Mission and Vision

The Virginia Institute of Autism is dedicated to helping people overcome the challenges of autism through innovative, evidence-based programs in education, outreach and adult services.

Working collaboratively with VIA’s Board of Directors, consumers and community stakeholders, Executive Director Ethan Long has articulated a vision and mission for VIA that results in a center of excellence with core services developed to meet the needs of people with autism across their lifespans. These services and programs generate individual, family and community outcomes. These outcomes are then analyzed to inform subsequent program development and improvement.

The Virginia Institute of Autism incorporates the values of strategic leadership (LEAD), innovation and evidence-based (CREATE), and systems transformation (CHANGE) into all planning, program development and operational activities. The successful adherence to these core values is evident in organizational results.


The Virginia Institute of Autism is committed to creating innovative programs that will provide models for how services can more effectively and efficiently help people with autism and their families, even people not directly served by VIA. Virginia Institute of Autism programs will be developed, refined and ultimately replicated to demonstrate to key stakeholders and policymakers ways in which people impacted by autism can be best served in their communities. This is the strategic process by which VIA’s vision of a world in which people overcome the challenges of autism will be accomplished.

James C. Hormel School

The James C. Hormel School is a year-round, day-school program licensed to serve students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder between the ages of 2 and 22. We provide students with a comprehensive, state-of-the art education and clinical program designed to address the core symptoms of autism and related learning issues. A multidisciplinary faculty, consisting of experts in autism education and treatment, develops individualized education programs for each student. The school provides an intensive staff to student ratio such that each student receives daily one-on-one instruction from highly trained instructors, as well as supervision from an expert Behavior Analyst.

Students’ parents and caregivers receive additional support and training to implement practices in the home. In addition, families are supported by a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who helps families and caregivers access additional support and community resources.

Outpatient Behavioral Services

The Outpatient Behavioral Services program provides evidence-based behavioral therapies designed to address the continuum of needs exhibited by children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder. Services are designed to address the core symptoms of autism spectrum disorder along with many of the associated challenges. Depending upon a client’s needs, behavior therapy is provided in their homes, communities, and/or VIA’s specialized clinic. In addition to individual therapy, we provide social skills training groups, summer camps, parent and caregiver coaching, and a number of workshops/continuing education events for health care practitioners, educators and child care providers.

VIA Academy

VIA Academy engages adults with autism spectrum disorder in educational, skill-building, and behavioral support opportunities, Monday through Friday. The Academy’s three colleges—College of Life Skills, College of Business, and College of Health and Well-being—provide structured, meaningful, evidence-based outcomes which promote each adult’s opportunity for successful interactions in the Academy, at home, and in the community. Intensive behavior consultation services are available to assist individuals in attaining and maintaining goals, based on preferences, strengths, and needs.

Academy instructional staff are highly-trained, experienced, and creative, assisting each adult in attaining goals which are not only important for the individual, but also important to the individual.

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