Avenues of Engagement — Meet Adult Academy Client Erik

July 31, 2017 | Adult

Name: Erik

Age: 23

@VIA: 3 years. Currently a client in the Adult Academy.


  • Volunteering at Bellair Farm
  • Exercise
  • Shopping
  • Developing independence in the kitchen

Outside of VIA:

Erik is an avid horseback rider and runner, participating in various area races, as well as Virginia Special Olympics. His family enjoys seeing him engage with his running buddies – smiling, making eye contact. “The interaction is very natural,” says his mother Carol. “There’s real connection there.”

The Challenge:

For people on the autism spectrum, behavior challenges (like repetitive gestures, or vocalizations, or lack of impulse control), can be a real obstacle to being part of the community. Erik’s challenging behaviors are infrequent, but they do happen. “That is one of the core features of autism,” says Erik’s father, Greg. “If he doesn’t know what’s going on or is frustrated about something, he can become very agitated.”

Meeting the Challenge:

Carol: “The VIA staff have done an excellent job of giving Erik many opportunities to participate in community activities. They are very in tune with him, so that if he’s having a bad day, they resolve any issues before they result in inappropriate behavior.”

Greg: “Without VIA support, Erik would likely lead an extremely isolated life, with little meaningful access to his community.”

erik bellair