Who We Are

Bridgeway Academy is a non-profit organization with a mission to inspire the potential and celebrate the ability of every child. Founded by speech-language pathologist Abby David and music therapist Erin Nealy in 2005 as Helping Hands Center for Special Needs, the organization’s goal is to help each child reach his or her highest potential.

Bridgeway Academy accomplishes its mission with a centered approach – providing outstanding school day, summer camp, and psychological services, plus speech, music, physical, and occupational therapies for children with autism and other developmental disabilities.

With a staff of nearly 180 certified teachers, therapists, psychologists and Board Certified Behavior Analysts to serve its student and client populations, Bridgeway Academy envisions a world of opportunity for every child and a community of support for every family.

View our 2017-18 Annual Report

Bridgeway Academy’s Board of Director’s recently approved a Strategic Plan for January 2017 – January 2020, detailing the main strategic goals for the organization for the next three years.  Click here to see a copy of the Strategic Plan.

View our most recent Form 990 federal tax documentation here.


Whether it’s during 1:1 instruction, community outings, group instruction, or playtime, Bridgeway Academy utilizes the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) which has been found to be the most effective treatment for autism.

Teacher-to-student ratios throughout the center range from 1:1 to 1:3 and provide an unprecedented opportunity for learning. All students benefit from a range of therapy services in the center. More than twenty highly-qualified and certified therapists provide services to all students enrolled in the Education Center as well as those who come to the Therapy Center strictly for therapeutic services. No other organization in central Ohio offers this number of therapies under one roof

All classrooms employ evidence-based teaching and therapy methods and offer many unique assets, including:

  • Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
  • Discrete Trial Instruction (DTI), teaching in simplified and structured steps
  • Speech, Music Occupational and Physical therapy services
  • A full complement of Psychological services, including student evaluation and assessment
  • Classroom supervision provided by Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA), Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts (BCaBA) and Masters Level Educators


Bridgeway Academy opened as Helping Hands Center for Special Needs in 2005 in Worthington. In 2008, the organization moved to its current location in the Old North neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio – 2500 Medary Avenue. Today, the organization’s classrooms employ evidence-based teaching and therapy methods and offer many unique assets. In January 2016, Helping Hands Center for Special Needs changed its name to Bridgeway Academy. The name and brand change is the result of the exponential growth of the organization over the past ten years. In Fall of 2017, the Secondary School and Therapy Center was opened at 2155 Fenton Street in the Morse Road Corridor. This building houses grades 4-11 and the Life Skills and Vocational Skills Center. The Medary Avenue building became known as the Primary School and Therapy Center and houses grades pre-K through 3. Bridgeway Academy will continue to make meaningful connections in the community, helping students and families to build bridges from school to home, home to community and from high school into young adulthood.


Inspire the potential and celebrate the ability of every child.


A world of opportunity for every child and a community of support for every family.


Student and Client Centered – Developing an individualized approach to meet educational and therapeutic goals, ensuring students and clients achieve their full potential.
Collaborative – Seeking creative ways to bring everyone’s unique talents together in order to provide outstanding educational and therapeutic opportunities.
Respectful – Interacting with and serving everyone in a manner that preserves their dignity and humanity while celebrating diversity, neuro-diversity and inclusion.
Evidence-Based – Utilizing research-based approaches and individualized data to provide best practice treatment for students and clients.
Compassionate – Empathizing with students, clients and families and providing information, time, a listening ear and safe place for them to express themselves.
Integrity –Meeting and exceeding our commitments by providing services based on sound moral principles, high ethical standards, transparency, good character and honesty.
Supportive – Providing a positive learning environment to foster growth for all.