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Hi Hello,

What a difference a year makes. In January 2016, the halls of the Center were still cold and empty, and we were busily taking inventory of the collection of savant art.  Now all of those pieces hang in the Center, along with the colorful masterpieces of our own Treffert Academy attendees, and the halls are full of warmth and the voices of children, therapists, and teachers.  We have come so far in less than a year, and can't wait to see what 2017 will bring.


The evaluation, treatment and academy programs continue to thrive and expand. And so do the research programs. There are two hyperlexia projects: one explores in much greater detail the symptom characteristics of the nearly 300 cases of hyperlexia known to the center using an specially designed Internet survey instrument for parents of these children. A second project also uses a tailored questionnaire for parents and teachers of children with hyperlexia in the community classroom situation.

This information on hyperlexia is being consolidated into a manual that will be a valuable resource for parents and teachers of children who read early or speak late. Both groups are often given a premature and incorrect autism diagnosis.

The savant syndrome and acquired savant registries continue to add new cases from around the world. There also is a project underway summarizing imaging findings thus far in both of these extraordinary conditions.

This time of year is also the time for New Year's resolutions. Earlier this year, a mother from across the world wrote that the center, for her and for her son with special needs, was a place of “happiness and hope.” Our resolution for the center for 2017, as a team of dedicated staff, using our best knowledge and efforts, is to simply continue to provide “happiness and hope” to an ever expanding group of children and adults with exceptional minds, and their families, wherever they live.

This we will do.






Darold Treffert, MD

 Meet Leah Goral, Reception/Float Teacher at Treffert Academy

Leah G. Reception2.jpg

Hi! My name is Leah Goral and I am the reception/float teacher at the Treffert Academy. I graduated from Marian University in December 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in education. After my last field placement in an eighth grade classroom, I knew I wanted to work with younger children and be a part of the most important years of growth. In my free time, I love playing board games, spending time with my family and friends, being outdoors, and playing ice hockey.

I am your first contact at the Treffert Academy, whether it is by phone or in person, which I am very proud to be for all of our families, clients and guests. My role at the Treffert Academy is very diverse as I assist in the classrooms, help the academy and center supervisors, conduct the billing and payments for the Treffert Academy, and assist in the Treffert Clinic reception.

One of my future goals is to learn more about each part of the Treffert Center in detail, so that I am able to assist whenever and wherever I am needed. I will not only be staying up-to-date on my continuing education so that I can be an assistant teacher in the classroom, but I will also be taking classes to learn more about my current job duties so that they can be enhanced.

I have been with the Treffert Academy since the opening in early Spring 2016. It has been a pleasure watching it develop as much as it has in less than a year. I am so excited to continue to be a part of what seems to be endless growth at the Treffert Center.

The Acquired Savant: A Really Great Big Story

The Acquired Savant: A Really Great Big Story, a CNN Films collaboration, made its debut on on December 14, 2016. This fascinating film produced and directed by Thomas Petersen features the story of acquired savant Jason Padgett, who visited the Treffert Center in October 2016.


Thomas Petersen visited the Treffert Center and conducted interviews with Dr. Treffert in May 2016.

Treffert Academy News

Helping Your Preschooler Understand Their Emotions

AGN-4177.jpgYoung children experience a variety of emotions throughout the day. Many times they themselves do not know why they are feeling the way they do, especially when they are what some people would call negative emotions, such as mad, frustrated, sad, scared, etc…

As parents and caregivers, it is our responsibility to help them understand their emotions and to give them tools to work through those emotions.

1. Name the emotion: Recognize that child is feeling an emotion for example say, “Henry, I see that you are feeling mad that your train track broke,” or “ You are happy because you are playing at the park.”

2. Normalize the emotions: no emotion is good or bad. Let your child know that sometimes you get scared or frustrated; this will help your child understand that it is OK to feel the way they are feeling. For example “It’s OK to feel sad because Daddy went on a business trip. Mommy is sad too and will miss him.”

3. Develop strategies: Provide your child with the tools to properly handle their emotions, especially anger, and/or frustration. We teach the children many strategies at the Treffert Academy, including deep breathing techniques. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood on PBS has a great song about feeling mad: “When you feel so mad that you want to ROAR, take a deep breath and count to four, 1, 2, 3, 4”. We will be happy to supply you with any resources you may need.

4. Read: As you read to your child, talk about how the character in the book is feeling. Ask your child how they think the character is feeling. Ask how they would feel if the same thing happened to them.

5. Practice mindfulness: At the end of the day share moments during the day that made you happy. As a family take time to just listen to your surroundings and focus on calming yourselves.

If you would like more information on this or any topic please feel free to ask and I will be happy to help. Thank you!

Jodi Oye
Supervisor, Treffert Academy

Treffert Academy accepting enrollments!


What our parents are saying:

“Out of the three early childhood programs my child has gone to, the Treffert Academy is her favorite. It is the only school she asks to go to or talks about at home.“ - Elissa B., parent

Currently accepting applications online at

Support the Center

Children learn in different ways, and at the Treffert Center, we are always looking to improve quality of care, programs and our learning environment.

Financial support affords us tools, equipment, funding for outings and support for our students in need. Your generous support helps us achieve our goal of strong social and emotional growth, self-regulation skills, and the development of empathy for all our children.

Donate Now


Coming in February

Look for news about our new Lego groups for pre-teens and teens!

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