Valentine’s Day Dance – February 21

Meet new friends, have fun, and DANCE! Featuring the very special DJ Stephanie Rasul. Light drinks and snacks will be provided.
(Attendees must be 19 and older, Participants that need assistance for physical and behavioral needs must be accompanied by their caregiver)

Register Here! 

When: FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21 | 6:30-8:00PM
Where: ALLY ADVOCACY CENTER – Located at The Arc of Loudoun
601 Catoctin Circle, NE, Leesburg, VA 20176

Stay updated on future The Arc of Loudoun events by subscribing to our email list here.

Mommy [or Daddy] and Me!

Register Here

A meet up where Moms [or Dads] can come with their toddlers ages 12 – 24 months, both with and without special needs, to meet with other Moms, grab a cup of coffee, their toddler’s play with each other, talk about whatever they like.

We understand it can be very isolating to be a Mom [or Dad] at home with a little one, and this is an opportunity to chat, complain, be with others who are facing similar challenges, be inspired, be supported and make new friends.

We meet every other Wednesday in ALLY Advocacy Center, building #625. Come enjoy toys for the toddlers, doughnuts and coffee for the adults, and a little old fashion “grandmotherliness” from Penny Lewis, Administrative Director of Open Door Learning Center.

Children learn Social Skills as early as infancy.  Toddlers need to be exposed to their peers to learn to  handle the give and take of sharing, being autonomous from their parents, being able to deal with new situations outside the home, emotional regulation etc.  Parents can enjoy a break from the isolation of the daily care of an infant or toddler, share techniques and strategies for dealing with the challenges of child rearing, such as bedtime woes, potty training, temper tantrums etc.  develop a support group, meet other Moms who might socialize outside the M and M. 

When: Every other Wednesday starting November 6, 2019 through February 26, 2020
Time: 10 am – 12 pm
Where: ALLY “A Life Like Yours” Advocacy Center
Arc of Loudoun Campus
601 Catoctin Circle, NE, Bldg #625
Leesburg, VA 20176
Cost: $40 for 8 sessions

For more information, please contact Penny Lewis at or 703.777.6010 x251.


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Shocktober Opens its Doors for Two Nights in FEARbruary!

Shocktober Opens its Doors for Two Nights in FEARbruary!

LEESBURG, Virginia – February 4, 2019 – Shocktober’s Paxton Manor will open its doors for its fifth annual My Bloody Valentine event, two nights in February the weekend after Valentine’s Day: Friday the 15th and Saturday the 16th! It is Shocktober in … FEARbruary, the Carvers are looking for dates for the Valentine’s Day Dance Massacre, a terrifying twist to your typical Valentine’s date! Doors open at 7pm and the last tickets are sold at 10pm on Friday and Saturday.

This year we have amazing community partnerships and sponsorships including our own BLOOD red wine, “My Bloody Valentine Wine,” that is locally produced by Tarara Winery in collaboration with Shocktober, on sale this FEARbruary at our My Bloody Valentine 2-night event. Shocktober merchandise is also available to purchase online and on site.

Dates: Friday, February 15th and Saturday, February 16th

Hours: Friday and Saturday: 7pm-10pm

Location: 601 Catoctin Circle, NE, Leesburg, Virginia 20176

Cost: Tickets are sold online at and at the door. ONLINE ONLY SPECIAL: $60 for 2 people “Couples Pass” for My Bloody Valentine at Paxton Manor; General Admission $35 (online only) $40 (at the door) for one person. Group discounts available online only.

Although known for its frightening PG-13 tours among thrill-seekers and locals, all proceeds from Shocktober’s My Bloody Valentine benefit The Arc of Loudoun, a non-profit organization that advocates for and provides direct service to children and adults with disabilities, as well as their families, caretakers, and the professionals who work with them through its many programs: The Aurora School, Open Door Learning Center Preschool, ALLY “A Life Like Yours” Advocacy Center, Aurora Behavior Clinic and Ability Fitness Center.

If you have a family member with special needs, want to volunteer, attend our events, or support The Arc of Loudoun, visit .

Stroke Recovery – Northern Virginia

Stroke Recovery 

Ability Fitness Center, located at The Arc of Loudoun in Northern Virginia, serves stroke survivors and people living with physical disabilities. At Ability Fitness Center, stroke survivors can exercise, develop skills to practice daily activities, and create friendships with others who may have similar disabilities. 

The main goal at Ability Fitness Center is for each stroke survivor (or people living with other physical disabilities) to improve their quality of life and reach their maximum potential. 


Specialized Equipment 

Our specialized equipment is created for people living with physical disabilities. 

  • Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) Bike – enables clients with very little muscle control to exercise using pulses of electrical current to stimulate their nerves 
  • NuStep – has an inclusive design and specialized adaptive equipment, making total-body strength and cardio work-outs possible for virtually any user, including many who use a wheelchair 
  • Lite Gait – allows client to comfortably walk in an environment free from falls, and also allows clients to learn to walk with proper upright posture
  • Easy Stand Glider – active standing provides lower body range of motion and upper body strengthening. Users move the handles with their arms (or a caregiver can assist) which creates a reciprocal movement in the legs. The full range seat  allows full leg extension while standing.
  • Learn about all of our equipment here. 


Meet Tony, a stroke survivor

“Back in August of 2016 I suffered a severe stroke. Doctors told me it was 9.5 out of 10. It was very severe. I came to Ability Fitness Center (AFC) for my recovery. One thing I noticed, I lost quality of life when I had a stroke. And AFC definitely improves quality of life. 

When I first came to AFC, I was able to walk, but my walking form was not very good at all. Endurance was five minutes being able to stand, right now I’m standing for one hour. Now, my gait and posture has improved a lot. Before, I could only walk about ten feet before passing out, and now I’m able to walk about half an hour. It’s just been amazing. My speed has gotten to a point now, where I can almost walk a normal speed.

The progress I’ve made here has been tremendous. I would not be doing the things I’m doing now without AFC. I know that for a fact. I recommend Ability Fitness Center to anybody.” 


Meet Debbie, a stroke survivor

Debbi suffered from a stroke 15 years ago and has been a member of Ability Fitness Center (AFC) since January 2018. Debbi loves attending AFC several times a week, where she uses a majority of the equipment. She says, “After only going to AFC for a couple of months, I’ve already seen such a difference in myself, which is is amazing! Even my 14 year old daughter has complimented the improvement in my walking! If I can get my teenager to notice you know I’m making real improvements!”

Learn more about Ability Fitness center here


Contact us:


Phone: 571.439.1520

Fax: 703.777.1935

IFSP Application Training – September 17, 5:30-7:00pm

Individual and Family Support Program (ISFP) Application Training 

Learn about the IFSP online application process at The Arc of Loudoun!

Monday, September 17, 2018 | 5:30pm-7:00pm 
At The Arc of Loudoun 
601 Catoctin Circle, NE 
Leesburg, VA 20176

Register for the training HERE. 

What is ISFP funding?
The Individual and Family Support Program (IFSP)Funding provides cash assistance for services, supports, and items for individuals with a developmental disability that enhances or improves their quality of life and promotes independence and community-based living.

Who can apply?
Individuals with a developmental disability or their family member and who are on the DD waitlist.

For more informationn about the waiver waitlist, please visit or contact your local community services board (CSB).

Just like last year, all applications must be submitted on‐line using the IFSP Application web portal located at

September 10, 2018 is the first day to save an application draft. You will be able to review the application, fill in your information, and save a draft copy. If you need to make changes, you will be able to correct or edit your information. You will not be able to submit your application before the submission date.

