Tribute for Amy Lettick

Tribute for Amy Lettick

On Wednesday, November 22, 2017, Amy Ladin Lettick, Benhaven’s founder, died peacefully in her own bed in Tempe, AZ. She was 96 years old and lived a full, accomplished life.  She is survived by her 4 children: David, Sharon, Ann and Ben.  

Amy Lettick was a pioneer in the field of autism. Her mission to provide education to children with autism who were excluded from public schools and might otherwise  languish at home or in institutions, began with learning how to best educate her son, Ben.  Not content with just giving Ben opportunities to learn and grow into a productive member of society, she put her “can do” attitude (more like “must do”) into high gear to find the backing and supports needed to start her own school where she could share her skills and knowledge with a new generation of teachers and students.  She accomplished this in 1967 when the first Benhaven School opened in New Haven, serving a handful of children and adolescents.  Within 3 years, that number grew, necessitating the first of several moves.  As if the challenges of running a school and keeping it financially viable were not enough, Amy set her mind on purchasing a home and property where she could establish a residential program.  The first home opened in December, 1972 for Ben and 2 other residents, and has grown to 7 homes serving 34 residents.  Amy retired as Director of the school in 1987, but remained actively involved in her son’s vocational and residential life.

Amy was first and foremost a teacher, and those of us who had the privilege of her tutelage and encouragement are forever grateful.  She was a force of nature who changed the lives of everyone in her path and beyond.  Her legacy lives on in her belief in and commitment to lifelong learning, and in the high standards and goals she set that Benhaven continues to strive to achieve.

 


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