Alicia Lasaga’s Autism Worldwide learning centers are a place where magic truly happens. The centers are known for creating transformative change in their students and the community. They have helped affected young people come out of their shells and express themselves in ways the world hadn’t seen before and worked to make Autism Awareness a topic of public conversation, especially among employers in the area.
To accomplish this, Alicia and her caring staff take the time to get to know their students. They then work together to formulate individualized plans that bestow a new understanding of the world on the children and adolescents enrolled.
Alicia shared that “a lot of times, we will explain to kids, we’re here for you, we’re here to help you communicate to the world how the world should talk to you — because we have to create awareness in the world to make the world change — because not everyone is the same. And the kids calm down, and they are like, okay, you’re not trying to change me; you’re just trying to help everyone understand me better by helping me communicate and advocate for myself in the world.” The teachings at Autism Worldwide allow people affected by Autism to take action and bridge the communication gap between themselves and the rest of society.
Autism Worldwide’s Methods
The learning centers use an updated version of applied behavior analysis (ABA). Rather than utilizing spaces devoid of real-world objects and activities to control the environment — the learning center compassionately helps students feel comfortable in surroundings most children are exposed to on a daily basis. For example, learning centers are equipped with traditional learning spaces, play spaces (indoors and out), art rooms, dance studios and other activity rooms — where children learn new ways to rely less on socially unacceptable and harmful behaviors.
The strategies they use allow the team to fully support students on a student-by-student basis as they become involved in forming relationships with the staff and peers, all while learning to participate in physical activities. This combination builds the students’ sense of purpose, trust and confidence in themselves and the world. And the results have been phenomenal.
Autism Worldwide Results
Alicia commented that she’s had children of all ages come to her centers unable to communicate verbally. However, after a short time with the empathetic staff at Autism Worldwide, parents reported to Alicia that their son or daughter said, “I love you” for the first time ever.
She has also helped students open up to the point of being able to get up on stage, have fun with their peers and perform for parents. Other program participants are on their way to a high school diploma after dropping out in their formative years while older students are entering society, getting jobs and going out with friends.
The learning centers are responsible for facilitating many monumental moments in families’ lives. It all comes down to the patient, thoughtful and individualized teaching methods that give students the self-assurance they need to be themselves.
Working at Autism Worldwide
In addition to creating a warm and loving environment for the kids, Alicia has made it a point to do the same for her staff. She sees that the kids will be best served if everyone is able to be open and collaborate. So she works to keep a positive and communicative culture where everyone has fun and can emotionally relax.
As a special treat, the entire Autism Worldwide team takes a long company retreat weekend at a local hotel. They spend time getting to know each other across locations and bonding through fun and inclusive activities. And for some added delight, she is considering making it a cruise over the coming years.
Overall, Alicia Lasaga has built an extraordinary place to work and attend, and at such a young age. There is no end to what the amazing staff and kids are capable of achieving. Autism Worldwide is located in Orlando, Gainesville and plans to open a third location in Ocala, Fl, in August. Alicia also offers overseas consulting services and plans to expand out of the state and into Georgia and the Carolinas.
If you are interested in learning more about the Autism Worldwide learning centers as a parent or potential employee, visit the website www.autismworldwide.us.com. or contact Alicia at email@example.com.
Opinions expressed by NY Weekly contributors are their own.