On October 10, 2018 at 9:00 am, applicants will be able to submit a completed application. You will not be able to submit your application before the submission date. Remember, the IFSP Funding Remember, the IFSP Funding Program provides assistance on a first‐come‐ first‐served basis. Early applications are encouraged

All applications must be submitted online by November 8, 2018

Register for the application training HERE. 

FBA & BIP Workshop April 10, 5:30-6:30 pm

Join us at our Functional Behavior Assessments (FBA) & Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) Workshop 

Does your child tantrum? Do they scream, cry, or drop to the floor? At this workshop you will learn how to interpret Functional Behavior Assessments and Behavior Intervention Plans. 

A Functional Behavior Assessment is a tool used to determine why a child is engaging  in challenging behavior. A Behavior Intervention Plan is used to help a child’s team learn how to manage challenging behavior needs. 

Our workshop is on Tuesday evening, April 10 at ALLY Advocacy Center (Building #625) in Nora’s Room at The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus, from 5:30-6:30 pm.

$15 for the General Public. 

Register online HERE.

FBA and BIP workshop parents functional behavior assessment behavior intervention plan


Preschool to Kindergarten Transition Workshop – April 25th

Before the Bus Starts Coming: Still Deciding If You Will Send Your Preschooler to Kindergarten?

TOPIC:  This is the workshop for parents and families in the community who are having a difficult time deciding on whether or not to send their child to Kindergarten

SPEAKERS: Lori Padgett, Special Education Supervisor, ECSE and Karin Spencer, Consulting Teacher in the Office of Special Education 

WHEN:  Wednesday, April 25, 2018; 6:00 pm 

WHERE:  ALLY Advocacy Center on Paxton Campus
  601 Catoctin Circle, NE
  Leesburg, VA  20176

FREE, No registration required. 

Questions:  Eileen Shaffer

EMAIL: TEL: 703.777.1939 ext. 208 


Parent Support Group meets May 1; 5:30pm-6:30pm



Interested in joining our Parent Support Group? Please contact Eileen Shaffer at:

Are you the parent or caretaker of a child with a disability or special needs?  Do you wish you could talk with other parents who are in similar situations? Please consider joining our Parent Support Group!

Parent Support Group will meet the first Tuesday of each month of the School Year and coincide with Social Skills Group. While your child attends Social Skills Group, you are welcome to join a network of other parents. PLEASE NOTE: Your child does not need to be enrolled in Social Skills to attend.

Upcoming meetings: 

Tuesdays from 5:30pm to 6:30pm

October 3

November 7

December 5

January 2

February 6

March 6

April 3

May 1

Parent groups can serve many purposes, but one of their most important can be to introduce families to others like themselves, building a sense of community and of understanding. 

For more information on this group, please contact Eileen Shaffer at:

Amazon Smile

Shop with AmazonSmile

Amazon donates .5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice (The Arc of Loudoun!)

It’s as easy as 1-2-3! Follow the steps in the Infographic below to learn how to shop with Amazon AND give back to The Arc of Loudoun.

Bishop’s Events 2019 Run First Wine Later 5k and 10k; July 20

Come out and enjoy these scenic 5k/10k cross country courses around the gorgeous vineyard. A portion of the proceeds benefit The Arc of Loudoun. 

Tickets here. 

Runners Receive:
1 Tasting of 4 Wines from Tarara Winery, Finisher’s Medal, Technical (Drifit) Event Shirt, & A Chip Timed Event

Walkers and leashed pets are welcome to attend this event. Strollers are welcome, but course may not be suitable for the average stroller.

Now offering a virtual run option for those who cannot make it on race day. You will receive a medal.

Race Start Times
10k – 8am
5k – 8am

Registration Fees
5k – $30, until June 30 ($35)
10k – $45, until June 30 ($50)
T-shirts guaranteed to runners registered before July 10. We will order extra t-shirts for those who register after that date, but it is on a first-come first-served basis.

Tickets here. 

Course Maps can be found at:
10k is two laps.

Packet Pickup
At the event (one hour before the race starts).

Race Day Registration
There will be race day registration. Participants will need to arrive around 45 minutes before the race to get registered for the event. T-shirts sizes can not be guaranteed for race day registers.

Directions to Parking
The race starts and ends at Tarara Winery (13648 Tarara Ln, Leesburg, VA 20176). Parking is on-site

Futures Planning: Guardianship and Alternatives to Guardianship – July 25

At this workshop, you will learn about supported decision making, guardianship, conservatorship, advanced medical directives and estate planning. Valerie Geiger and Cary Cucinelli of Cucinelli Geiger PC will be presenting.

Date:  Thursday, July 25, 2019

Time:  10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Location:  The Arc of Loudoun
                    601 Catoctin Circle, NE, Leesburg, VA 20176
                    ALLY Advocacy Center Nora’s Room

Cost:  Free to Loudoun County Residents and Arc of Loudoun Members; Suggested $10 donations appreciated.


Cannon’s Club- Friday Night Social – July 26th

Join us for fun, food, and friendship! Play games, create crafts, and make friends at our Friday night hangout. Cannon’s Club is open for both teens (13-19) with AND without disabilities. REGISTRATION REQUIRED, LIMITED SPOTS AVAILABLE.

When: Friday, July 26th | 7-9pm | $5/person
Where: Aurora Behavior Clinic, located in the stone barns at The Arc of Loudoun | 601 Catoctin Circle, NE Leesburg, VA 20176

REGISTER to Tammy Goddard at

Futures Planning: Back in the Groove: Tools for a Smooth Reentry to a New School Year – August 22

Kick off new school year preparation with Formed Families Forward. Enjoy a relaxed morning with other parents and caregivers as we get creative with tools for laying the groundwork for a successful start to the school year. Families will create an “All about Me” one page document to share key information about their student and family with school staff. We will also review some strength-based planning and self-determination tools. Hard copies of materials will be provided to create the information sheets, but feel free to bring laptops and/or electronic versions of your student’s photos and key documents. Older teens are welcome to participate in the session, child care for younger children is NOT available

Date:  Thursday, August 22, 2019

Time:  10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Location:  The Arc of Loudoun
                    601 Catoctin Circle, NE, Leesburg, VA 20176
                    ALLY Advocacy Center Nora’s Room

Cost:  Free to Loudoun County Residents and Arc of Loudoun Members; Suggested $10 donations appreciated.





First Annual Chili Cook-Off – September 14

Join us on Saturday, September 14, 2019 from 12 to 4 PM at 14 Loudoun,  14 Loudoun Street SE, Leesburg, VA 20175 for the First Annual Chili Cookoff presented by neXco National and B&C.

Enjoy music by “Just South of 7”, chili from local Chefs, and 14 Loudoun’s exceptional selection of beer and wine.

All proceeds benefit The Arc of Loudoun and their mission to create a lifetime of opportunities for people with disabilities and their families.

Purchase Tickets here.

7th Annual Ability Fitness Golf Tournament

Join us on October 3, 2019 for our Annual Ability Fitness Golf Tournament. Enjoy a day out on the course while benefiting Ability Fitness Center. The tournament will be held at one of Loudoun’s top golf courses- Loudoun Golf & Country Club.

Entry Fees Include: Green Fees, Lunch, Cocktail Reception & Dinner

Kendra Scott Pop-Up at Tarara Winery, June 24

Sip while you shop for a cause at Tarara Winery! We’ll have our latest summer collection, as well as the must-haves for your Kendra Scott collection. 20% of all sales will benefit The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus. 

