VIA Student

FAQs About VIA

Can VIA diagnose my child with autism?

YES! VIA now offers a full suite of autism diagnosis and cognitive assessment tools. Timely diagnosis can speed access to services and improve outcomes for children with autism.  Please Contact Us for more information.

I just received the autism diagnosis for my child, what should I do?

A diagnosis of autism can feel very overwhelming especially with the flood of conflicting information parents may get from doctors, concerned family and friends, and the internet. VIA’s Family Resource Navigator is here to help bridge the gap from diagnosis to services.

What types of services does my child need?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes the importance of early intensive behavioral intervention as the treatment approach with benefit for children diagnosed with autism. Early intervention is critical to the development of language and foundational skills that will support ongoing success. From the American Academy of Pediatrics:

Children who receive early intensive behavioral treatment have been shown to make substantial, sustained gains in IQ, language, academic performance, and adaptive behavior as well as some measures of social behavior, and their outcomes have been significantly better than those of children in control groups.


When can my child get services?

Your child may be found eligible for some services as soon as he or she is diagnosed. If your child is under the age of 3, he or she is eligible to receive services through Part C - Early Intervention. In Virginia, your child is eligible for public school services if he or she turns 2 years of age before September 30 of the current school year. Children remain eligible for special education services (as long as evaluations indicate such services are still warranted) as long as they do not turn 22 before September 30 of the current school year.

How do I get access to services?

A parent or medical professional can initiate a referral for early intervention services through the Infant and Toddler Connection of Virginia. For school-aged children, parents should request an evaluation for eligibility through their local school district.

If my child is found eligible for services, what happens next?

Once a child is found eligible for services, a multi-disciplinary team is gathered to develop an IFSP (Individualized Family Service Plan) in the case of a child in early intervention or IEP (Individualized Education Program) for school-aged children. The parent is a member of this team and should collaborate with the team to develop measurable goals for the child and to determine appropriate services. Parents do not have to sign an IFSP or IEP if they are not satisfied that their child’s needs are being met. For more information on the IFSP/IEP process and parents’ rights, click here

If I am not satisfied with the public school services my child is receiving, how do I get more information on private school options?

The VA Department of Education maintains directories of licensed day and residential schools. While the directory provides general information on the populations each school serves, parents should contact any school in which they are interested and set up a visit to learn more about their approaches and philosophies.

Where can I learn more about autism and related developmental disorders?

VIA’s Latham & Watkins Library and Resource Center houses over 700 volumes, including books and journals, dedicated to autism and Applied Behavior Analysis. Topics covered include early intervention, social skills, curriculum, self-help skills, memoirs, and several more. VIA also maintains information from local and national autism resource organizations in the library. The library is open to the public by appointment between 9 AM and 4 PM, Monday through Friday. Books can be checked out for a period of one month. Please contact VIA’s receptionist at (434) 923-8252 to set up an appointment or to request that a book be held for you.

James C. Hormel School

What is the James C. Hormel School?

Named after one of our most generous benefactors, VIA’s school program provides a comprehensive education to students with autism. VIA’s James C. Hormel School is licensed as a private special education day school by the Virginia Department of Education and accredited by the Virginia Association of Independent Specialized Education Facilities (VAISEF) and the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).

What does a school day look like?

The school day at VIA’s James C. Hormel School runs from 8:30 until 2:30, including a 45-minute lunch period in the middle of the day. The students receive 1:1, 2:1, and small group instruction, depending on their individual needs and goals. Beyond time spent at VIA, many students are accompanied by VIA instructors into public school, work, and community settings.

How do I apply for my child to attend the school?

VIA accepts applications on behalf of children diagnosed with autism or autism spectrum disorders. Parents interested in having their children attend VIA’s James C. Hormel School can find detailed enrollment information here.

For more information, you can fill out our online Getting Started form, or contact our Admission Team at (434) 923-8252.

Who can be enrolled into the James C. Hormel School at VIA?

