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Anova Founders Mary Beth Ludwig at Giants Autism Awareness Night

American Red Cross Real Heroes Award

Our History  

Anova was founded over sixteen years ago, by Andrew Bailey and Mary Beth Ludwig with very few resources beyond their mutual love of children and a desire to help families in need.

Andrew Bailey is a highly skilled clinician and innovative educator with 30 years of experience working with special needs children. Mary Beth Ludwig is a Certified Public Accountant with an extensive business background and a developmentally disabled child. Ms. Ludwig’s inspiration for founding Anova rose out of recognizing the severe lack of resources available for her special needs son. Mr. Bailey was developing groundbreaking therapy techniques for children with autism and was seeking to create a platform to implement these life-changing techniques.  By founding Anova, they combined their inspiration and talents to create a new paradigm in the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders and those who learn differently. Their on-going accomplishments were recognized when Mr. Bailey and Ms. Ludwig received the 2015 American Red Cross Real Heroes Award in Education.  Ms. Ludwig was also named a Hometown Hero in 2014, and recently won a Diana Nyad "Find a Way" Award in 2015.

Anova was launched from a Sonoma County garage in 2000 as a grassroots, non-profit and comprehensive community resource.  We have grown from a staff of two clinicians and an accountant, to a thriving team of over 300 dedicated employees providing educational and behavior support services to our local school districts and families.  The prevalence of autism in U.S. children increased by 119.4% from 2000 (1 in 150) to 2010 (1 in 68).  This profound rise in autism created a critical need for our specialized services, and in 2003, Mr. Bailey and Ms. Ludwig expanded Anova’s services and opened the first Anova School with only 4 children. Today, Anova serves almost 300 students and over 500 families with three K-12 campuses in Santa Rosa, San Rafael, and Concord.

Mr. Bailey developed the one-of-a-kind "Multidisciplinary Treatment of Neurodevelopmental Impairments" model that has been pioneered at the Anova Center for Education as the "Anova Method of Education."  The ACE School was conceived as a unique environment that would provide high quality academic instruction to emotionally challenged children, using best practices from Positive Behavior Intervention, Sensory Integration, Cognitive Therapy, Speech/Language Therapy, and Theory of Mind.  Mr. Bailey was also appointed by former Senator Noreen Evans as Chair of the North Coast Regional Task Force on Autism and Related Disorders, and works closely with local and state officials to address the increasing impact of autism on our nation.  

Anova is a comprehensive treatment program. Our non-profit agency includes educational, behavioral, and therapy services for children and adults with autism, and neurodevelopmental impairments all over Northern California. In addition to our three non-profit K-12 schools located in San Rafael, Santa Rosa, and Concord, we provide after-school programs, camps, services in public schools and in-home environments, a treatment clinic, and are an important community resource. 

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