See you there!


























Paisano’s Leesburg Summer Bash on June 30

Come join us for a fun-filled day in the sun at Catoctin Corner as we welcome in summer and to benefit a great cause! All proceeds benefit The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus. Along with delicious Paisano’s food, there will be family activities and meet & greets throughout the day: 

Live music, kid’s entertainment, special character meet and greets, prize raffles, Paisano’s gift cards, giveaways and much more! Come meet Santana Moss at his autograph signing from 4-5pm. More information here. 

July High Heeled Happy Hour on July 10

Mingle, drink, shop and get pampered at the July 10th High Heeled Happy Hour with special guest Bobbi Desai (a special needs mom and real estate agent) from Century 21 Redwood Realty. Proceeds from the event benefit The Arc of Loudoun! Register here.  





























“This Business of Autism” Film Premiere – July 28

“This Business of Autism” Northern Virginia Film Premiere – July 28 

You’re invited to the Northern Virginia Film Premiere of “This Business of Autism.”

Saturday, July 28 | 2:00pm – 4:30pm | Regal Cinemas Fox 16 and IMAX, Brambleton, VA 

Buy tickets here!

Join the producers, members of the cast, local practitioners and local dignitaries to watch this timely and topical feature-length documentary on employment opportunities for adults with autism, produced by Loudoun’s own Mesh Omnimedia!

Immediately following the film, there will be a 30-minute Q&A session with the director, members of the cast and local practitioners–including The Arc of Loudoun’s own Director of Clinical Services, Kendra McDonald!

Don’t miss this unforgettable opportunity to see what people with disabilities CAN do in the workforce! 

Buy tickets here!

Watch “This Business of Autism” trailer below: 

12 Band Jam and Ride – August 11th; 10:30am-12am

12 Band Jam & Ride

Come out and enjoy 12 different awesome bands that will be jamming all day and night! Proceeds benefit the Aurora School serving students with special needs. 

Saturday, August 11, 2017 | Spanky’s Shananigans – Leesburg, VA

RIDE: 10:30am Kickstands up – Riders Depart

$20 for motorcycle riders/$10 for passengers, includes t-shirt and lunch

Riders, come and enjoy ½-price breakfast starting at 7:30 am!

JAM: 12:00pm to 12am – Enjoy the bands – 12 Band Jam Lineup

$10 admission at door for 12 Band Jam

Win fabulous raffle prizes!

50/50 raffle!  Prizes awarded every hour between 3pm – 10pm!

List of Bands:

  • 12 PM: Andy Hawks Train Wreck Endings
  • 1 PM: Striped Cows
  • 2 PM: Gary Hoffman Band 
  • 3 PM: Chris Timbers 
  • 4 PM: Ricky J and the Blue Rhythm
  • 5 PM: Fresh Cracked Pepper
  • 6 PM: Fast Eddie and the Fast Lane Blues Band
  • 7 PM: Stone Cold
  • 8 PM: The Hipnecks
  • 9 PM: David Lange
  • 10 PM: Bastards of the Twang 
  • 11 PM: Willie White 



Opportunities Open Golf Tournament – October 1

Opportunity Open Golf Tournament

October 1, 2018 | 7:30am – 2:00pm | River Creek Country Club

100% of the profits from the 22nd Annual Opportunities Open help support Dulles International Airport Rotary charities, including ECHO, ServiceSource, the ARC of Northern Virginia, the Arch of Loudoun, FOP Cops and Kids and local student scholarships. 

More information here. 

ABA Therapy Training – For Parents and Caregivers – October 2 and October 4

Join us in this 2 part class on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)! 

Is your child engaging in challenging behavior? Applied Behavior Analysis can help you address challenging behavior.  At this workshop you will: learn the basics of ABA,  determine why behavior is occurring, and learn how to positively reinforce the behavior you want from your child. 

Part 2 includes: examples, demonstrations, and a question and answer session.  Attendance to both workshops is highly encouraged!

These classes will be on two evenings, October 2 (Part 1) at The Arc of Loudoun in ALLY Advocacy Center (Building #625 in Nora’s Room) and October 4 (Part 2) at the Aurora Behavior Clinic from 5:30-6:30 pm.

$30 for 2 classes OR $15 for Part 1 on October 2 and $15 for Part 2 on October 4

Register online HERE.


Shocktober 2018 October 5-November 4

Shocktober Haunted House

Every fall, Paxton Manor in Leesburg, VA transforms into a 4-story, terrifying, award-winning haunted house, giving thousands of patrons the scare of a lifetime. Built in the late 1800s, Paxton Manor has become the topic of many urban legends and a must-see attraction for thrillseekers across the country. The real reason for Shocktober? It’s the largest fundraising event for The Arc of Loudoun, a local nonprofit creating a lifetime of opportunities for children with special needs and their families.

Shocktober 2018 is open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from October 5- November 4. Doors are open from 7pm-10pm on Friday and Saturday and 7pm-9pm on Sundays. 






Tickets are on sale now! Interested in becoming a sponsor? Click one of the buttons below: 

LightUp Fest at One Loudoun – November 8-January 2

LightUp Fest at One Loudoun

Date: November 8, 2018 to January 2, 2019
Time: 5:30pm to 10:30pm daily 

The LightUP Fest is an eight-week exhibition that combines the latest lighting technology and artisan crafted lanterns to showcase the rich heritage, tradition and culture of the world. 

With 77 stunning displays presented in different themes, the LightUP Fest promises to be an eventful night for everyone!

There are 4 major themes in the exhibit – Tour of Fantasy; Freedom America; Mysterious East and Magical World. One of the featured highlights unique to this exhibit is the display of the Capitol Hill Building. There are also many interactive segments well suited for Instagram worthy moments.

In addition to the incredible light displays, there are daily acrobatic performances, unique arts & craft showcase, and a wide variety of unique cuisine including street food from China available for the enjoyment of the festival goers.

This is truly a must-see extravaganza and a wonderful experience for the entire family!

Use code ILoveLoudounARC2018 and recieve a 10% discount off to LightUp Fest. If you use this code, a portion of the proceeds will also be donated to The Arc of Loudoun!  

Buy your tickets here.

Aurora Behavior Clinic Grand Opening – November 14th 5-7pm

Aurora Behavior Clinic Grand Opening 

In gratitude of your support, we invite you to our
Aurora Behavior Clinic Grand Opening Celebration
on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 from 5-7 pm.

Join us for the ribbon cutting, open house, and light refreshment as
we celebrate our new home in the Stone Barns located
at The Arc of Loudoun 

RSVP here. 

Giving Tuesday, December 3rd

On December 3rd, The Arc of Loudoun is celebrating Giving Tuesday.

Your donation will help to support and grow The Arc of Loudoun programs and the communities we serve. Thank you for your support in empowering, embracing, and engaging adults and children with disabilities and their families.


Become a Friend-raiser…We invite you, a member of our Arc of Loudoun Family, to become a friend-raiser and help raise much-needed revenue to serve people with disabilities and their families. By rallying your friends, family, neighbors, classmates, and co-workers, you directly help people with disabilities and their families in Loudoun County, and you’ll help your friends feel good about doing good.

Starting a fundraiser on behalf of the Arc of Loudoun is easy to do and it’s fun. We’ll give you all the tools you’ll need to make a difference. With your help we can provide a lifetime of opportunities for people with disabilities not only during this holiday season but for their lifetime.

