Meet Dalen Obiedo. He is one of four siblings being raised by their single mom, Mari. School has not always been easy for Dalen, who is Autistic. He attended public school and had trouble with kids bullying him, which led to him not wanting to attend school because he was afraid of being hurt. Dalen was very withdrawn. When Covid began and school moved online, Dalen really struggled with keeping up with his studies and what he was supposed to be learning virtually. Mari realized that Dalen needed a different school environment and started looking at private schools. Initially, Mari didn’t have much luck until she called PS Academy. The PS Academy staff wasn’t telling Mari all the reasons it couldn’t work for Dalen, but they showed her the possibilities that lay ahead for Dalen!
Dalen now attends PS Academy and is thriving. One of Dalen’s favorite parts about his new school are the “community field trips”. They take the students out into the community to various stores and do scavenger hunts to build up their life skills, like learning how to go to a store, find necessary items and pay for your purchases. His mom told Lisa from PS Academy a story about how he came home from Home Depot with a paint sample card. She took it and he was very adamant about how she needed to give it back because it was special to him.
Dalen told us the following things in his own words when talking about his life and new school environment: “My family shows me love. My favorite thing is to learn different languages. Languages I like are German, French, Italian, Japanese. I haven’t timed myself in how many words per minute but I’m a fast typist. My new school is better. The school is not loud. I feel safe.”
“Thanks to the Arizona Leadership Foundation, my son was given the opportunity to attend a great school to help with his education. He receives the support he needs from the teachers and staff at PS Academy. For the first time he is not fighting me on going to school he wants to be there and that means the world to me,” according to Mari.
More about Dalen from his teacher, Jess Baldewicz “The thing that I enjoy the most about teaching Dalen, is watching his self-confidence and self-advocacy grow daily! He has become such a great role model to his peers. It is truly a blessing to see his self-esteem skyrocket when we work on something that he is passionate about Technology or Math. I am new to PS this year, but in the short time that I have been a part of the PS family, there has been significant growth in Dalen, socially, academically, as well as emotionally. As a teacher I feel that PS can offer any student help in creating their own independence, assistance to foster friendships, encouragement to discover their own talent, guidance to discover their confidence, create a vision for a bright future, and an opportunity to be who they are; all with the help of an amazing staff. At PS they are shown the skills and knowledge they need to be successful after school is completed.”
About PS Academy Arizona:
PS Academy Arizona is a private K-12 school for students with autism or other exceptionalities. Your student deserves to be seen for their abilities, rather than defined by their diagnosis. Here at PS Academy Arizona, students love coming to school. Why? Because here, they aren’t defined by their diagnosis. They shine when they identify their abilities, are accepted for their differences, make friends, and discover new skills. They are given the tools and the responsibility they need to be challenged and inspired to excel in school and beyond.