When Collin Leonard (LGS class of 2011) was asked by his Public Speaking professor for a speech on “Three Things that make you awesome” Collin gave her four:

“I am a 4 year varsity swimmer, an Eagle Scout, I graduated from high school with a 4.0 GPA, and I HAVE AUTISM!”

What Collin didn’t know was that the instructor’s 3-year-old son was diagnosed with autism a few days earlier. “I was devastated,” she told Collin’s parents at a Marshall University Parents Weekend brunch. But as soon as she heard Collin speak, she knew everything was going to be okay in her world. She added that she wants to raise her son to be confident and proud of who he is, just like Collin.

Collin’s parents admit, “Collin has not always been the confident and outgoing young man he is today. When he was in the sixth grade, he struggled socially and academically. He had no friends. This sad, lonely boy was told he could not be successful in a regular classroom setting.” Then his parents enrolled him at Linden Grove School. In no time Collin gained confidence in who he is. He made lots of friends whom he still keeps in contact with to this day. He learned to speak up, ask questions, and advocate for himself, as well as various strategies to control his mood swings.

Collin went on to graduate with honors from Purcell Marian High School in 2015. He was accepted to the Marshall University Autism Training Center where he is currently a junior majoring in Secondary Special Education and History. Collin’s life goal is to help others be more understanding and accepting to those with Autism and help each of his student rise to their fullest potential just as the staff at Linden Grove School did for him.

For another story of a Linden Grove School alum, click here.  


You can give a student skills to develop confidence. Read more here.


Click the images below to learn more about Linden Grove School’s programs and supports. 

  • Inside LGS

  • Community Events