Our goal is to raise $20,000 by the end of 2019! Start your Friend-riaser today. Learn more. 

DMV comes to The Arc of Loudoun; February 5; 10am-3pm

ALLY Advocacy Center is bringing DMV to you!!! We are thrilled to announce that DMV-Connect will be setting up shop in the ALLY Advocacy Center building at The Arc of Loudoun on Tuesday, February 5th from 10am-3pm (by appointment only)

How to Schedule an Appointment

**Please contact Eileen Shaffer at or 703-777-1939, ext. 208 for an appointment. To be eligible for an appointment, you must have a family member with a disability or be a staff member at The Arc of Loudoun.

About DMV-Connect

DMV-Connect is an outreach program of the Department of Motor Vehicles that connects Virginians to services who may not be able to travel to or wait in line at a traditional DMV office.

If you have a family member with a disability and would like to get them an Identification Card (even if they are under 15 years old), they now offer the opportunity to get an indicator on the card designating the following categories: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Intellectual Disability, Hearing Impairment, Speech Impairment and Insulin-dependent diabetic. This a great, proactive way to insure that First Responders are notified of the disability. Please note that in order to do this, you must bring a doctor’s evaluation or note that lists the diagnosis.

They will also be able to conduct other services including: Virginia State IDs, Veterans IDs, Child IDs, Driver’s licenses, Disabled parking placards and Vehicle titles and registrations. To avoid long waits, we are scheduling appointments for this service.

**Please contact Eileen Shaffer at or 703-777-1939, ext. 208 for an appointment. To be eligible for an appointment, you must have a family member with a disability or be a staff member at The Arc of Loudoun.

Documents to download before your appointment:

My Bloody Valentine – February 15 and February 16

Shocktober presents: My Bloody Valentine

Every FEARbruary, near Valentine’s Day, Paxton Manor opens is doors for an annual anti-Valentine event.  Our haunted house My Bloody Valentine event is a self-guided tour through love-wrecked horrors inside the terrifying Paxton Manor. 

Whether you want to hold your loved one closer while going through 32-rooms of terror or whether you are single and want to go out with a bunch of friends because love… stinks, our event is open to you!  

The real reason for Shocktober’s My Bloody Valentine? The funds from the event support The Arc of Loudoun, a local nonprofit creating a lifetime of opportunities for adults and children with special needs and their families.

My Bloody Valentine 2019 is open Friday, February 15 and Saturday, February 16. Doors are open from 7pm-10pm.

Ticket prices:

My Bloody Valentine (ONLINE): $35.00(Plus Service Fee), (At the door): $40.00

Couples Pass (ONLINE ONLY): $60.00 (Plus Service Fee) for 2!

Group Rate (ONLINE ONLY): for groups of 10 or more: My Bloody Valentine at Paxton Manor $28.00(Plus Service Fee)/per person

Tickets are on sale now! All tickets are non-refundable.

Professional Crisis Management Workshop for Parents and Professionals; February 23rd and 24th

Professional Crisis Management Training (PCM)  

Prevent aggressive behavior before it begins with PCM (Professional Crisis Management) Training! At this training, learn de-escalation and crisis management strategies.

WHO: Parents and professionals who work and care for individuals with behavioral difficulties

DATE: February 23rd and February 24th from 9am- 6:30pm 

COST$400 – Community Members & Caregivers, $350- Indivdiuals Cert. for Aurora and Aurora Behavior Clients, $500 – Two parents Cert. for Aurora and Aurora Behavior Clients

REGISTER: Amy Metaxa,

LOCATION:     The Aurora School

601 Catoctin Circle, NE, Leesburg, VA 20176

  • Professional Crisis Management courses teach a range of verbal (non-physical) and physical strategies for managing crisis situations safely and effectively.
  • Training will include repetition of physical procedures, an introduction to behavior analysis and the function of behavior, real life discussions of scenarios, coursework, and problem solving of individual concerns.

What is Professional Crisis Management? – reprinted from the link:

PCM is an advanced system of crisis management. Unlike other methods that teach intervention techniques only after individuals have become non-compliant, agitated or aggressive, PCM focuses primarily on prevention before a crisis occurs. PCM includes Crisis Prevention, Crisis De-escalation, Crisis Intervention, and Post-Crisis Intervention components. PCM utilizes “hands on” competency-based training and written tests to certify that individuals who receive instruction in PCM reach the highest level of skill acquisition. PCM is the only complete crisis management system available that can guarantee successful prevention and intervention with maximum safety, increased dignity and total effectiveness.

Crisis Prevention

The best way to handle a crisis situation is to prevent it before it happens!

The crisis prevention component of the PCM system teaches a wide range of nonphysical and verbal strategies for the prevention of crisis situations. Since PCM is based on a teaching and learning model, it integrates smoothly as well as complements and strengthens your existing teaching and treatment strategies. Furthermore, throughout the PCM course, an emphasis is placed on the importance of individual choice and basic human rights.

Crisis De-escalation

The PCM system is based on a cognitive-behavioral model of intervention that utilizes established research based techniques for verbally de-escalating disruptive and aggressive behaviors. The PCM de-escalation component benefits from the groundwork established during the prevention process. During the PCM training course, participants acquire skills that enable them to quickly and safely stabilize an escalating situation before it becomes necessary to physically intervene.

Crisis Intervention

PCM provides individuals with a continuum of painless physical procedures and techniques that can be utilized to intervene in a crisis situation. Specific procedures have been uniquely designed for children, adolescents, and adults. All of the procedures have been designed to maintain human dignity and to completely avoid awkward positioning and physical pain. The PCM training course teaches participants to respect the dignity and value of all human beings and to be sensitive to individual human rights and freedoms.

Post-Crisis Intervention

The PCM course teaches participants various methods of interacting (verbally) following the implementation of crisis intervention. Specific content for post-crisis intervention counseling is presented and practiced at all training courses. Participants gain skills that enable them to quickly reintegrate individuals back to their regular teaching or treatment activities. Participants obtain training in how to conduct post-crisis analysis which includes ways of improving future interactions in crisis situations.




Annual Meeting – February 27

The Arc of Loudoun  requests the honor of your presence for our

Annual Meeting
On Wednesday, February 27th, Two Thousand Nineteen
At Six O’clock in the Evening

The Arc of Loudoun 
The Aurora School
601 Catoctin Circle, NE
Leesburg, Virginia

Come enjoy a light dinner, drinks, and connecting with The Arc of Loudoun family. We will elect our new slate of Board of Directors,  share  “2018: Year in Review,” present the Beth Mills Special Service Award and Rick Berry Professional Award, 

Thank you for what you do to empower, embrace, and engage children with disabilities and their families. 

Please RSVP by February 25th here OR contact Morgan Payne
Telephone: 703.777.1939  ext 106

Ability Fitness Center Open House – February 28

Ability Fitness Center Open House

Ability Fitness Center, a therapeutic fitness and wellness center for people
with spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries, stroke, Parkinson’s Disease,
multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and other neurological disorders.

Can you or somebody you know use our services? Join us at our Open House, February 28 where you can tour the facility, meet the staff, and learn about the equipment. 

When:  Reschedule to Thursday, February 28, 2019 | 9am-4pm 

Where: Ability Fitness Center, 585 Catoctin Circle, NE, Leesburg, VA 20176

RSVP here. 

The Arc of Loudoun Celebration Gala – March 23

The Arc of Loudoun Celebration Gala

To see all the photos from  2019 The Arc of Loudoun Celebration Gala click here. 

