning December 15, 2015.


Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services Website



The Art Market at Paxton is Now ONLINE

Now you can shop The Art Market at Paxton ONLINE!

the art mar
This week the STEP Up team launched their website for The Art Market at Paxton. This art market features jewelry, magnets, candles, cards and more created entirely by students on the Paxton Campus!

The Art Market at Paxton is handled and maintained by the STEP Up team. It is one of the STEP Up teams ‘microenterprise’ businesses that is tailored to the employees’ interests and skills. Up until now you could only shop at the Paxton Attraction! Charles, a team member, created the website by himself and is processing and sending out orders with Kyle, another STEP Up member.

The launch has been a success and STEP Up is adjusting wonderfully to the new addition to their business. I ordered from the Art Market and received my order THE NEXT DAY! It is incredible how quickly and seamlessly they are adding this new element.

We hope that moving online will help us drum up more business for the beautiful artwork created by our students. The Art Market at Paxton is great for gift shopping!

Visit the Art Market at the Paxton Attraction weekday mornings or shop anytime online!

Check out some of the things we have one sale now!



Lots of things have happened on Paxton Campus over the last week. In case you missed anything… here is a Weekly Recap!



Last Saturday, Paxton Campus and 12 Band Jam teamed up to host the 8th Annual 12 Band Jam at Spanky’s Shenanigans. 12 Band Jam is a day of live music and prizes to raise money for The Aurora School.

This year we had an AWESOME, diverse lineup of bands from Americana to folk to rock n roll.

Tons of people from the Paxton family and the greater Leesburg Community came out to show their support and enjoy the day.

The weather was beautiful and everyone seemed to be having a great time! A huge THANK YOU to all the bands, volunteers and people who attended that made the day a success.


Our beloved golf cart, donated earlier this summer, was stolen off our property last week. The golf cart was used by our STEP Up team to practice driving, to deliver campus mail and to move things around the campus. The team was so excited about having their own means of transportation on campus and what doors this could open in the future.

The golf cart was discovered vandalized and inoperable across from Leesburg Elementary School.

While this was super sad news for everyone in the Paxton Family, there is a silver lining!

The Paxton Family has received overwhelming support and love from the Loudoun Community. Our Facebook post about our stolen golf cart was shared over 82 times, NBC Washington visited our campus to broadcast about the stolen golf cart and many people have made donations towards helping us buy a new one. It is so great to see that in sad times, great people can turn it around.

If you would like to donate to our Stolen Golf Cart fund: Click here!

Watch two members from STEP Up on NBC Washington sharing the story about our golf cart!


Pat from Legacy Farms and our STEP Up team member, Kyle were hard at work on Wednesday adding a fence to STEP Up’s beautiful vegetable garden. This fence will keep our future veggies safe. We already have some corn sprouting up! The STEP Up team has been hard at work watering and weeding the garden.

In a few weeks, Legacy Farms will be helping us teach a curriculum to the STEP Up team so they can learn new skills and techniques for maintaining a garden.

Thank you for all that you do, Legacy Farms!

4. 1,000 LIKES 

The Paxton Family has set a goal to reach 1,000 Likes on Facebook by September 1st. We are ONLY SEVEN likes away from our goal. We are so excited that the end is in sight and we are about to reach this milestone!

1000LIKESIf you haven’t already shared our post or invited your friends to LIKE our page, do so now and help us reach 1,000 likes by September 1st!

Tickets for Shocktober, Paxton’s biggest fundraiser of the year, go on sale THIS SATURDAY (August 15th), make sure to spread the word to your friends and family, so this year can be the biggest year YET!Instagram


DON’T FORGET! Campus will be closed the week of August 23rd for our third and final summer recess.

Stolen Golf Cart Fund

“It makes me pretty sad that such a memorable cart got damaged and vandalized by someone. I do hope that it can be bought back to slow and safe use for Paxton.”
-Drew Gutenson
STEP Up Team



in the Drop-down menu. DONATE NOW!

Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 12.04.18 PMScreen Shot 2015-08-12 at 12.04.28 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 12.10.23 PM


Designate Golf Cart Fund on the check.

Make your check payable to Paxton Campus, and mail to:

Paxton Campus
Attn: Meredith Lefforge
601 Catoctin Circle, NE
Leesburg, VA 20176

Paxton Campus’ beloved golf cart was stolen off our property sometime between Wednesday 8/5 and Thursday 8/6

This golf cart was used by our STEP Up team to practice driving, to deliver campus mail and to move things around the campus.

Please consider donating today!

Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 12.10.23 PM



Read the article in the Leesburg Today 

Applied Behavior Analysis

What does Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) mean?

Applied Behavior Analysis: Behavior analysis uses basic behavior principles to reinforce wanted behavior (including learning, verbal behavior, etc.) and decrease unwanted behavior (including challenging behavior, tantrums,etc.). 

One important tool used to assist in increasing a learner’s positive behaviors is the principle of positive reinforcement. In utilizing positive reinforcement, positive behaviors are followed by some sort of reward, which increases the likelihood that these behaviors will continue to occur in the future. It is important that these rewards are motivating for the child.

While ABA therapy is a structured approach, each child’s goals, behavior plans, and teaching methods are highly individualized to meet their unique needs and to help them reach their fullest potential. This means that ABA sessions, treatment plans, and behavioral interventions will look different for every child.

Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP): Some children might need an intervention plan to decrease unwanted behavior. Consistency is key to reducing challenging behavior.

Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA): A behavior analyst specializes in finding and treating the function of behavior. BCBAs are certified by a national board for which certification includes education, experience hours, testing, and continuing education. 

Challenging Behavior: Challenging behavior comes in all forms from tantrums to biting, from a delay in communication to talking too much, potty issues, elopement, etc. We’ll work together with parents using sound behavior principles to change challenging behavior.

