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Center For Autism 


Shelly Even brings two of her five horses and occasionally Sparky the Shetland pony to SECA twice a week, whether permitting, to provide our clients with the benefits of therapeutic horse- back riding.

To reach a greater number of people, who need the benefits of equine therapy, she formed the nonprofit, Bits of Freedom, in August of 2019.



The mission of Bits of Freedom is to build independence through horses. Therapeutic riding aims to encourage individuals of all ages with physical, intellectual, and developmental disabilities to reach their full potential by providing a safe, supportive and quality therapeutic riding services.



Therapeutic horse-back riding offers a wide-range of positive benefits that includes but not limited to: balance, coordination, socialization, muscle strength, sensory integration, self- communication, confidence and more.

Bits of Freedom’s program is designed for individuals with a wide-range of disabilities including autism, visual and hearing impairment, cerebral palsy, traumatic spinal cord and brain injuries, Downs syndrome, PTSD and addiction support.

For more information or to enroll in the program or volunteer go to:



by Melody Speights


Our son was only seven when he started going to SECA; he’s now 21. Yes, a grown man but to both Paul and I he will forever be our little boy who we love so much.

He has grown so much over the years. His quietness fools many into thinking he is not aware of much, actually, he’s just observing the world. He taught himself to use the computer without navigation. 

When he was younger, he surprised everyone by immediately riding a bicycle as soon as the training wheels were removed. NASCAR is a favorite. Many times, he just scrolls through the menus on his video games but he has memorized the numbers, colors and sponsors of several cars. The outdoor activities he enjoys, when it’s not too hot, is walking through the park and zoo; lounging in the pool and running through the sprinkler. We are hoping this year will bring us some normalcy so we can enjoy the typical summer activities.

There are quite a few times that our son has surprised us with his ability to adapt to change. One being our long drive from Colorado to New York. He just sat quietly and enjoyed the ride and when he got bored, he looked at his tablet. For those who know this guy, sitting still is not favored. We are certain this was learned from many years working with SECA and school.

We are so grateful for all who are part of helping our guy become who he is in this ever- changing world. Somehow through all the struggles and phases, he is doing a pretty good job; more importantly, he seems to be happy.

Data & Statistics on Autism Spectrum Disorder

For over 10 years, the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network has been in the lead of documenting the changing number of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).



Mona Medina

Exciting news for Soaring Eagles Center for Autism. We are continuing to forge ahead with our magnificent behavioral team.



My nephew has been a student at Soaring Eagles Center for Autism (SECA) for about ten years. I have had the pleasure of watching him learn, grow and improve tremendously working with the staff and programs SECA has to offer; it has truly made a huge difference in our life!

Mona Medina was the first person at SECA to introduce to me the idea of working for SECA, I was so excited to have the opportunity to learn and improve my knowledge to be able to be a better provider for my nephew. I have been employed at SECA for two years and I am excited to see what the future will bring.

Some things I do as an off-site provider include assisting with my client’s personal hygiene and self-care; accompanying him while on outings or just allowing him some time to hang out and enjoy a movie. We also love to shop, go to the zoo, walk around the Riverwalk and explore new places.

A few hobbies I have outside of work is doing hair and make-up. I have been doing hair for over ten years and it is one of the many ways I like to express my creativity.

I would like to thank SECA for the amazing opportunity of allowing me to be a part of their program.

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When you shop at AmazonSmile ( Amazon will donate to Soaring Eagles Center for Autism. AmazonSmile is the same where you buy books and other products; except they will donate 0.5% of your purchase price to the charity of your choosing.

As we continue to build services for our clients, “Amazon Smile” is another way to help us reach our goals. We continue to work to build our Adult Community Center and to expand service for our children on the autism spectrum. Please help us by choosing “Soaring Eagles Center for Autism” when you shop at AmazonSmile.

Thank you,

Our Leadership Team

Karen W. Colvin M.S.,M.D.-Exec. Dir. Lead Therapist
Mona Ortega-Medina, B.A., M.S., Asst. Director

Betty Nufer – Development Director

Lynzee Griggs B.C.B.A., M.S., Cert. Beh. Aut-Senior Therapist

Velvet Entz, B.A., M.Ed., Behavioral Consultant Assistant

Janet Baer, B.S., Administrative Asst., Editor

Monique Maes - Receptionist

Karen W. Colvin, M.D.
Betty Nufer

Shelly Harwood-Even
Mona Ortega-Medina, B.A., M.S. 

Martha Drake, M.S., CCC-SLP

Andrea Aragon        

Judy Leonard, A.A.S.
Reggie Garcia – Vice President

Elizabeth Riffle - President

J.R. Chavez

Linda Thompson

Mitch Brown


John Hardy, M.D.

Michael Jordan