Able Academy helps child with autism flourish

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One little boy is learning and growing successfully, thanks to a critical diagnosis. Last year, four-year-old Matthew Alvarez couldn’t talk and didn’t want to play with other children.

The staff at Able Academy in Collier County got right to work after a pediatrician diagnosed Matthew with autism.

The small class sizes and one-on-one attention is helping Matthew excel, setting him up for a successful future in school.

Not only is Matthew now speaking, but he is also singing and dancing with his classmates too.

His mother, Claudia Hernandez, said, “Since he started there, we have seen a lot of improvement. He has done so much better. He loves his teachers, and he has a routine. He loves to go to school. When he wakes up, he grabs his backpack, and he knows his time to go.”

Jennifer Schaaff is the outreach coordinator at Able Academy. She added, “I think the sky’s the limit for him. From seeing him where he was and really upset. Kind of like just in his own little shell, and now he’s flourishing.”

Matthew’s mom says Able Academy is giving her family hope that Matthew will talk and, one day, be independent.

Able Academy is one of the local organizations that benefit from monies raised by the Naples Winter Wine Festival.

Thursday at 7 p.m. on WINK News, meet the children, see some of the exclusive, high-end donations that will raise millions of dollars. And learn how you can take part.

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