The Achievement Center of Texas is a licensed non-profit day care and day habilitation center for children and adults with special needs. We make every effort to offer families services that support those children wherever possible. In providing a wide range of services in the least restrictive environment, students at the Achievement Center can grow and develop physically, intellectually, emotionally and socially. At our center, they work toward greater independence and a more satisfying way of life.
About Our Classes
The classes here at Achievement Center of Texas are designed with special needs in mind. Students are assigned to classes based on age level, ability level and behavioral goals. We have group activities, but we also have a number of individual activities for each student to match their ability level.
These individual activities are designed to shine a light on what our students can accomplish – not what they can’t. We find that focusing on personal goals over broad, clinical academics make for much happier students.
Our Day Care center, known as the “Peanut Gallery,” is a licensed facility that specializes in serving children with special needs. Each day is structured with a soothing, reliable routine, which includes:
- Two to three sessions of indoor recess
- One outdoor recess session
- Several bathroom breaks that serve each student’s individual needs
- Snack time
- Art projects
- Academic activities
Kimono Dragons is our highest functioning, most independent group of students at ACT. In this class, we focus on forming social skills, having appropriate conversations and daily living skills. We help this group of students obtain part-time work in the area and implement other inclusion efforts. This class also enjoys group activities, such as:
- Much more!
Shining Stars is our second highest functioning classroom, so many of the students enjoy a number of independence-exercising activities. This class has a mix of students, in terms of ability level, so the more independent students are able to help the less independent ones achieve more.
Shining Stars are welcome to join Kimono Dragons in all the group activities that they enjoy.
Chameleons is our third highest functioning classroom at ACT. In this class, we have students who are working on communicating their wants and needs effectively and implementing more socially acceptable behaviors by discouraging loud vocalizing, wandering, inappropriate hand placement, etc.
We focus on socially acceptable stimming or visual stimming over tactile stimming.
TLC – Tender Loving Care
TLC is filled with students with eclectic ability levels. In this class, we have students with vision impairment, hearing impairment, physical disabilities and intellectual disabilities.
The commonality for students in this class are their behavioral or aggressive outbursts. We help students more effectively communicate their wants and needs, which can help reduce their frustration levels.
We also keep our students busy with ability-based activities, such as music, arts and crafts and puzzles. Happy students are also much less likely to react aggressively.
Sunshine Club includes students who require the greatest amount of hands-on care. In this group, our students can expect full-service assistance with
- Personal hygiene
- Personal goals
Students also get to engage in one-on-one sensory activities and crafts that meet and celebrate their ability level. Teachers in this class work on finding the right verbal prompts and activities for each student’s ability level.
Rockin' Robbins is similar to Sunshine Club in terms of ability level, but the students in this class have higher living skills than those in Sunshine Club. The students in this class receive full-service care that includes assistance with feeding, changing and personal hygiene, and they enjoy individual needs-based sensory activities.
However, these students need less hand-over-hand attention in these activities. The main discerning point for this group involves working on communication skills.
About Our Mission and Values
It is the mission of the Achievement Center of Texas to provide quality day care and day habilitation (life skills training), arts exploration, educational assistance and community inclusion for children and young adults with special needs so they can learn functional living skills and develop self-confidence working toward greater independence and a more satisfying life.
The Achievement Center of Texas respects the rights of its students and their families to make their own decisions regarding the types of services they need and want and the Achievement Center staff will support them in those decisions wherever possible. The center uses a person-centered planning model to help students discover their dreams and set goals for the future.
About Our Partners
Bramblitt is an artist who lost his sight due to epilepsy and Lyme’s disease. He can distinguish between different colors of paint by feeling the texture of each pigment with his fingers. His unique style and amazing artistic abilities that supersede his vision impairment have made him the subject of documentary shorts, such as “Line of Sight” and “Bramblitt.”
Bachers is another artist who aids Achievement Center of Texas. A stroke Bachers had in 1987 impaired the use of his right hand and his ability to communicate through verbalizing or writing. These disabilities prohibited him from practicing medicine and playing piano, but they opened a door to other mediums of art he hadn’t previously considered: unique, kaleidoscopic color pencil drawings.
October 12th, Garland Association of Retarded Children opens its doors as a home-based day care center and after-school and summer program for children with special needs. The Reverend Michael Haynes, father of a child with disabilities, offered this group the use of the Sunday School building of the St. Paul United Methodist Church.
Marilynne Serie became the Executive Director on January 19th.
The program at the center moved from part-time to full-time services
The center was named “Best of Texas” by the Corporate Child Development Fund in Austin.
The Mayor of the City of Garland, Bob Smith, offered the Achievement Center space at Granger Recreation Center where the center held classes for nine years. Due to the very different disabilities of the students and the fact that not all the students were children, the Executive Director, Marilynne Serie, changed the name of the center to The Achievement Center of Texas.
The ACT student enrollment doubles.
Achievement Center of Texas moved into its current location at 2950 North Shiloh Road in Garland on February 3rd.
The Therapy Room was transformed into another classroom to accommodate our growing population, and the Sensory Motor Training Lab was designed and built in its place.
Milo, a two-foot tall robot that assists people with Autism, made the center his home.
The center altered its name another time, dropping the “The” in its title and becoming simply Achievement Center of Texas (ACT).
Executive Director Marilynne Serie passed the baton over to Andrew Mlcak, who now serves as Executive Director. ACT will celebrate its 40th anniversary on October 12th.