Who We Are

We’re on a mission to inspire the potential and celebrate the ability of every child.

Our program unites children with autism and other developmental disabilities with outstanding services, highly degreed and credentialed experts in their field, a responsive curriculum, and an inclusive culture. 

Our joyful atmosphere, dedicated teachers, and talented therapists, specialists, and psychologists create opportunities for children to be successful — just as they are. 


Bridgeway Academy is a nonprofit education and therapy center serving children with autism and developmental disabilities. 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. In one place, we provide:


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. Nearly fifty 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 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 16 years.

In the Fall of 2017, the Secondary School and Therapy Center opened at 2155 Fenton Street in the Morse Road Corridor. The building housed grades 4-12 and the Life Skills and Vocational Skills Center. The Medary Avenue building became known as the Primary School and Therapy Center and housed grades pre-K through 3.

In September 2019, Bridgeway Academy acquired a facility that, when completely transformed, would fully meet the needs of the organization and the community we serve. This 115,000-square-foot property is set on a 23-acre property, is ADA accessible, and has plenty of parking. Built in the 1970’s, it was originally constructed as an educational facility, housing DeVry University and Chamberlain University College of Nursing.

After completing a fundraising campaign in 2020, the building was renovated and furnished with a unique design that best serves children with autism and other developmental disabilities.

In the Winter of 2021, the Secondary School and Therapy Center moved into the new building, at 1350 Alum Creek Drive. The Primary School and Therapy Center joined them in Spring of 2021. This facility allows us to unite our programs and our families onto one campus and broaden our services to meet a deep community need. This includes expanding Education Center services through age 21, and our newly-accredited High School Academic Program (Grades 9-12).


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.