The Story of the Orchard
Hi! I am Amy (Aimee) Roberts, and yes, I spell my name two ways.
Please ask me to tell you that story!
I spent most of my adult life as an employee - secretary, bank teller, teacher, awesome mom to two boys. And I have had great bosses and horrible bosses - like everyone.
In 2017, I had a caseload of 26 clients and 14ish RBTs working under me. A good caseload for BCBAs is more like 10-15. I couldn't do my job well for anyone - the children, their families, my co-workers, or even myself. I was burning out already! So I needed to make a change!
The Orchard seeds were planted...
We are the Orchard, because an orchard takes a community of other trees, the gardener and nature to produce fruit, but once you have everything working together,.. oh, the fruit you will see!!!!
That's how I see ABA working. If the BCBAs and RBTs, the parents, the teachers, the other caregivers - are all working to help the child progress and grow, we WILL see fruit. But it takes us all working together.
So after a year of thinking, dreaming and planning, in April, 2018, I opened the website, met with pediatricians, got insurances lined up, and was ready for my first client. I met my very own first client in June and we were started!
In October, 2019, our community was devasted by Hurricane Michael. But our little team pulled together, and within two weeks! we had started seeing our clients again, even while our own homes were still a mess. I will forever remain amazed at the dedication of Orchard team members to their clients. It is an invaluable gift to me and our families.
Slowly, we grew. We sent off grafts to other rural communities and helped other women open practices in places that were even more underserved than most. But I never grew faster than we could provide excellent services. I decided that we would focus our treatment, make good progress with our clients, and train our parents well, so that they could feel confident in supporting their child the way they needed to be supported.
In 2021, we partnered with St. Paul Anglican Church and opened a very special school. The Orchard Learning Center started with 5 students. We focus our school on teaching reading fundamentals including comprehension, fundamental math, and communication. We believe our calling is to help preschool and primary school children to have a solid foundation of reading and math, but also learn to do "school things" like walk in lines, and sit at a table and independently work. Then we can send them to a public or private school with more expectations and bigger classes, knowing they will be more successful. We want our students to love learning as much as our ABA clients do! Because learning is everything to having a fuller life.
Today, we are serving children from Panama City to Tallahassee. We are providing parenting seminars for parents that are far too long waitlists. We provide classroom management classes for new teachers, and we help churches learn how to be supportive for special needs families. Our team members and our families are committed to helping every child we are given. We are producing beautiful, interesting, challenging young trees, that can produce their own fruit.
In closing, I want to thank every family, teacher, and employee who has trusted me with their dreams. I know it takes us all, and I love watching us all grow.
Thank you, truly.