The Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement
Center's mission is to serve children and families who are faced
with unique learning challenges, specifically autism and learning
disabilities, in and around the Roanoke Valley. The Blue Ridge
Autism and Achievement Center (BRAAC) is licensed by the Virginia
Department of Education to serve students ages 2-22. BRAAC provides
specialized educational programs in a private day school setting as
well as direct and consultative educational services in public
schools. An after-school tutoring program provides continuity and reinforces consistency for
students and families. BRAAC also provides specialized services for
children in their homes as well as in-home training for parents. All
of these highly specialized services necessitate continued
professional development, which BRAAC provides to its staff, local
school divisions, community support professionals and family
The Blue Ridge Autism Center (BRAC) was
incorporated in September 2002, by a small group of parents and
professionals dedicated to providing appropriate education, support,
and information for children who have autism and their families.
In September 2002, Blue Ridge Autism Center
began its program serving two children in temporary quarters located
in the childrenís education building at Rainbow Forest Baptist
Church in Blue Ridge, Virginia.
Upon successful completion of application to the Virginia Department of
Education (VDOE) for a certificate/license to operate, BRAC began
offering a six-hour daily student educational program five days per
week, generally following Botetourt County Public Schools'
calendar. In 2009, BRAC was serving over 100 students with autism
in the centerís location, private homes and within the 8 contracted
public school districts, combined.
In 1975, The Achievement Center (TAC) was
licensed by the Virginia Department of Education to serve students
with learning disabilities. The Achievement Center began to help
students who needed services to address special learning needs,
beginning with the orphanage at St. Vincentís Home, in Roanoke,
Virginia. St. Andrewís Catholic Church charged the school $1 a year
rent for the 28 years TAC was there. TAC existed in the old
orphanage until 2003, when they purchased land and built a state of
the art school in Roanoke County to serve 100 students with learning
On June 15, 2009, the Blue Ridge Autism Center and The Achievement Center
merged as one great facility to serve students with learning
challenges under the umbrella of St. Vincentís Home, Inc. The name
was then changed to The Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center (BRAAC).
Students with a diagnosis of Autism, Aspergerís, Verbal/Nonverbal Learning
Disability and/or Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder began to be served
under one roof at 312 Whitwell Drive in Roanoke County, Virginia in
August of 2009.
The Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center is a day school
licensed by the Virginia Department of Education which offers a
highly structured program for students with learning disabilities
and autism. The purpose of the Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement
Center is to provide each student with individual learning
experiences aimed at promoting his/her growth and development. Staff
members firmly believe that each student must be offered a variety
of experiences based upon his/her need and capability.
A professionally trained staff teaches the individually structured
program. For students with learning disabilites, the method of instruction includes the
sequential, multi-sensory, phonetic approach to the teaching of
reading, writing, spelling, and arithmetic. For the autism
population, Applied Behavior Analysis utilizing methods such as
Discrete Trial Therapy, Verbal Behavior, Task Analyses, etc., is
Curiosity for and a love of learning should be fostered. The faculty
believes that all students have learning potential, which the school
must identify, stimulate, and nurture.