Her previous schools viewed Mary, a young woman who would not speak, as a student who could not be educated – the staff at Aseltine disagreed. The work of one Aseltine staff member over six weeks resulted in Mary uttering one word. Soon after, Mary began talking and excelling in school. Mary graduated, went on to excel at UCSD and later got her law degree from the University of San Diego Law School. Her field of specialization is family and child advocacy. She has come back to speak at meetings of the Angels of Aseltine Auxiliary, telling her story about what she accomplished because of Aseltine.
Danielle was a very tactile learner – a learning style that her public school did not address. After years of having her needs ignored, Danielle became very defensive and oppositional – especially towards schooling. Aseltine staff worked with Danielle, tailoring lessons to meet her learning needs. Danielle began to feel safe and comfortable in school for the first time. She no longer feared ridicule and became an active, inquisitive student who excelled at sports. Danielle, now 20, is currently an Army paratrooper stationed in Alaska. In a recent email to the school's Executive Director, she stated, "I guess you can say I'm doing pretty good. I just wanted to let you know I haven't forgotten and I appreciate the help by you as well as others from Aseltine. It has helped me a lot. This school is probably the best school I attended."
Severe dyslexia prevented Ricardo from succeeding in school. By seventh grade, he still could not read. Before Aseltine, teachers told him he needed to try harder. Since his father blamed his problems on his behavior, Ricardo felt like no one understood him, leading to severe anger issues.
By the time Ricardo enrolled at Aseltine, he was an extremely angry young man whose dream of being like other teenage boys seemed out of reach. His anger prevented him from acknowledging his strengths – the ability to build or fix just about anything.
Yet Ricardo had a strong desire to graduate. He wanted a job and a family – and to be “normal.” Aseltine staff worked with Ricardo to help him deal with his anger when he least felt like doing so. These coping strategies allowed him to succeed in spite of his severe learning disability.
Reading will always be a problem for Ricardo, but not a barrier. Ricardo graduated from high school, became a licensed auto mechanic, married his high school sweetheart, and now has two beautiful children. He achieved his dream of being an independent, loving family man.
In June 2009, Zane, who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of Autism, graduated from Aseltine. Zane has said that before coming to Aseltine he “faced the possibility of never graduating while moving through several different schools during” what he refers to as his “tumultuous high school career.” In his previous schools, Zane’s frustrations led him to act out and he ended up vandalizing and destroying school property. At Aseltine, Zane found that the staff listened to his needs and worked with him to manage his frustrations in a more productive, healthy manner: “Our school actually works to help the students realize their own potential and take control of their own destiny.”
Aseltine’s Conflict Resolution Coordinator helped Zane compile and send off a portfolio of transportation systems he had developed in his spare time to improve their system. Caltrans was so impressed with his initiative and ingenuity they offered him a coveted internship with them over the summer. Because of his difficulty interacting with people, a symptom of Asperger’s, he initially struggled to adapt to his new environment. Aseltine’s Program Director and Conflict Resolution Coordinator worked closely with Zane to help him adjust so that he could successfully complete his internship. In fall of 2008 Zane began attending community college where he plans to major in Technical Illustration – creating detailed and to-scale images, generally found in user’s manuals for automobiles and consumer electronics as well as in the work of engineers and scientists.