Join us for this inspiring celebration as we rally together to embrace, educate, engage and empower people with disabilities and their families.

What: A family* fundraising celebration for all ages to support The Arc of Loudoun’s mission. Evening includes a four-course dinner, Sherwood R. Simons Achievement Award and The Arc of Loudoun Courage Award presentation, live and silent auctions, raffle, music by Mangione & Benton Jazz Quartet, and dancing with the ‘80’s Band Sensation, The Reflex!

When: Saturday, March 23, 2019 from 6:00-11:00pm
Lansdowne Resort and Spa, 44050 Woodridge Parkway Leesburg, VA 20176

 Chair: Ara Bagdasarian, CEO and Co-Founder of Omnilert

Attire: Accessible Elegance- defined as what makes you shine – suit, tux, dress, khakis – whatever is lovely and reasonable for you


General Admission: $85

Reserved Seats: $150 – One single reserved seat, two drink tickets for beer/wine

Cocktails available for purchase.

For sponsorship opportunities please contact Denise Daffron

at or 703.777.1939 ext 112

*A calming room will be available for those with sensory sensitivities.


Leon Harris from NBC News 4 at 4 to emcee Gala!


We’re excited to announce Mangione & Benton Jazz Quartet will be performing throughout the night! 

Tucker Benton – Saxophone
Chris Mangione – Guitar
Ryan Benton – Guitar and Keys
Chris Marsh – Bass




Thank you to our generous partners! 

Mission Sponsor: 

Beatriz McNelly



Champions of The Arc of Loudoun: 


Friends of The Arc of Loudoun: 

Ellie Addae

Kathy and Jeff Lubitz


Supporters of The Arc of Loudoun: 

Halstead & Halstead | Chris Arnold | Jenni Bickerstaff | Scott Billigmeier
Kelly Carberry | Clark Carr | Stacey Cleveland | Diane Culp |
Michael Goodman | Jordan Harris | Melissa Heifetz | Bonnie Hoffman
Bernadette & Brian Ishmael | George Pellicano | Mary Shurtz



       purchase tickets the arc of loudoun paxton campus 50th anniversary celebration gala sponsorship information the arc of loudoun paxton campus 50th anniversary celebration gala donate auction items the arc of loudoun paxton campus 50th anniversary celebration gala  

This Business of Autism Showing – April 6

The Arc of Loudoun in Partnership with Tuscarora High School’s Husky Buddies Program Presents: This Business of Autism 

When: Saturday, April 6 | 1pm

Where: Tuscarora High School, 801 N. King Street, Leesburg, VA 20176


Join us to watch this timely and topical feature-length documentary on employment opportunities for adults with autism, at the crossroads of entrepreneurism, government programs, corporate responsibility, and family—produced by Loudoun’s own Stephen and Shannon Mackey!

Before the showing, there will be a Q&A session with the Director of the film, Stephen Mackey. Immediately after the film there will be a panel discussion. 

Don’t miss this unforgettable opportunity to see what people with disabilities CAN do in the workforce!

Learn more about the film, watch the trailers, and get your own copy on the film’s website at



VSA – Sensory Friendly Art Class – May 3

Exploring Art Media

A sensory-friendly homeschool art class

Recommended for ages 5-10 (*please contact instructor for age exceptions)

Sensory bin play, kinesthetic art exercises, line and shape exploration, constructive sculpture, light and shadow play, color mixing, and more!

When: Fridays April 5,12, 26, and May 3, 2019  (*No class April 19- Spring break) | 10-11:15am

Where: Classes meet in the Nora Room at the ALLY building  at the Arc of Loudoun | 601 Catoctin Cir NE, Leesburg, VA 20176

Price:  $50 for 4 classes, 10% discount for sibling sign ups  (cash or check payment due at first class) Art supplies and materials provided. 

Register online: (use PayPal button at bottom of page under “New Special Series Children’s Art Classes”)  or contact instructor Huyen MacMichael 703.962.0125



Pathways to the Community – April 27

Pathways to the Community 

Addressing key barriers to justice for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and discussing practical solutions that work for them. For adults 18+

WHEN: Saturday, April 27th | 9:30am – 3:30pm

WHERE: 906 Trailview Blvd., Suite, Leesburg, VA 20176 in the ASPEN Conference Room

WHO: Individuals served who access the community at large without a support person




10-10:15 Introductions & Overview of Pathways to the Community
Roger Younker and Eileen Shaffer
10:15-11:15 Troy Grooms’ Story – Miranda Rights
Bonnie Hoffman & Genevieve Miller 
11:15-11:30 Break
11:30-12:15 “Keeping Yourself Safe” Cyber Safety
Lisa Kimball, CEO – The Arc of Loudoun
12:15-1:00 Lunch
1:00-2:00 League of Women Voters 
Voting Rights and Time to Register to Vote
2:00-2:15 Break
2:15-3:00 Personal Safety 
Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office 

Sponsored by: Loudoun County Department of MHSADS and Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office

In Partnership with:The Arc of Loudoun- ALLY Advocacy Center
Bonnie Hoffman and Genevieve Miller-Attorneys



Check out images from our first Pathways to Justice Training here.

Give Choose on May 7th

On May 7th, The Arc of Loudoun is participating in Give Choose, a 24-hour day of giving organized by the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties. Money raised from Give Choose will benefit all five programs at The Arc of Loudoun. Your participation in Give Choose will help people with disabilities and their families that we serve.

Choose to Give to The Arc of Loudoun on May 7th!

We are grateful for your support. Thank you for helping us do more for our community.

Music at the Manor – May 11, 2019

Music at the Manor Festival – Celebrating Moms and Music

 Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who joined us at the 2019 Music at the Manor Festival, a day-long celebration of family, friends, food, and of course, music—from blues to contemporary to rock.

It was a special day as we all joined together to embrace, educate, engage, and empower people with disabilities and their families who love them.

Thank you to our performers – you were maahhvelous!

Ella Levri

King Street Band – their CD is available for sell!

Creative Dance Center “Cast” Dancers

Jack Squared


Frayed Knots

Kage – 2019 Loudoun’s Youth Battle of the Bands winners!

Thank you to our signature partner Blossom and Bloom Thrift Shop!

Food partners:  

Wine and Beer Partners:

Vendor Partners:  Mary Kay by Tetiana, Mixed Media Art by Crystal Mills, Holiday Bakers, Superkicks, Costco of Leesburg, The League of Women Voters Loudoun, “Get Back in the Book! children’s book by Larry Issa, and Legacy Farms

Thank you to our generous partners:



Adult Social Station – Creative Art at ALLY – May 17 – CANCELLED

Adult Social Station – Once a Month Social! – CANCELED

At our monthly Friday socials from 6:30-8:00 PM , adults with disabilities (19 and older) learn how to appropriately interact with others and achieve social success.

Upcoming Adult Social Station: Creative Art at ALLY | May 17 |$20 | 

Schedule of 2019 events:

May 17th: Creative Art at ALLY (Session Fee) – CANCELED

June 21: Summer Dance (Free)

July 12: Ice Cream Social and Games (Session Fee)

Where: ALLY Advocacy Center at The Arc of Loudoun, 601 Catoctin Circle, NE Leesburg, VA 20176

At the monthly socials, adults with disabilities will:

  • Practice every day appropriate conversations
  • Learn “What makes a good friend.”
  • Create peer relationship and conversations using the principles of
    verbal behavior and ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) with an ABA Therapist

*All participants that need assistance for physical or behavioral needs must be accompanied by their caregiver.