Direct Instruction: Using structured teaching procedures; usually teaching incremental units of a lesson in a small group format.

Function of Behavior: When looking at challenging behavior, we want to know the function of the behavior, or why someone is behaving the way they do. If we know why the behavior is occurring, we then know how to try and change it.

Measurement/ Data Collection: Using objective standards to measure progress.

Positive Reinforcement: Reinforcement comes in many forms from praise, to tokens, to rewards. We look for the best in our students and clients and reinforce it! Plus, it’s more fun to reinforce students and clients.

Verbal Behavior: The analysis of communication according to basic behavioral principles, namely positive reinforcement.



Jennifer Alves gets Published

Jennifer Alves, speaker, advocate, receptionist and artist, now has a new title to add to her long list, published author.

Jennifer Alves’, receptionist at Paxton Campus and Next Chapter Book Club leader, personal essay, “Hiking the Appalachian Trail”, is published in the 71st Issue of Kaleidoscope, an award-winning magazine published by United Disability Services in Akron, Ohio. Her essay was selected from more than 350 submissions to be included in the magazine.


Everyone here at Paxton is so excited and proud! WAY TO GO JEN! 

Read her beautiful piece about her journey on the Appalachian Trail!

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 12.52.37 PM
To see the full magazine: Kaleidoscope: Summer Musings
(Jennifer’s piece is on page 32)


Adult Football Dance- Friday, September 11th; 6-8:30pm

Football Season is here! Let’s celebrate with a DANCE!











Wear your favorite team’s jersey and join us and have a great time with light refreshments, dancing, great music and social opportunities!

WHAT: Adult Football Dance

WHO: Adults 18+

WHEN: Friday, September 11th  from 6 pm to 8:30 pm


RSVP: For more information or to RSVP, please contact Tammy Goddard at or 703.777.1939, ext. 207



A Day in the Life: STEP Up Team

The Step Up team participates in Community-Based Instruction (CBIs) to learn practical job skills and show off their talents and interests in the community. During a CBI, the team goes out into the community and does a job at a local business.

We followed a cleaning team as they set out to clean at LoCo CrossFit!

1:06Everybody piles on the bus with Swiffers, cleaning spray and paper towels in hand, ready to get started!

1:10 We’re off. The conversation swirls with talk of lunch, The Jonas Brothers and playground swings. The team talks about how much longer it’ll take to get there.

We arrive at our destination. Each Step Up members gets a different checklist of their cleaning assignments.

1:15-1:40– The team is split into pairs and we divide and conquer. Each time someone completes something, they check it off their list. We vacuum. We dust. We scrub.

Compliments and excitement can be heard as each task is complete!

“I did good!”
“Great job dusting!”
“Keep up the good work”
“I did it!”

After everything was shining and dust-free, the team even had time for a little fun!


Drew tested out some of the equipment and we got to meet the owner’s dog!


1:49– It’s time to head back to Paxton. Everybody piles back in the bus and we are on our way back to campus.

Thank you to LoCo CrossFit for being wonderful customers to work for!


Right now we have four ‘microenterprises’ launched that we provide to the community: a cleaning business, a landscaping business, office work business and an art market to sell hand-made products created by the team.

STEP Up is in the process of creating a car-washing business and grocery store delivery service.

We are always looking for community partners who may be interested in partnering with our microenterprise businesses or who are interested in hiring adults with a disability. Email Katie Wilcox for more information!

Hola from Quito!

Accessibility and Inclusion for People with Disabilities in Ecuador – A Success Story

Being in a learning environment, the culture at Paxton Campus has been encouraging for many of us on staff to follow our diverse passions for learning new things. This encouragement has led me to follow a long-term dream to learn Spanish. So here I am spending the summer in Quito, Ecuador, a beautiful city high in the Andes Mountains; living with an Ecuadorian family and going to Spanish language classes everyday.

Arriving to the capital of a country roughly the size of Nevada, I was happily surprised to see curb cuts and ramps on every street crossing, the streets have crosswalks with lights and sounds directing people when they can cross. And turning on the news, one can see a person in the bottom left corner of the television screen using sign language to translate the news for those who cannot hear. How refreshing to see so much accessibility for people with disabilities in this country.

Then I hear the name, Lenin Moreno.

In the late 1990s, Lenin Moreno was in a tragic accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down, but he did not let that stop him. He became a motivational speaker, and continued as a public servant until eventually in 2007, he became the Vice President of Ecuador.


Former Vice President of Ecuador Lenin Moreno Garcés in his office on March 1, 2012. (Photo Credit: Ivan Kashinsky/Americas Quarterly)

When he came into office, he made it a priority to understand the conditions of people with disabilities in Ecuador. He took a fact-finding mission around the entire country and was shocked to see some of the deplorable conditions in which people with disabilities were living.

From this investigation they created the Ecuador sin Barreras (Ecuador without Borders) program, formalizing the rights of people with disabilities and the commitment of the government to see that these policies are put into action.

Over the last few years they have delivered services, supports and supplies to those persons most in need, while they continue growing these programs to reach more (2). Three articles in the newly written Ecuadorian Constitution are specifically devoted to creating a space for equal opportunities in all elements of life for people with disabilities: education, employment, housing, medical needs and more.

Before he came into office, many people here tell me that having a disability was a stigma. Thus, many people with disabilities would stay in their homes, for lack of access to the world around them. The day that Lenin Moreno became Vice President of Ecuador, he brought into the light the lack of accessibility for people with disabilities; changed policies, infrastructure, and opened the minds of the majority of the population here.

The government passed a national law that states that companies with 25 or more employees, must employ at least 4% of those roles with people with disabilities (3). The government records are that in 2006, there were 500 people with disabilities in the workforce; and in 2014, that number has risen to over 85,000 (1). In a country where roughly 400,000 people are living with a disability, among a population of 15 million (4); this is great news.

