A Unique Beginning, a Humble Start
Chartwell’s history is what truly sets us apart from other providers across the country. We are a non-profit started by families who saw a need to serve children with autism. Their vision became a service in 1999, and continues today.
Prior to 1999, these families researched the very best interventions for children with autism, and then partnered with a local school to house Chartwell. Direct services remained the main focus, while including training opportunities for professionals across New Orleans. Under the direction of Janet Mora, we grew out of a classroom and moved into a small house.
Community Supported Growth
In 2014, we opened our newly renovated 5,000 square foot building in the Lower Garden District. It houses our classrooms, training facilities, outside play area, and urban garden.
In 2015, we began offering adult services through our PATH program. Our Board of Directors and staff understood that autism is a developmental disorder that persists through the lifespan, and those who are on the severe end of the spectrum will need services into adulthood. Our PATH program helps adults function as adults in the community with employment opportunities, inclusion outings, and opportunities to enhance their independence. Trips to the grocery store are reduced by the harvest from their urban garden!
In 2016, Chartwell offered Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services for the first time. We’ve since incorporated these services into everything that we do. ABA is, at its core, a compass for how to help our children and adults navigate the world.
Building Upon Our Cornerstone
With all of these improvements, the Board of Directors continues to be constituted by the parents and community leaders who guided Chartwell from those humble beginnings. Their commitment to Chartwell and the autism community at large means that we can provide best practices in a safe environment with a staff that is highly trained and attentive to those we serve.
What’s in a Name?
Chartwell’s founding Board searched for a name that would call to mind a child’s vast ability outside of formal schooling. The Board knew that this organization would be a place where their children would be given the individual attention they needed to live and thrive.
The name, Chartwell, came from the family home of Winston Churchill. Churchill famously rejected formal schooling, and was seen as impossible to educate. He was seen as stubborn, headstrong, and reluctant to engage in material he did not see as interesting. In some ways, Churchill was saved when he took seriously ill, and was then raised by a doctor for three years. It was there that a non-standardized, self directed approach to learning created the developmental foundation for one of the most important figures in modern history.
The name, Chartwell Consortium, encompasses all of what we do, while the Chartwell Center is how we are known in the community for the services we provide. Chartwell strives to recognize the individual, their strengths and weaknesses, and how we can support them during their formative years and beyond. Churchill’s story has inspired us and we hope that it will inspire you.