An ABA therapist will be present at the socials to include ABA principals during activities/events.

Contact: Nyteisha Stith at or 703.777.1939 ext. 200


Loudoun Chamber Commerce Superhero 5k – June 2

Loudoun Chamber Commerce Superhero 5k & Kids Fun Run

What: 5th Annual Superhero 5k & Kids Fun Run, presented by the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce

Date: Sunday, June 2, 2019

Location: Riverside High School

This is a fun, family-friendly event, with activities for all ages! Races include a 5K walk/run for all ages, and a 1K walk/run and Tot Sprint for the kids. There will be games and entertainment for all throughout the event at Superhero Central. A portion of the proceeds will benefit The Arc of Loudoun.

Everyone who registers by Wednesday, May 15th will receive a free race t-shirt in the size they request through registration. Note: Shirts are not available if you register after May 15th, so register early! Register here. 

Race Day Schedule & Location:
8:00 am – Opening ceremony, including recognition of the nonprofit beneficiary, The Arc of Loudoun
8:30 am – Superhero 5K Walk/Run begins
9:30 am – Superhero 1K Sprint & Superhero Tot Sprint
9:45 am – Closing ceremony, including recognition of top finishers and fundraisers

The race village, Superhero Central, will be open throughout the event with entertainment for all ages. Children who 2+ are required to register for the event. Check out Day of Activities and vendor’s HERE.


Futures Planning on June 20 – Summer’s here! Now what?!

Futures Planning – Every month we  present the tools to consider when developing a plan for the future to families, siblings, adults with disabilities, and others interested

Next workshop: Thursday, June 20| 10:00 am – 12 pm

Topic: Summer’s here!  Now what?!

At this workshop, you will learn about local family fun, vacation planning tips and tricks, local enrichment activities, and much more.  Come meet local vendors. Your entire family is welcome. 

Location:  ALLY “A Life Like Yours” Advocacy Center | 601 Catoctin Circle, NE, Bldg #625, Leesburg, VA 20176

Workshop is FREE for Arc of Loudoun Members and Loudoun County residents.  Suggested $10 donations appreciated. REGISTER HERE.

Workshop is FREE for Arc of Loudoun Members and Loudoun County residents.  Suggested $10 donations appreciated. REGISTER HERE.

Questions: Contact Eileen Shaffer:


Future Topics:

July 25:  Guardianship and Alternatives to Gaurdianship – Register here

August 22:  Tools for a smooth reentry to a New School Year – Register here

September 30:  Collaborating and Communicating with Schools to Build Resilience in Children Impacted by Trauma


Past Futures Planning Videos:

April 2019 Futures Planning: Virginia Medicaid Waivers

January 2019 Futures Planning: Special Needs Trusts

December 2018 Futures Planning: Social Security Benefits 

November 2018 Futures Planning on Managing Real Estate in a Special Needs Trust

October 2018 Futures Planning on DD Waivers and CCC+ 

Waiver Information/Medicaid Waivers

Futures Planning September 2018: Creative Housing Options for People with Disabilities 

Summer Dance – June 21

Meet new friends, have fun, and DANCE! Featuring the very special DJ Stephanie Rasul. Light drinks and snacks will be provided.

When: FRIDAY, JUNE 21 | 6:30-8:00PM
Where: ALLY ADVOCACY CENTER – Located at The Arc of Loudoun
601 Catoctin Circle, NE, Leesburg, VA 20176

(Attendees must be 19 and older. Participants who need assistance for physical and behavioral needs must be accompanied by their caregiver)


Adaptive Art Classes for Adults – Thursdays: 6:00-7:00 pm

To Register: or 703.777.1939 ext. 200

Taught by Darcy Swope and Trent Carbaugh, owners of and instructors at Birds of A Feather Art School

Adults 18+ of ALL abilities are invited to take part in this exciting instructional class that will allow you to discover your inner artistic voice. Darcy and Trent are skilled art instructors and therapists, with a great deal of experience working with people of all abilities. Each week will provide a new and exciting opportunity to try different mediums (or the same one each week if that is what you would like to do!).

WHAT: Expression Through Art: Adaptive Art Classes for ALL Abilities

WHO: Adults 18+ of ALL abilities

**Drop ins are welcome.


THURSDAYS in ALLY: 6:00-7:00PM

WHERE: ALLY Advocacy Center on Paxton Campus

COST: $10/per participant* per week for members of The Arc of Loudoun (CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT BECOMING A MEMBER)

$12/per participant* per week for non-members of The Arc of Loudoun

*limited scholarships available on case by case basis


For more information, or to register, please contact Nyteisha Stith at 703.777.1939, ext 200 or


Social Skills Group, Ages 6-10, Summer Fun with Friends

Wednesdays from 3:30-4:30pm, June 21st-August 9th, 2017

“Summer Fun with Friends” is a once a week after school social skills program that offers a balance of brief instruction with a variety of fun indoor and outdoor games and activities to practice skills they are learning in an engaging and natural way.

  • Each group is supervised by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst
  • Skills are taught  by ABA Therapists
  • Our focus is on Peer Interaction, Conversation and Verbal Skills
  • Ideal candidates for this group are conversational but need facilitation for improved social skills

Please click here the Summer Fun with Friends Inquiry Form link to request registration.

Enrollment is determined on a first come first served basis.
Each session is $20/day or $130 for all 7 days (a $10 savings!) and is paid in advance. The Arc of Loudoun members get 1 FREE day if enrolled in all 7 days!



50 Faces of The Arc- Lauren

Meet Lauren. She works at Maggie’s Closet (named after the founder of Paxton Campus’ daughter, Margaret) a non-profit store located on Paxton Campus that provides free clothing and accessories for families in need. After one year of volunteering, Lauren was given the opportunity to work part-time at Maggie’s Closet through STEP Up; a program of The Arc of Loudoun that teaches vocational skills to adults with disabilities. Maggie’s Closet accepts shoppers by appointment only and features all sizes of quality, seasonal clothing. Lauren recently began taking on more responsibility; answering phone calls, and scheduling shopping visits. She greets each shopper with a smile when they arrive for their appointments.

Lauren says working at ‘Maggie’s’ has been an amazing experience,

“I have a lot more confidence talking to people now and have become more independent. I’ve learned skills that I’ve never learned before!”

Skills such as answering the phone and interacting with customers were challenging for Lauren at first, but now she’s able to do both tasks easily. In fact, she’d love to do more public speaking. Lauren says,“I’d like to be on TV or the news. Advocating and being able to talk at The White House about Paxton would be my dream!” Lauren especially enjoys meeting all the families who shop at Maggie’s,“I love seeing them smiling. It makes me happy knowing that I’m bringing happiness to all of the people who are shopping.”

Learn more about Maggie’s Closet here:



VSA Art Group for Adults; Mondays: 10am-12pm

Art Group – Targeted for ages 16 and up. These fun and creative art projects are not only a great way to express yourself, but are also an interesting way to connect with peers. Artwork will be shared and discussed with the group, offering a chance to not only discover art, but also something about yourself and each other!

Location: ALLY Advocacy Center on Paxton Campus
When: Weekly Monday 10:00 – 11:00AM
Cost: $10/session ($15 for both Studio and Group)

Open Studio – Targeted for ages 16 and up. This ongoing studio session provides an artistic outlet for people just beginning to explore their interest in the visual arts as well as those who have long enjoyed painting, drawing and other art media. Participants will enjoy meeting at area art centers to do their own work at their own pace, with an instructor on hand for tips and techniques.

