Eric, who has autism, began attending Inspire Innovation Lab five years ago after experiencing instances of eloping and self-harm, sometimes making a traditional school setting challenging. He started the Inspire Innovation Lab summer program and was welcomed with open arms by Carrie Leopold (Executive Director) and the team. With the support of staff and their unique approach, Eric grew comfortable at the Inspire Innovation Lab and began thriving through creative thinking and impeccable communication.
In 2019, Eric began middle school and attended the after-school program at Inspire while taking the public-school bus to the Lab, an initial concern for his family. Eric not only rode the bus with success but conquered a major detour due to a first-day mishap…a big step for Eric’s communication skills.
In March of 2020, during COVID-19 distance learning, lack of routine and increasing unknowns were initially devastating for Eric. “Being a family with a child with Autism, we need to have a plan,” says Latha, Eric’s mother.
When the new school year approached with such uncertainty, Latha reached out again to Carrie and the Inspire Innovation Lab crew regarding the option for Eric’s distance learning through the Lab. That fall, the Inspire Innovation Academy, Fargo-Moorhead’s first Micro School, opened its doors and since has been successfully helping local children thrive.
“I am not exaggerating when I say that this was life-changing for our family. To know that Eric was safe and comfortable all day, every day was an incredible weight off of our shoulders as parents. He has not only grown academically but has made leaps and bounds in his social and emotional development and has reached levels of independence that we could never have imagined. We have hope for the future, and we owe that, in large part, to Inspire Innovation Lab.” Latha, Eric’s mother