Moreno did not run for a second term in office, but instead decided to devote his last few years to creating a foundation for people with disabilities and has traveled throughout South America and the world, spreading awareness, information and replicable lessons learned. In December of 2013, he was nominated by United Nations Secretary Ban Ki-Moon to be the UN’s Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility. He has impacted so many lives by leading his own with determination, grace and humor; while showing the world that nothing can stop him. Everyone who I have met says that if he were to run for President in the next elections, he would surely win!

Over the next few weeks I hope to be able to interview people with disabilities, people working in nonprofits and government agencies working on improving access and inclusion even more, and see what else I can found about how real lives have been changed by these amazing programs.

Here is a quote from Lenin Moreno, referencing the replicability of the programs, services and supports that have advanced Ecuador as a leader in Disability Rights in the world:

Solidarity—not as charity, but rather as the recognition of others as equals—is the basic pillar for initiating social inclusion. The efforts of all these actors [people with disabilities and their families] have allowed Ecuador to leave behind the years of exclusion and marginalization to which disabled people were subjected, and to integrate them now into work, education, culture, the arts, and sports. (2)

Rachel Roseberry is Paxton’s Communication Coordinator. She has traveled to South America for the summer to learn Spanish and to learn about accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities in the countries that she visits. Stay tuned for more updates from her South American sojourn.



  1. Caselli, Irene. “The Law that Empowered Ecuador’s Disabled,” Latin America & Caribbean Section, BBC News. Quito, 20 August 2013. [Link:]
  2. Moreno Garces, Lenin. “Advancing Disability Rights,” part of the Heroes of Social Inclusion series, Americas Quarterly. Spring 2012. [Link:]
  3. Scherffius, Liz. “Disability Rights Boosted in Ecuador with New Funding Plans,” Telesur 04 May 2015. [Link:]
  4. Telesur English. “Much to Celebrate in Ecuador on International Disability Day,” Telesur 03 December 2014. [Link:]

Campus Updates

We love our BEAUTIFUL campus and a lot of exciting things have been happening on campus to keep it beautiful, create new opportunities and expand our programs.

Here is your CAMPUS UPDATE!


You may have noticed the wooden benches scattered all throughout Paxton. Our amazing volunteer, Eoin Whelan, donated these benches as part of his Eagle Scout project. These benches provide a great place for our students and employees to take a break, socialize with friends or just enjoy the outdoors!

As you can see we have been putting them to good use already! Thank you for your generosity, Eoin!


IMG_7482 copy
The large oak tree in front of ALLY will live longer and stand stronger thanks to our friends at Bartlett Tree Experts.

Two weeks ago, they visited our campus and provided a ‘Deep Root’ liquid injection of slow-release fertilizer. For those of you who are not tree experts like Bartlett, this injection slowly releases fertilizer to help reduce dead limbs, the impact of insects and diseases and increases the longevity of the oak tree.

Bartlett Tree Experts also donated and laid down mulch on campus.

We are so happy that our oak tree will continue to stand tall in the years to come and can’t thank Bartlett Tree Experts enough for donating their time and resources!


Paxton teamed up with Legacy Farms last Sunday to start our vegetable garden for the STEP Up team. This garden will provide space for STEP Up to work in the garden, harvest the vegetables and eventually sell them at the Farmer’s Market.

Great volunteers came out on Sunday to help and the results are AWESOME! The first step is done!


Paxton Campus is thrilled to be working with Legacy Farms and can’t wait for this STEP Up opportunity to develop.

VOLUNTEERS: Help us start a Garden!

CALLING ALL VOLUNTEERS! Are you free Saturday, July 11th? Looking for a fun and helpful way to spend your afternoon?

Help us start our garden! 

Where: Paxton Campus
When: July 11th 10am-2pm

Bring your own gloves and gardening tools!
RSVP to 

We have a new partnership at Paxton with Legacy Farms (Legacy Farms is a nonprofit dedicated to providing support services and agrarian based vocational training to adults with autism, as well as those with developmental and social challenges).

Legacy is working to one day have a farm for their staff to work and reside at, and in the meantime build relationships with other businesses in Loudoun.  They have reached out to Paxton to build a vegetable garden on our grounds for our Step Up program!

This is something that would be meaningful and a great business opportunity – the Step Up team can work the garden and eventually sell the veggies at the farmers market!

If so, come ready to work, get dirty and have fun! Refreshments will be provided.  Even if you can only work part of the time, we will take it

Hope to see you there!


Maggie’s Closet Donation Box is here!

Exciting news!

Donating to Maggie’s Closet has never been easier!

Maggie’s Closet now has a donation box.

We have a drop off box right here on our campus for clothing donations to Maggie’s Closet. There is a big, blue bin right across from Maggie’s Closet and next to the Paxton Attraction!

Maggie’s accepts charitable donations of gently-used and new clothing, and offers it to local families and individuals in need. Donations made to Maggie’s Closet are tax-deductible, as we are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

We accept clothing from baby to adult, but we especially need elementary aged children’s clothing. Currently, we have a need for hangers, unopened packs of brand new socks, underwear and t-shirts in all sizes.

Bluemont Concert Series- July 5th

Paxton Campus is the non-profit partner at this Sunday’s Bluemont Concert Series! We will be selling refreshments.

Come by and see us!


When: Sunday, July 5th- 7pm
Where: Courthouse Building in Downtown Leesburg
What:Music and refreshments

Check out the band:

Next Chapter Book Club

It’s 6:30 on Monday and chips, popcorn and water bottles are sprawled over a table in the back of Rust Library in the Story Time Room. About ten chairs are tucked in around the table, but more keep getting added as the night goes on. More members keep trickling in for the Next Chapter Book Club meeting.

