The Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support aims to improve the lives of individuals and families managing an autism diagnosis, while also training compassionate and dedicated professionals empowered and capable of fulfilling the mission beyond The Kinney Center walls.  I have had the amazing opportunity to work as a Kinney SCHOLAR for the past two years.  The kinneyelvesSCHOLARS Program stands for Students Committed to Helping Others Learn about Autism Research and Support.

Generally speaking, I supervise and provide direct physical care for children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders in a one-on-one staffed environment. I began working at the Kinney Center during the summer before my junior year. To be certified to work with individuals on the spectrum, I participated in extensive training through The Kinney Center. I assist with social, behavioral and educational assessments for various learners. This includes planning to teach social and life skills, behavioral management techniques, and various interventions. I also support, kinneycampplan and implement appropriate lessons for specific learners as well as monitor participants’ progress by recording and studying data of behaviors and skill progress.

The Kinney Center has opened my eyes to experiences that I never thought I would have. Working with the staff, children, adults, and other SCHOLARS is truly rewarding. Every night I go into work, even when my day is not going well, someone or something always lifts my spirits. Teaching individuals who are on the spectrum has shown me a great deal of patience and how to enjoy every moment.

As a SCHOLAR, we have the freedom to sign up for programs that interest us. I have participated in Camp Kinney Summer Programs, Youth Social Skills Program, and Kinney Sports Swimming Program, Kids Night Out Programs, and Adult Hybrid Skills Program. These programs have each benefitted me for my future and prepared me in the field of special education. Summer Camp was the most exciting program that I have ever worked because it’s all about having fun with the learners. During the year, I have learned the most during Youth Social Skills about teaching, planning, and probing skills for individuals with autism. The Kinney Center has completely changed my life and I fully intend on working with children with autism in my future.





Sophia Theodoris is a senior studying Middle School Education 4th-8th grade with concentrations in Mathematics and Science. I have a passion for The Kinney Center, and after working there for two years I have decided to continue my education and study Special Education in graduate school. In addition to my education, I am an active member of the Kappa Delta Pi Educational Honors Society where I collaborate with future teachers and volunteer in various schools.  I also enjoy giving tours as a Hawk Host tour guide at Saint Joseph’s University working under the Office of Admissions. In my free time, I am captain of the SJU Club Tennis team and enjoy traveling for tournaments.