Virginia Institute of Autism (VIA), Charlottesville, VA, and St. Vincent’s Home (SVH Services), Roanoke, VA, announced recently that the two organizations have merged. The result is an expanded Virginia Institute of Autism, forming one of the largest nonprofit providers of pediatric and adult services, inclusive of educational, behavioral, and habilitative services for autism and related disabilities in Virginia.

The merged organization employs approximately 300 people who provide direct services, including Applied Behavior Analysis; special education; speech-language therapy; and diagnosis, assessment, and clinical treatment services. The organization now serves more than 200 students, 175 outpatient families, and nearly 100 adult clients over the age of 22 across more than 28 localities statewide.

VIA is led by the collaboration and expertise of trusted leaders from both organizations. Ethan Long, Ph.D., BCBA-D, serves as president and chief executive officer, and Angie Leonard, former CEO of SVH, serves as chief operating officer southwest.

VIA and SVH Services were each founded by parents whose children were diagnosed with autism and faced challenges that were too great to be met in typical public school settings. Since those early days, both organizations have shared a focus on using evidence-based practices to help students, clients, and their families overcome the challenges of autism and other developmental or intellectual disabilities throughout all stages of life.

“Our organizations share a passionate mission for serving families who need effective behavioral and educational programs,” said Ethan Long. “We are excited to continue offering our evidence-based services uninterrupted, and we believe that our larger footprint allows us to better advocate on behalf of our families at the state and local levels, affecting policy and funding in ways that benefit those we serve.”

All VIA and SVH Services programs are included in this merger: VIA’s Day Schools, Adult Services, and Outpatient Behavioral Services as well as SVH Services’, BRAAC (Blue Ridge Autism & Achievement Center), Katie’s Place, Adult Services, and Family Services. Administrative offices are maintained in both Roanoke and Charlottesville. VIA and SVH Services have not implemented or imposed any reduction in staff as a result of the merger. Operational implementation of the merger was completed on January 1, 2023.

“We are truly excited to build a stronger, more vibrant organization that works tirelessly on behalf of our clients,” said Angie Leonard. “Today marks the start of a new journey, and we look forward to embarking on it with our staff, families, supporters, and our many community partners.”


VIA builds a brighter future through compassionate, effective, evidence-based services for persons with autism and their families. The merged organization serves families in more than 28 localities spanning most of the central and western parts of the Commonwealth of Virginia from its four primary locations in Roanoke, Lynchburg, Lexington, and Charlottesville.