IMG_7250 For those of you who don’t know, the Next Chapter Book Club (NCBC) offers the opportunities for people with cognitive or developmental disabilities to read and learn together, talk about books, and make friends in a relaxed community setting.

Our NCBC usually meets on the first and third Monday of every month at Rust Library.

Right now, we are reading WHITE FANG.whitefang

White Fang is a novel by Jack London about a half-dog/ half-wolf living in Canada during the 1890’s. We are on chapter 7 and everyone is enjoying the story so far.

As everyone starts arriving, we talk about our weekends and what book we would like to start next.

Some titles like Robin Hood, Robinson Crusoe and Swiss Family Robinson get thrown around. Every person is given the chance to suggest what he or she would like to read next. If you have any suggestions on what we should read next, let us know!

A little before 7, we dive into chapter 7.

First, we make sure everyone has a copy of the book and then we recap what happened last week for any member who missed the last meeting.The room grows quiet as the first reader begins. All you can hear is quiet crunching from popcorn being snacked on.

Everyone’s head is buried in the book. Some follow a long word by word with their bookmark.

*page flip* and the story continues you. The reader of the story switches from person to person around the room, everyone bringing a new voice to the story.

Some quiet and clear. Some loud and excited.

The NCBC is a no pressure environment- every member has the chance to read if they would like to but no one has to read.

IMG_7261It is inspiring to see how many members take a turn reading. All of their friends encourage them to read and stay engaged in the story the entire time.

By the time we get to Chapter 11, it is almost 8 pm. Things are not looking good for White Fang. He is in the middle of a scary but exciting fight.

We are left on a cliffhanger. What will happen to White Fang?

We will find out TONIGHT at our NCBC meeting!

If you are interested in joining us, email Tammy at! Anyone at ANY reading level is welcome to join the club!

Come hear what happens to White Fang tonight at the Rust Library from 6:30-8pm.

To learn more:

Paxton Gets A Bus Stop!

Need to catch a ride from Paxton? Don’t feel like driving, but you want to attend one of our awesome, upcoming events? Now you can!

Paxton Campus is the proud owner of a bus stop! Our bus stop is located on Catoctin Circle right outside the entrance to Paxton.


The beautiful bench is thanks to our friend, Miss. Emily Burch. Emily picked the Paxton Campus as part of her Silver Award for Girl Scouts and got us this awesome bus stop bench!

Now, when you visit you can rest and enjoy some shade under the tree.
Thank you Emily Burch and Girl Scout Troop 4472! We love our bench. .

This bus stop opens up transportation opportunities for our staff here on campus, as well as the community around us. Jennifer Alves, receptionist at Paxton Campus, was so relieved and happy when Paxton received a bus stop.

“This area (Leesburg) can be really restraining for those who don’t drive.”

Jennifer uses the bus on some days to commute from work and this gives her more freedom and independence in her schedule.

This bus stop is helping Paxton Campus be more accessible to EVERYONE and we are so happy!


Check out our bus stop next time you stop by The Paxton Attraction and use it while riding Route 55!

Preschool Graduation and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of Open Door Learning Center’s New Accessible Playground


ODLC Graduation and Playground Invite


Open Door Learning Center

request the honor of your presence to the


Preschool Graduation and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of Open Door Learning Center’s New Accessible Playground


Friday, June 12, 2015; From 1pm to 2pm


Open Door Learning Center

On Paxton Campus

601 Catoctin Circle NE

Leesburg, Virginia



Please RSVP by Tuesday, June 9th

To Christine Favreaux at

or 703.777.6010






Leesburg, Virginia – May 21, 2015 – On Friday, June 12, at 1:30pm, Open Door Learning Center (ODLC) will officially open its accessible playground during the preschool graduation program. ODLC is an accredited inclusive school for students, ages 2 to 7 years, with and without disabilities.

The accessible and inclusive playground was designed for children with and without developmental disabilities. The equipment was specifically chosen to incorporate different kinds of sensory movements: spinning, rocking, swinging, which are both calming and stimulating activities for children with developmental disabilities.

“What an exciting way to celebrate ODLC’s 5 year anniversary, by opening a playground designed to stimulate children’s imaginations, and create opportunities for children to develop social, physical and sensory skills while playing and exercising,” said Christine Favréaux, ODLC’s Administrative Director, “This playground exemplifies ODLC’s philosophy that children of all abilities benefit from being able to play and interact together, in an inclusive environment.”

ODLC’s new playground was funded by many generous donors, including the parents of ODLC students past and present, The Nicholas Blanco Foundation, and The Meil Family Foundation, in addition to many supporters from the greater community.

There to help celebrate the grand opening of the playground will be Leesburg Mayor Kristen Umstattd, who will be cutting the ribbon alongside the students, staff and teachers of ODLC.

ODLC is located in Leesburg, Virginia, on the historic Paxton Campus. In 1922, Rachel Paxton had a vision to turn her home and property into a safe and welcoming environment for underprivileged children and families. In 1967, a group of parents whose children had special needs formed The Arc of Loudoun, a non-profit to start a school for their children when no one else would. In 2010, those two visions combined when The Arc of Loudoun moved to the Paxton Campus. Since then, the Campus has grown into a full-service organization to provide an integrated and innovative learning environment for all ages and abilities. Programs include Open Door Learning Center, The Aurora School,  STEP Up vocational training program for adults, and ALLY (“A Life Like Yours”) Advocacy Center, all devoted to serving people with disabilities and their families, as well as helping children of all abilities thrive in our community.

For more information, visit or contact Rachel Roseberry, Communications Coordinator of Paxton Campus, at or by phone at 703.777.1939.