Location: ALLY Advocacy Center on Paxton Campus
When: Weekly Monday 10:00 – 11:00AM
Cost: $10/session ($15 for both Studio and Group)

Creative Benefits

The growing VSA arts DaVinci Art Studio provides various exciting opportunities for people of all abilities to enjoy the multiple benefits of making art. The creative process can help focus, relax, express oneself, discover the world, and practice decision-making skills — the artist gets to chose, and they are always right!

While classes listed below are drop-in, please contact us at (540)338-7973 or contact Lisa Zimmer-Chu, VSA Artistic Director via regarding your interest in order to help with planning.

Fees are nominal (please inquire if assistance is needed) and all programs include materials.

Our Instructures and Volunteers:

Lisa Zimmer-Chu, VSA Artistic Director for the Visual Arts is also the instructor for both the DaVinci Open Art Studio and DaVinci Group. She holds a BFA in Painting from Michigan State University as well as an MPS in Creative Arts Therapy from Pratt Institute in New York. She has also served on the Board of Directors and taught at the Round Hill Arts Center.

Stolen Golf Cart Fund

“It makes me pretty sad that such a memorable cart got damaged and vandalized by someone. I do hope that it can be bought back to slow and safe use for Paxton.”
-Drew Gutenson
STEP Up Team



in the Drop-down menu. DONATE NOW!

Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 12.04.18 PMScreen Shot 2015-08-12 at 12.04.28 PM

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Designate Golf Cart Fund on the check.

Make your check payable to Paxton Campus, and mail to:

Paxton Campus
Attn: Meredith Lefforge
601 Catoctin Circle, NE
Leesburg, VA 20176

Paxton Campus’ beloved golf cart was stolen off our property sometime between Wednesday 8/5 and Thursday 8/6

This golf cart was used by our STEP Up team to practice driving, to deliver campus mail and to move things around the campus.

Please consider donating today!

Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 12.10.23 PM



Read the article in the Leesburg Today 

The Sherwood R. Simons Achievement Award

The Sherwood R. Simons Achievement Award

In 1967 a group of parents who had children with special needs joined together and formed The Arc of Loudoun, a non-profit organization, in the hopes of starting a preschool that would accept their children when no one else would. Mr. Sherwood Simons and his wife, Ann Simons, were one of those families who were looking for their son to have “A Life Like Yours”. They wanted him to have a school where he would be welcomed like every other child….where he could feel included, have friends, feel safe, and be given the opportunity to learn and reach his maximum potential.

Thanks to the Simons Family and the dedication of many parents who came afterwards,  The Arc of Loudoun has grown into a full service organization, with multiple programs and services that together, serve over 3,000 children and adults with disabilities, and their families each year.

At The Arc, we do our best to meet the needs of the disability community, but we cannot do it alone. With estimates of approximately 16,000 children with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Loudoun County alone, collaboration with other non- profits, government agencies, corporate partners, and many caring and dedicated individuals is absolutely necessary to achieve “A Life Like Yours”.

With the creation of the Sherwood R. Simons Award, we are celebrating a community member who has made a significant impact in helping the disability community achieve the goal of “A Life Like Yours”. They have worked diligently in their personal or professional life to make sure that individuals with disabilities are valued for what they CAN do, rather than for their limitations. They have worked to make sure that this community is treated with fairness, kindness and justice. They are the one fulfilling the dream that parents will no longer have to search for a place for their child to fit in…..they will be welcomed with open arms.



VOLUNTEERS: Help us start a Garden!

CALLING ALL VOLUNTEERS! Are you free Saturday, July 11th? Looking for a fun and helpful way to spend your afternoon?

Help us start our garden! 

Where: Paxton Campus
When: July 11th 10am-2pm

Bring your own gloves and gardening tools!
RSVP to 

We have a new partnership at Paxton with Legacy Farms (Legacy Farms is a nonprofit dedicated to providing support services and agrarian based vocational training to adults with autism, as well as those with developmental and social challenges).

Legacy is working to one day have a farm for their staff to work and reside at, and in the meantime build relationships with other businesses in Loudoun.  They have reached out to Paxton to build a vegetable garden on our grounds for our Step Up program!

This is something that would be meaningful and a great business opportunity – the Step Up team can work the garden and eventually sell the veggies at the farmers market!

If so, come ready to work, get dirty and have fun! Refreshments will be provided.  Even if you can only work part of the time, we will take it

Hope to see you there!


Paxton Gets A Bus Stop!

Need to catch a ride from Paxton? Don’t feel like driving, but you want to attend one of our awesome, upcoming events? Now you can!

Paxton Campus is the proud owner of a bus stop! Our bus stop is located on Catoctin Circle right outside the entrance to Paxton.


The beautiful bench is thanks to our friend, Miss. Emily Burch. Emily picked the Paxton Campus as part of her Silver Award for Girl Scouts and got us this awesome bus stop bench!

Now, when you visit you can rest and enjoy some shade under the tree.
Thank you Emily Burch and Girl Scout Troop 4472! We love our bench. .

This bus stop opens up transportation opportunities for our staff here on campus, as well as the community around us. Jennifer Alves, receptionist at Paxton Campus, was so relieved and happy when Paxton received a bus stop.

“This area (Leesburg) can be really restraining for those who don’t drive.”

Jennifer uses the bus on some days to commute from work and this gives her more freedom and independence in her schedule.

This bus stop is helping Paxton Campus be more accessible to EVERYONE and we are so happy!


Check out our bus stop next time you stop by The Paxton Attraction and use it while riding Route 55!

Do More 24 – June 4th – Day of Giving

thank you

Thank you to all those who donated to Paxton Campus and participated in our Selfies for Good contest. We had so much fun!  THANK YOU!




On  Thursday, June 4th we can all Do More to help our community.


Paxton Campus has partnered with United Way of the National Capital Area and 600 other local nonprofits in the greater DC area in this annual day of giving.

We need your help to make this year’s campaign successful. Here’s what you can do:

1)         Mark your calendar for Thursday, June 4th.

2)         Bookmark this giving link.

3)         Spread the word! Post our giving link and your support on your social media       channels.

4)         Donate on June 4th. You can help us to win additional cash prizes!


Your donation on June 4th will help us continue to support and grow these programs and the communities they serve.

We are grateful for your support. Thank you for helping us Do More for our community.

Aurora Turns 10!



Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Beverly Denny Ethan, a student at the Aurora School in Leesburg for children with autism, climbs up the inflatable cake that was part of the school's 10th anniversary celebration July 12. Former Washington Redskins player Marcus Washington was a special guest and signed autographs.

Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Beverly Denny
Ethan, a student at the Aurora School in Leesburg for children with autism, climbs up the inflatable cake that was part of the school’s 10th anniversary celebration July 12. Former Washington Redskins player Marcus Washington was a special guest and signed autographs.

Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Beverly Denny Former Washington Redskins player Marcus Washington, left, signs his autograph for a 12-year-old student at the Aurora School in Leesburg for children with autism along with her teacher, applied behavior analysis therapist Hillary Mazur, during the school's 10th anniversary celebration July 12.

Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Beverly Denny
Former Washington Redskins player Marcus Washington, left, signs his autograph for a 12-year-old student at the Aurora School in Leesburg for children with autism along with her teacher, applied behavior analysis therapist Hillary Mazur, during the school’s 10th anniversary celebration July 12.


