The Virginia Institute of Autism's programs and services are built around the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis, and employ professionals in the fields of behavior analysis, childhood special education, speech-language therapy, clinical psychology, and occupational and physical therapies.
VIA is committed to providing evidence-based services that address the core symptoms of autism
Jessica Doucette, M.S., BCBA
Director of Education Services, James C. Hormel School
Ashley Stonemetz-Walding, M.S., BCBA
Director of Outpatient Behavioral Services
Milestones and Recognition
The Virginia Institute of Autism was founded in 1996 by families desperate to find effective education for their children with autism. Started initially as an after-school program, VIA quickly became licensed as a full-time day school and began to grow, eventually expanding to include outpatient and adult service offerings.
1998: In 1998, VIA moved to a house on Park Street, allowing the school to accommodate 12 full-time students. As staff expertise grew, VIA also expanded its outreach work, offering ABA workshops for parents and professionals, hosting interns and collecting a small lending library of books to make available to the community.
2001: VIA moved into its current location, a three-building campus that accommodates up to 45 students, faculty workspace, outdoor activities, and facilities for life-skills training. This site has allowed VIA to host larger groups for workshops and expand its library to hold more than 700 volumes.
2006: VIA’s school program was renamed in honor of a generous benefactor, James C. Hormel. As VIA continues to develop its programs to meet the growing needs of area families and professionals, we are extremely grateful to be part of such a supportive community, without whom, none of these accomplishments would be possible.
2010: Dr. Ethan Long joined VIA as the Executive Director and developed a new vision with the board to establish the Center of Excellence based on the three program pillars of education, outreach and adult services.
2012: VIA recognized the lack of services available to adults with autism and launched the VIAbility Day Support Program for adults with autism and related developmental disabilities.
2012: The James C. Hormel School receives the CARF accreditation for three years. The summary report noted:
“The program staff training at VIA is superior.“
“Is a gold standard for the field.“
“Stakeholders interviewed were overwhelmingly complimentary of the programs.“
2013: VIA receives Mitch Van Yahres Family Friendly Employer Award through the Children Youth and Family Services of Charlottesville and is honored as an employer with practices that instill a family-friendly work culture.
2018: For the first time, all three core VIA programs (James C. Hormel School, Outpatient Behavioral Services, and Adult Services) receive accreditation from CARF. The summary report noted VIA’s “extremely deep commitment to its mission, vision, and values,” and a “notable and impressive history and culture.”
2018: VIAble Ventures is named to the UVA Darden School iLab Business Incubator program, a 10-week intensive workshop providing supports and consulting to launch a candle making business to employ adults with autism.
2020: VIA is runner up and receives “Honorable Mention” from the Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Council for its Breaking Barriers through Telehealth Award recognizing VIA’s shift to remote delivery of essential services during the COVID shutdown.
2020: VIA is among the recipients of the Charlottesville Area Chamber of Commerce Pivot Awards - honoring "determination, innovation and collaborative spirit that carry our community through challenging times."
A message from VIA President and CEO Dr. Ethan Long on the value of special education services.Full Story
Building for the future with the support of the Perry Foundation, and generous private donors.Full Story
In a letter to Governor Northam, VIA outlines some of the key issues for families with special needs to feel safe and be supported.Full Story
Accreditation and Professional Affiliations
VIA is accredited by CARF International – the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities and by VAISEF – the Virginia Association of Independent Specialized Education Facilities.