Do More 24 – June 4th – Day of Giving

thank you

Thank you to all those who donated to Paxton Campus and participated in our Selfies for Good contest. We had so much fun!  THANK YOU!




On  Thursday, June 4th we can all Do More to help our community.


Paxton Campus has partnered with United Way of the National Capital Area and 600 other local nonprofits in the greater DC area in this annual day of giving.

We need your help to make this year’s campaign successful. Here’s what you can do:

1)         Mark your calendar for Thursday, June 4th.

2)         Bookmark this giving link.

3)         Spread the word! Post our giving link and your support on your social media       channels.

4)         Donate on June 4th. You can help us to win additional cash prizes!


Your donation on June 4th will help us continue to support and grow these programs and the communities they serve.

We are grateful for your support. Thank you for helping us Do More for our community.


CLICK HERE to download an application

We are looking for more siblings, ages 8-12 years!

To check for the next dates, please contact Tammy Goddard or 703.777.1939 ext 207

sibshops logo

Email Tammy Goddard with any questions!

Sibshops acknowledge that being the brother or sister of a person with special needs is for some a good thing, others a not-so-good thing, and for many, somewhere in-between. They reflect a belief that brothers and sisters have much to offer one another — if they are given a chance. Sibshops are a spirited mix of new games (designed to be unique, off-beat, and appealing to a wide ability range), new friends, and discussion activities.

$10/participant per session

PURPOSE:      A fun and safe space for children with siblings with special needs to meet other children in the same situation, who can share their experiences and feelings, discuss their joys and challenges.  FUN, FOOD and FRIENDS!

COST:             $10 participant per session


QUESTIONS:    Email Tammy Goddard

LOCATION:     ALLY Advocacy Center on Paxton Campus
601 Catoctin Circle, NE, Leesburg, VA 20176

For children ages 8-12 years old who have a sibling with a special need.  This is not a therapy group but a fun and safe space for children with siblings with special needs to meet other children in the same situation, who can share their experiences and feelings, discuss their joys and challenges.  FUN, FOOD and FRIENDS!

CLICK HERE to download an application

Painting with a Purpose for ODLC on Sunday, Dec 14


painting with a twist

Open Door Learning Center – PWAP – Open to Public

Sunday, December 14
1:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Painting with a Twist Ashburn, VA
43150 Broadlands Center Plaza, Suite 182
Ashburn, VA 20148

Please visit the event page for studio directions, contact information, and more!


About this class

2 hour painting class, 1 hour party

50% of the proceeds from this event will go to the Open Door Learning Center for their Playground Campaign. For more information go to:

Arrive 10-15 min early to get ready to paint! If you desire more time to unwind, visit with friends & breathe before we get twisted, we invite you to arrive up to 30 min prior to start time- it’s your Happy Half Hour!

We provide cups, plates, napkins. We do NOT provide ice or eating or serving utensils, so bring them with you.

LOCATION: 43150 Broadlands Center Plaza, Suite 182, Ashburn, VA 20148. We are near Safeway, Bonefish Grill, and Mali Thai Restaurants. The Plaza is located right off Claiborne Parkway near the Greenway Toll.

Open Air Artist Market – Fridays: August 1, 8, 15; 12pm-3pm


Artist market flyer

Paxton Campus presents Friday Open Air Artist Market!  Our STEP Up team will be selling products made by local artists and benefiting the STEP UP team!


Fridays: August 1, 8, 15  >>>  12pm-3pm




This is a great initiative started by the STEP Up team and the artistic folks on Paxton Campus who have beautiful pieces of art, crafts, jewelry, stationery and more to sell!

We hope you will join us.

Ice Cream now at Paxton Attraction: Mon, Wed and Fri: 1pm-2:30pm

Ice Cream You Scream We all Scream for Ice Cream!

Now at Paxton Attraction!

(Open M, W, F from 1-2:30 for Ice Cream)

ice cream choices

Paxton Attraction ICE CREAM Suggested Price List:

Drumsticks (Plain or with Nuts) $1.00/each

Mini Swirls Caramel         .50/each

Pop-Ice Freezy Pops       .50/each

Good Humor Bars (Toasted Almond, Chocolate Éclair, Strawberry Shortcake)      $1.00/each

Magnum Mini’s                                $1.00/each

Magnum Full Sized (Gold and Caramel)  $2.00/each

Drumsticks Lil’ Drums     .50/each

Klondike Bars     $1.00/each

Firecracker Popsicles      $1.00/each

Run for Independence, 8K Race

Run for Independence 2014 flyer 2



WHEN: June 28, 2014, 7:15 am

WHERE: The race starts and finishes at the Paxton Campus: 601 Catoctin Circle NE, Leesburg, VA  20176. It is a USATF certified measured course.

RUN FOR A CAUSE: The Run for Independence 8k benefits the Paxton Campus in Leesburg, which works with and advocates for children and adults with disabilities.

POST-RACE BREAKFAST AND FUN: The race will feature festive post race activities including music, food, and awards.  An awesome breakfast will be provided by Eggspectation, including a delicious yogurt and fruit bar and hot breakfast of eggs, bacon, potatoes.

PARKING: There is ample parking at the race site.

TIMING: This race will be timed by Commonwealth Race Management and will be electronically timed using the ChronoTrack B disposable tag system. Full results will be posted following the race and the =PR= Race Series Facebook page.

KIDS FUN RUN: There will be a free kids 100 yard dash starting at approximately 8:15am! All kids are welcome to join in on the fun!.

AWARDS: There will be awards to the top 3 overall male and female finishers.  There will also be awards to the top 3 male and female finishers in the following age groups:  14 & under, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, and 75 & over.

There will also be awards for the top 3 teams! Runners can have an unlimited number of members on a team with 4 scoring  with at least one female/one male.

NOTE:  All team registrants must be pre registered.  There will be no additions to teams allowed after on line registration closes.