On Friday, July 12th, at 1:00pm, Paxton Campus’ The Aurora School celebrated its 10th year anniversary.

Ten years ago, The Aurora School was founded by parents in cooperation with The Arc of Loudoun. Aurora started as a very small school with only 3 students in Purcellville and now has grown to 30 students and 42 highly qualified staff, and this year we are hoping to grow even bigger!

In 2009, The Aurora School moved to the Paxton Campus in Leesburg and has been growing and thriving more each year. There to help celebrate the school’s birthday was Special Guest, Marcus Washington of the Washington Redskins.

The Aurora School is a caring, educational community that offers a quality education for individuals with special needs, primarily students with autism. We provide a progressive learning environment that serves individuals with intellectual disabilities, ages 5 to 22. Using the latest techniques, curricula, and technology, students and their families become active partners in their individualized education program. We challenge our students to achieve personal excellence and independence and offer a wide variety of special education programs. Our curricula and activities are made to meet the individual student’s needs. Among the skills we teach our students are: Verbal behavior; Academic literacy; Reading; Social skills; Self-management; and Problem solving skills.

10 3 2


Paxton Campus creates a butterfly garden!


time series

Here is a time series of photos taken on the morning that we created a butterfly-shaped Monarch Waystation, at Paxton Campus in Leesburg Virginia.

On Saturday, June 22nd, Paxton staff and volunteers from our community created a butterfly-shaped Monarch Waystation. *The time series of photos above show the steps taken to create our garden.

With generous donations of native plants (milkweed and nectar plants for monarchs and other pollinators) from Earth Sangha and Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy (LWC); advice from Ann Garvey of the LWC’s program on habitat restoration; and the hard work and determination of 15 creative and enthusiastic volunteers. We want to thank you all for the support!

This garden will not only help host the monarchs through this leg of their journey, it will also serve to bring a natural sensory experience to our students, both at Open Door Learning Center, our preschool and kindergarten program; as well as students from The Aurora School, our school for children and young adults with autism and other related disabilities.

Though this project is not 100% completed, we were able to do the most important step, get the plants in the ground to flourish and bring the butterflies to our campus!

Town of Leesburg’s Proclamation: Autism Awareness Month!

Here is Jennifer Lassiter, our Executive Director at Paxton Campus, speaking about Autism and the challenges faced by people who have Autism and their families.  She spoke in front of Leesburg’s Town Council on April 9th and received a Proclamation from Mayor Kristen Umstattd and the other members of Leesburg’s Town Council.

The proclamation states: Autism Awareness Month is a special opportunity for everyone to educate the public about autism and issues within the autism community.

Thank you Town of Leesburg and our supportive Town Council Members!

The ABC’s of Applied Behavior Analysis

In honor of Autism Awareness Month, we are doing a special set of blog posts here at Paxton Campus!  It’s an exciting time of the year for us, seeing places all over the world “light it up blue” to show support and spread awareness for some of the students we are fortunate enough to serve every day.  Check back later this month for more great posts in honor of Autism Awareness!

Here at The Aurora School, we use the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis to serve our clients needs. Applied Behavior Analysis (or ABA) is a science devoted to the understanding and improvement of human behavior.

Or, as I like to put it, we make data-driven decisions to drastically improve our students’ lives. So, as I’m sure you can imagine, we think ABA is just too good to keep to ourselves! ABA can be used to help people with special needs, but it can also be used to change the behavior of your spouse (wouldn’t it be great if your husband would finally take out the trash without being asked?), your friends, your co-workers, your in-laws (!!!) and even your own behavior! We believe that behavior is observable and measurable, and that behavior can be altered by changing what’s happening in the environment. We want to share this knowledge with everyone in the community, starting with the basics: The ABC’s of ABA!

A stands for antecedents. In other words, what’s happening right before the behavior of interest? Let’s use the example of a child who talks out in class. Was work presented? Did you turn away? What were other peers doing? The antecedents can be a huge part of the puzzle when you’re trying to figure out why someone is behaving in a certain way.

B stands for behavior. Here, you’ll note what behavior is occurring. From the previous example, talking out would be the behavior.

C stands for Consequences. The consequence is whatever happens immediately after a behavior. Did you ignore the child? Did you scold the child? Did you take away the work? Did other peers talk to the child? Any of these elements can help you figure out WHY the child is talking out… and, therefore, how you can fix it.

So, now that we know the ABC’s, let’s look at a few examples of how changing the environment can change behavior:

Example 1: During class, a teacher is presenting. Jack continues to talk to his classmate, Joe, even though the teacher is trying to teach. Everyone else in the class is paying attention. ?!

Antecedent: Teacher presenting.

Behavior: Jack talking.

Consequence: Joe listens and responds. The teacher turns around and scolds Jack.

*In this example, Jack received no attention from the teacher until he began talking. Let’s look at what can happen with a few small changes:

The teacher decided to move Joe to the other side of the room.

A: The teacher presents to the class.

B: Jack begins to talk.

C: No peers respond (since his friend, Joe, is too far away), and the teacher ignores Jack and continues to teach.

In this example, Jack receives absolutely no attention. Therefore, it is safe to assume that his motivation for talking out is gone!

Example 2: Whenever I see a bag of chips, I stop and eat the whole thing! (Seriously, it’s like an addiction!)

A: I see the bag of chips in my pantry.

B: I eat the whole bag.

C: The chips taste delicious! But I know this wasn’t a healthy choice.

This problem could easily be remedied through an antecedent strategy. You guessed it… don’t buy chips. BUT, chips are my roommate’s favorite food, so that’s not an option for me. Let’s look at a different way I could remedy this problem by changing my environment.

A: I put a visual representation of my fitness goals next to the chips in the pantry. Some people choose pictures of themselves, others may write a specific weight goal, or still others may choose a calorie goal.

B: I go to get chips and I see the visual. I decide not to eat the chips.

C: I put a dollar in my “good decision” jar, which can be cashed in for new clothes every week!

By changing the environment and adding a reinforcing consequence for a good decision, I have changed a bad habit!

Example 3: A young child with autism tantrums whenever he’s transitioning, even if he enjoys the place he is going.

A: Mom says, “Time to go to the store. Let’s get in the car!” and begins to have her son put on his shoes.

B: The child falls to the floor, crying and screaming.

C: After spending several minutes trying to convince the child to come, the mom finally has to leave her son with a caregiver so she can get the chores done in time for dinner.

Children with autism often have difficulties with transitions. Using ABA methods, we help our students ease into transitions with a few simple manipulations of the environment.

A: At the beginning of the day, the mom shows her son a visual schedule of the day’s activities. This schedule has both a visual image and a written image. This time, before going to the store, the mother shows her son the visual schedule showing that the store is the next place on his schedule.

B: The child puts on his shoes and walks out the door

C: The mother gives her son his favorite toy to play with once he has successfully transitioned to the car.

By showing her son what to expect throughout the day, the mother decreased his anxiety about transitions. Further, she reinforced his successful transition! Now, transitions are fun and exciting!

So there it is, the basics of ABA, in ABC format! Throughout the week, try to be aware of the ABC’s happening in your environment. These strategies can make a huge impact on your work, family, and relationship with friends.

I leave you now with one of my favorite quotes, “That there could be a science of behavior, of what we do, of who we are? How could you resist that?!”—Donald Bear.

Check back every week to learn more about ABA, The Aurora School, and Paxton Campus because… how could you resist that?!


Blog Post Written by Katie Wilcox, M.A.