Admission is open to children diagnosed with autism between the ages of 2 and 22 regardless of race, creed, gender, and ethnicity. The decision to admit a child is multi-faceted. The following variables are considered when reviewing applications: age groups and classroom in which the opening occurs; diagnosis; knowledge, practice, and acceptance of Applied Behavior Analysis as the method used by the school; commitment of family to be involved in training with their child; residency status; and funding. Acceptance into VIA is contingent upon the approval of the child’s IEP team and a written guarantee of funding from the school district, or in the case of families who are privately paying for tuition, a signed enrollment agreement.

Can I tour the facilities?

If you are a parent or community member interested in touring the school, please contact us.

Outpatient Behavioral Services

What does the Outpatient Behavioral Services department do for families?

VIA’s Outpatient Behavioral Services offers an array of educational assessment and intervention services for families seeking help with overcoming the challenges of autism in home-, school- and community-based settings. Using evidence-based treatment and education methods, VIA’s outpatient team provides customized services and supports designed to address a variety of areas, including:

Autism Diagnosis and Cognitive Assessment
Speech Language Therapy
Adaptive and Life Skills
Academic and Pre-Academic Skills
Positive Parent Coaching
Social and Play Skills
Overcoming Challenging Behavior
Intensive Early Intervention

How do I access services from VIA’s Outpatient Behavioral Services?

Please fill out our getting started form or contact us at (434) 923-8252. We will set up an initial interview with your family and perform an assessment to determine areas of need and priority for skill instruction. From there, our staff will develop individualized plan encompassing the identified needs during the interview.

How long does the treatment plan last?

Our goal is to put ourselves out of a job by training parents to teach their children necessary skills using the same evidence based practices implemented by our staff. Whether it is assisting to design a developmentally appropriate Individual Education Plan for a toddler with autism or working with an adolescent diagnosed with Asperger Disorder experiencing social difficulties, the VIA team uses proven practices to help clients and families succeed.

Does VIA accept insurance?

Yes. Outpatient Behavioral Services is an approved provider for a number of insurance companies. Please contact your insurance company to determine if you have coverage through the autism insurance mandate.

My insurance won’t cover the services offered by Outpatient Behavioral Services. How else can I pay for services?

If a family is referred to VIA’s OBS department through their school district or the department of social services, funding may be available through those entities. Families can also pay out of pocket for services. The OBS department has a sliding scale to assist families with no other financial resources.

What is Pathways?

Pathways was a social skills group designed to help children and teens (ages 5-17) make and keep friends, and better understand and respond to difficult social situations encountered by high functioning individuals on the autism spectrum.  Please contact us to learn more about the availability of Pathways social groups.

I don’t currently live in your service area. How can I find resources?

VIA is working to implement telemedicine services for individuals and families that normally would not be able to access our programs. Please contact us at info [at] viaschool [dot] org to request resource information or call (434) 923-8252.

Adult Services

How old does my son/daughter need to be to enroll in Adult Services?

18 for behavioral consultation, and 22 for day support through the Adult Services Academy.

What services do you provide?

Currently, adult day support and behavioral consultation.

How can I pay for these services?

VIA accepts the DD waiver (IFDDS Waiver) through Medicaid and private pay. Families who must use private funds to pay for services are offered a sliding scale option. Please contact us to learn more.

What is day support?

“Day support” service means structured programs of activity or training services for adults with autism or related disabilities, generally in clusters of two or more continuous hours per day provided to groups or individuals in nonresidential community-based settings. Day support services may provide opportunities for peer interaction and community integration and are designed to enhance the following: self-care and hygiene, eating, toileting, task learning, community resource utilization, environmental and behavioral skills, social skills, medication management, prevocational skills, and transportation skills. The term “day support service” does not include services in which the primary function is to provide employment-related services, general educational services, or general recreational services.

What is behavioral consultation?

“Behavioral consultation” is a person-centered process that includes the assessment and treatment of problematic behavior or skill deficits within the environments in which they occur or are supposed to occur. Behavioral consultation generally takes place within the home, community, or workplace. The primary goal is not to manage behavior but to understand the function/purpose of behavior and to strengthen more appropriate/adaptive replacement behavior. Finally, behavioral consultation requires input from and the participation of the adult and their care-providers/support team.