** Please note, race t-shirts may be limited for late and race day registrants

Autism and the DSM-5. Friday, May 23rd, 10am-12:30pm

autism and dsm 5

Autism and the DSM V
Friday, May 23rd from 10am to 12:30pm.

Registration starts at 9:30am

Light Refreshments Provided

Workshop Location:
The Aurora School
601 Catoctin Circle NE
Leesburg, VA 20176
Registration ends May 21, 2014
Cost: $40 for workshop

*Space Limited.

Workshop Description:
This workshop will provide an introduction to the DSM-5 diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and a review of the data regarding the impact of the changes in the diagnostic criteria for autism. The session will also include a description of the new diagnosis of Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder and will explore how the condition relates to ASD and to previous descriptions in the literature of pragmatic language impairment. Lastly, this session will include how changes in the diagnostic criteria impact recommendations for family members and service providers.

About the Presenter:
Donald Oswald is the Director of Diagnostics and Research at Commonwealth Autism Service. Dr. Oswald is a licensed clinical psychologist with over 30 years of experience working with people with autism spectrum disorders. He obtained his PhD in clinical psychology in 1989 from Virginia Tech and completed a clinical internship at the Yale Child Study Center. Dr. Oswald has been active in teaching and research related to the diagnosis and treatment of individuals with autism spectrum disorders. For the past 20 years, he was on the faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at Virginia Common-wealth. While there, Dr. Oswald collaborated with Commonwealth Autism staff in creating the Transdisciplinary Assessment Clinic to provide diagnostic assessment services to young children and their families. Dr. Oswald is an Independent Trainer for the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule and the Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised and has provided training workshops on these instruments throughout the state of Virginia.

Aurora Turns 10!



Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Beverly Denny Ethan, a student at the Aurora School in Leesburg for children with autism, climbs up the inflatable cake that was part of the school's 10th anniversary celebration July 12. Former Washington Redskins player Marcus Washington was a special guest and signed autographs.

Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Beverly Denny
Ethan, a student at the Aurora School in Leesburg for children with autism, climbs up the inflatable cake that was part of the school’s 10th anniversary celebration July 12. Former Washington Redskins player Marcus Washington was a special guest and signed autographs.

Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Beverly Denny Former Washington Redskins player Marcus Washington, left, signs his autograph for a 12-year-old student at the Aurora School in Leesburg for children with autism along with her teacher, applied behavior analysis therapist Hillary Mazur, during the school's 10th anniversary celebration July 12.

Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Beverly Denny
Former Washington Redskins player Marcus Washington, left, signs his autograph for a 12-year-old student at the Aurora School in Leesburg for children with autism along with her teacher, applied behavior analysis therapist Hillary Mazur, during the school’s 10th anniversary celebration July 12.


On Friday, July 12th, at 1:00pm, Paxton Campus’ The Aurora School celebrated its 10th year anniversary.

Ten years ago, The Aurora School was founded by parents in cooperation with The Arc of Loudoun. Aurora started as a very small school with only 3 students in Purcellville and now has grown to 30 students and 42 highly qualified staff, and this year we are hoping to grow even bigger!

In 2009, The Aurora School moved to the Paxton Campus in Leesburg and has been growing and thriving more each year. There to help celebrate the school’s birthday was Special Guest, Marcus Washington of the Washington Redskins.

The Aurora School is a caring, educational community that offers a quality education for individuals with special needs, primarily students with autism. We provide a progressive learning environment that serves individuals with intellectual disabilities, ages 5 to 22. Using the latest techniques, curricula, and technology, students and their families become active partners in their individualized education program. We challenge our students to achieve personal excellence and independence and offer a wide variety of special education programs. Our curricula and activities are made to meet the individual student’s needs. Among the skills we teach our students are: Verbal behavior; Academic literacy; Reading; Social skills; Self-management; and Problem solving skills.

10 3 2


Paxton Campus creates a butterfly garden!


time series

Here is a time series of photos taken on the morning that we created a butterfly-shaped Monarch Waystation, at Paxton Campus in Leesburg Virginia.

On Saturday, June 22nd, Paxton staff and volunteers from our community created a butterfly-shaped Monarch Waystation. *The time series of photos above show the steps taken to create our garden.

With generous donations of native plants (milkweed and nectar plants for monarchs and other pollinators) from Earth Sangha and Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy (LWC); advice from Ann Garvey of the LWC’s program on habitat restoration; and the hard work and determination of 15 creative and enthusiastic volunteers. We want to thank you all for the support!

This garden will not only help host the monarchs through this leg of their journey, it will also serve to bring a natural sensory experience to our students, both at Open Door Learning Center, our preschool and kindergarten program; as well as students from The Aurora School, our school for children and young adults with autism and other related disabilities.

Though this project is not 100% completed, we were able to do the most important step, get the plants in the ground to flourish and bring the butterflies to our campus!

Ringing in Hope – Run to Support Paxton Campus

Join us in supporting Paxton Campus by running a 10K or 5K for RINGING IN HOPE on September 14, 2013.

Register today at

The early bird deadline for Saturday, September 14th’s Ringing In Hope: For the Sake of the Children is coming up on August 1st! Register by August 1st for the event taking place in South Riding and save on your race registration for the 5K & 10K races and 1K Fun Run/Walk!

Ringing in HOPE Paxton Web Ad

Jennifer Lassiter, Executive Director of Paxton Campus, Nominated for Leesburg Business Award!

2013 Leesburg Business Award Nominees Announced

Press Release adapted from The Town of Leesburg’s Press Release on 5/2/2013

The Town of Leesburg is pleased to announce the nominees for the 12th Annual Leesburg Business Awards.

