Leo Orlando joined The New England Center for Children as a level 2 teacher in August 2019 and has been on the Westboro 1 residential team for the last two and a half years. A colleague nominated Orlando because he “goes absolutely above and beyond the standard of care for both students and fellow teachers. He’s put in extra-long hours to cover shifts and dedicated his time during holidays and severe weather to his students’ care. Mr. Orlando shows kindness and patience during times of both joy and challenge. He’s an excellent teacher with a bright future.”
What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of working at NECC is watching and helping the students build and develop their communication skills. It is always a great feeling when you see a student learn a new skill that can make their life easier.
Why did you choose a career in helping children with autism?
When I was younger, I had limited communication skills and was put on an IEP at the age of 2. Throughout my childhood I received a bunch of support from teachers and aides. Over time, I was able to shed these supports and graduate from high school as well as college. Through these experiences, I have been motivated to teach children with disabilities. I feel that I can help make a difference in these children’s lives and assist them in growing their skillset.
I did not know about NECC until my college career fair at UMass Lowell. I visited the NECC booth and was impressed by the opportunities available there particularly the Simmons program. I am currently in my final year of this program and feel it has aided me in becoming a better teacher.
How has the Simmons program and the opportunity to further your education helped you develop in your career?
It has provided me with opportunities and knowledge of frameworks and lesson planning documents that we do not always use in daily life at NECC. The Simmons program also ensures you have everything you need to be a professional teacher. Professors and supervisors are also available to help with questions and inform students of trainings and professional events.
What is something about you that your colleagues might be surprised to learn?
My first name, middle name, and last name all rhyme: Leonardo Gerardo Orlando.
Who is someone you look up to?
I look up to my mother as she is always nice to people no matter how they treat her.
What is your life philosophy or a motto you like to live by?
Good things come to those who persevere.