Leesburg, VA (May 2, 2013) – The Town has received nominations for outstanding businesses and individuals in ten award categories. The annual Leesburg Business Awards Event is the premier business event in the community. It celebrates the Leesburg business community and specifically the independent business owners who are the backbone of our community and our nation’s economy.

Congratulations to all of the 2013 Nominees.


The George C. Marshall Award Nominees: 

• Grandmaster Eung Gil Choi

• Joanna Costin

• Tina Johnson

• Patrick Kaler

• Jennifer Lassiter

• Paul Reimers

• Robert White

Ambassador Award Nominees:

• ProJet Aviation

• Visit Loudoun

Environmental Award Nominees:

• Chick-fil-A

• Fryer Pro, LLC

• Pong Research

Community Steward Award Nominees:

• Capital Computers & Networks, Inc.

• Jersey Mike’s Subs

• Knight Solutions

• Loudoun Chapter of the NAACP

New Business Award Nominees:


• Avie Medspa and Laser Center

• Barahona & Associates

• King Pinz

• King Street Coffee

• L Gifts & Home Furnishings, LLC

• MacDowell Brew Kitchen

• Steam 360, LLC

Innovations Award Nominees:

• Gravy

• K2M, Inc.

• Mason Enterprise Center

• Omnilert

• Pong Research

• PR Construction

• Terreno Organics

 Home-Based Business Award Nominees:


• Miles LeHane Companies

• Steam 360, LLC

Heritage Award Nominees:

• Ellisdale Construction

• Norris House Inn

• Tally Ho Theatre

• St. John the Apostle Catholic Church

Veterans Affairs Award Nominees:

• DB4 Consulting

• Knight Solutions

• Strong Castle

Public Art Award Nominees:

• County of Loudoun Administration Building (Public Art Display)

• Friends of Leesburg Public Art

• Loudoun Symphony

The Rising Star award celebrates a Leesburg business which has been in operation for less than one year and has set itself apart from other businesses through its exemplary achievements. The recipient of this award will be chosen by the Leesburg Economic Development Commission.

Rising Star Award Nominees:

• Chimole

• CycleLuv

• Dance King Studio

• Events in the City

• Happy Soul Yoga

• Melt Gourmet Cheeseburgers

• The Jeans Whisperer

• The Q Company

• Voodoo Lunchbox

To be eligible for nomination for a Leesburg Business Award, businesses and organizations must be primarily physically located within the corporate limits of the Town of Leesburg. Persons nominated for the George C. Marshall Award are not required to reside within the Town limits.

“The businesses and individuals nominated for the 2013 Leesburg Business Awards represent our community’s best loved, most innovative and exciting owners, operators and enterprises,” commented Jim Sisley, Chair of the Leesburg Economic Development Commission. “Beyond merely running or owning a business, these people have chosen to make a positive contribution to our quality of life in Leesburg.”

Nominees and award recipients will be recognized at the 12th Annual Business Awards Event on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at ProJet Aviation at the Leesburg Executive Airport. Please RSVP your attendance by contacting Tara Belote at or on our website at Businesses that have been operating for 25 years or more will also be recognized at the reception as Leesburg’s Legacy Businesses.


Doug Parsons
Business Development Manager

# # #

Self-Advocate Finds Employment, Energy and Excitement at Paxton!

One of the things that we have tried really hard to do over the last three years at The Arc of Loudoun on the Paxton Campus is to fill in the gaps where services and opportunities are lacking for adults and children with disabilities.  One area that we have identified as an opportunity for us to embrace is in providing adults with disabilities a real, meaningful and enjoyable work experience.  This spring we have hired three adults with disabilities (Self-Advocates) to work on the Campus in various capacities and it has been a wonderful experience for them and for the rest of our staff!  One of our employees, Turhan Inetas, has especially touched our hearts.

Turhan is a young man that began working for the Campus in March.  He is an adult with a traumatic brain injury that was caused by two brain surgeries for brain cancer, and then a resulting stroke after the surgeries.  His first language is Turkish, and combined with his disability, understanding receptive language (especially English) is difficult.  Thankfully, Turhan is not shy to tell us if we are talking too fast, or if he doesn’t understand what we are trying to communicate.  He is eager, and he carries his Turkish to English dictionary with him everywhere.  He is even studying to learn to drive and get a driver’s license.

He was originally hired to work in Maggie’s Closet, our free “store” for families in need.  He washes all of the clothing that is donated, sorts it and hangs it by size for customers to shop.  He comes to us with an enthusiasm for work that we’ve never seen before, and performs each task with joy and a huge smile.  His job has expanded to include manning our convenience store, The Paxton Attraction, each morning, where he sells coffee from 8:30am to 9:30am each day.  His pride in being in-charge of the store each day is obvious and he makes all of us smile…you can’t NOT smile when around Turhan.


When asked about his work here, he said that his life was sad before he found us.  He said he had low energy and didn’t want to do much during the day.  But, he explained that when he started working here, he realized that if you “have love, you have excitement and joy for that love.”  And he found love here, at Paxton Campus.  He has a love of his work, and our community; and it allows him to have energy to go throughout the day.  He said, “All you have to do is find your love….and I found it here!”

And, we LOVE that he loves it here…We feel so fortunate that he is here each day to greet us with his smile and remind us all why we do this work.

Feel free to visit him at our Paxton Attraction convenience store, any weekday morning from 8:30am to 9:30am for great coffee and even better company!

Blog Post Written by Darcy Cunningham. 

Town of Leesburg’s Proclamation: Autism Awareness Month!

Here is Jennifer Lassiter, our Executive Director at Paxton Campus, speaking about Autism and the challenges faced by people who have Autism and their families.  She spoke in front of Leesburg’s Town Council on April 9th and received a Proclamation from Mayor Kristen Umstattd and the other members of Leesburg’s Town Council.

The proclamation states: Autism Awareness Month is a special opportunity for everyone to educate the public about autism and issues within the autism community.

Thank you Town of Leesburg and our supportive Town Council Members!

The ABC’s of Applied Behavior Analysis

In honor of Autism Awareness Month, we are doing a special set of blog posts here at Paxton Campus!  It’s an exciting time of the year for us, seeing places all over the world “light it up blue” to show support and spread awareness for some of the students we are fortunate enough to serve every day.  Check back later this month for more great posts in honor of Autism Awareness!

Here at The Aurora School, we use the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis to serve our clients needs. Applied Behavior Analysis (or ABA) is a science devoted to the understanding and improvement of human behavior.

Or, as I like to put it, we make data-driven decisions to drastically improve our students’ lives. So, as I’m sure you can imagine, we think ABA is just too good to keep to ourselves! ABA can be used to help people with special needs, but it can also be used to change the behavior of your spouse (wouldn’t it be great if your husband would finally take out the trash without being asked?), your friends, your co-workers, your in-laws (!!!) and even your own behavior! We believe that behavior is observable and measurable, and that behavior can be altered by changing what’s happening in the environment. We want to share this knowledge with everyone in the community, starting with the basics: The ABC’s of ABA!

A stands for antecedents. In other words, what’s happening right before the behavior of interest? Let’s use the example of a child who talks out in class. Was work presented? Did you turn away? What were other peers doing? The antecedents can be a huge part of the puzzle when you’re trying to figure out why someone is behaving in a certain way.

B stands for behavior. Here, you’ll note what behavior is occurring. From the previous example, talking out would be the behavior.

C stands for Consequences. The consequence is whatever happens immediately after a behavior. Did you ignore the child? Did you scold the child? Did you take away the work? Did other peers talk to the child? Any of these elements can help you figure out WHY the child is talking out… and, therefore, how you can fix it.

So, now that we know the ABC’s, let’s look at a few examples of how changing the environment can change behavior:

Example 1: During class, a teacher is presenting. Jack continues to talk to his classmate, Joe, even though the teacher is trying to teach. Everyone else in the class is paying attention. ?!

Antecedent: Teacher presenting.

Behavior: Jack talking.

Consequence: Joe listens and responds. The teacher turns around and scolds Jack.

*In this example, Jack received no attention from the teacher until he began talking. Let’s look at what can happen with a few small changes:

The teacher decided to move Joe to the other side of the room.

A: The teacher presents to the class.

B: Jack begins to talk.

C: No peers respond (since his friend, Joe, is too far away), and the teacher ignores Jack and continues to teach.

In this example, Jack receives absolutely no attention. Therefore, it is safe to assume that his motivation for talking out is gone!

Example 2: Whenever I see a bag of chips, I stop and eat the whole thing! (Seriously, it’s like an addiction!)

A: I see the bag of chips in my pantry.

B: I eat the whole bag.

C: The chips taste delicious! But I know this wasn’t a healthy choice.

This problem could easily be remedied through an antecedent strategy. You guessed it… don’t buy chips. BUT, chips are my roommate’s favorite food, so that’s not an option for me. Let’s look at a different way I could remedy this problem by changing my environment.

A: I put a visual representation of my fitness goals next to the chips in the pantry. Some people choose pictures of themselves, others may write a specific weight goal, or still others may choose a calorie goal.

B: I go to get chips and I see the visual. I decide not to eat the chips.

C: I put a dollar in my “good decision” jar, which can be cashed in for new clothes every week!

By changing the environment and adding a reinforcing consequence for a good decision, I have changed a bad habit!

Example 3: A young child with autism tantrums whenever he’s transitioning, even if he enjoys the place he is going.

A: Mom says, “Time to go to the store. Let’s get in the car!” and begins to have her son put on his shoes.

B: The child falls to the floor, crying and screaming.

C: After spending several minutes trying to convince the child to come, the mom finally has to leave her son with a caregiver so she can get the chores done in time for dinner.

Children with autism often have difficulties with transitions. Using ABA methods, we help our students ease into transitions with a few simple manipulations of the environment.

A: At the beginning of the day, the mom shows her son a visual schedule of the day’s activities. This schedule has both a visual image and a written image. This time, before going to the store, the mother shows her son the visual schedule showing that the store is the next place on his schedule.

B: The child puts on his shoes and walks out the door

C: The mother gives her son his favorite toy to play with once he has successfully transitioned to the car.

By showing her son what to expect throughout the day, the mother decreased his anxiety about transitions. Further, she reinforced his successful transition! Now, transitions are fun and exciting!

So there it is, the basics of ABA, in ABC format! Throughout the week, try to be aware of the ABC’s happening in your environment. These strategies can make a huge impact on your work, family, and relationship with friends.

I leave you now with one of my favorite quotes, “That there could be a science of behavior, of what we do, of who we are? How could you resist that?!”—Donald Bear.

Check back every week to learn more about ABA, The Aurora School, and Paxton Campus because… how could you resist that?!


Blog Post Written by Katie Wilcox, M.A.


Welcome to The Arc of Loudoun at the Paxton Campus!

Our programs are located on the historic Paxton Campus in Leesburg, VA, a property with a long history of serving children and families in need.   In 1922, Rachel Paxton had a vision:  She wanted her incredible home and property to serve and benefit needy children.  She created the Margaret Paxton Memorial for Convalescent Children, in honor of her deceased daughter.  Over the years, the property has served as a convalescent center, an orphanage and a day care center.  In 1967, a group of parents with children with disabilities also had a vision: They formed The Arc of Loudoun, a 501(c)3 organization, to start a preschool to serve their children when no one else would.  In 2009, these visions united, forming The Paxton Campus, which has grown into a full service organization with multiple programs that create an innovative learning environment for children of ALL abilities so that they may THRIVE in the community.