Butterfly by Kevin Hosseini
Butterfly by Kevin Hosseini

“Hidden Wings is a place where young people with autism can spread their own wings, learning life skills and how to participate with others in a warm and supportive environment. The Billingtons are building a future for every child in their program, which is a model well worth emulating. The world needs many more such havens.”

– Oliver Sacks, M.D., Physician, Author, Neurologist

Testimonials from Hidden Wings Parents & Supporters

“From the moment I spoke with Jim about Hidden Wings, I had a sense of hope for my son. After years of searching for what could be wrong, I was relieved to discover a place that provides the opportunity to concentrate on what is right. Hidden Wings, I believe, is the place where my son’s gifts and talents can be rediscovered.

As my mother commented, ‘Jim is one in a million.’ I certainly agree with her and I look forward to going to Solvang each week where my son has the opportunity to gain a sense of hope for the path forward for his life. Thank you, Jim.”

– Susan S., A Hidden Wings Parent

“As a parent of a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder I am constantly looking for opportunities to help my child develop his potential. When I stumbled upon the Hidden Wings website, it was like finding an oasis. I could feel the love for and acceptance of these kids in the writing, videos and photographs and would invariably be brought to tears. When I actually got my son involved, I was not disappointed. Each time he has gone to a class he has been happy and engaged.

The most striking thing I have seen in my child since being there is that he laughs a lot more! This is a child that at times seemed to have only two emotions – anger and fear – but after he spends time at Hidden Wings he is different. We laugh on the car rides home! If we never get anything else out of the classes, I’ll keep bringing him just to hear him laugh.”

– “Loving the Laughter,” A Hidden Wings Parent

“There are so many young adults with autism who get lost in their own world. Hidden Wings has been the outlet for them to take control of their world and express it in ways they may never have imagined. When you see the art these young people have produced, you are spellbound by their thought process, and the precision of how they illustrate it. It is extraordinary. Jim and Julia Billington have given parents a gift for their children with autism to learn new skills after high school.”

– Nancy Ulene, Disney Color Artist

“As the mother of a sensitive, artistic, musical, beautiful, 12-year-old autistic girl, I was thrilled to find the magical environment of Hidden Wings. Jim and Julia encourage creativity, growth, and a wonderful holistic sense of unity throughout this remarkable center they’ve created.”

– Avra Douglas, A Hidden Wings Parent

“For the first time in a very long time, I feel my son belongs. No explanations, no embarrassment, no hiding. He is welcomed and accepted just as he is, wonderfully and perfectly made. We can relax and enjoy the blessings God has given us, one being Hidden Wings. We are eternally grateful for the time and work the Billingtons have poured into our children and their well being. I look forward to a long and enriching future with them.”

– A Hidden Wings Parent

“Finally, a perspective that makes sense to me dealing with this difficult challenge [autism] and help for my son as he grows beyond elementary school. The transition to adolescence has been hard for the whole family. Thank you for you positive approach. Thank you for not abandoning our children as they grow toward adulthood.”

– A Hidden Wings Parent

“We believe this is surely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our daughter! Hidden Wings has given her this opportunity tomove beyond her disability and share her talent with the world. We are incredibly grateful.”

 A Hidden Wings Parent

“As the parent of a teenager in Hidden Wings, I can say that Jim and Julia have done an amazing job. They entered the community five years ago …. [They] let the community come to them with what the community wanted ….They have done a good job in matching children that will get along well. And they chose teachers who love and inspire them.”

– A Hidden Wings Parent

“I enthusiastically support your efforts. I have an autistic son who is 23. He lives at home. He has no friends, no work, and his self esteem gets lower all the time. A place for continuing education and preparation for the outside world offers a ray of hope for our family and for my son.”

– A Hidden Wings Parent

There is nobody more passionate and dedicated to the use of music as therapy for autistic children and adults [than Jim Billington]. I have seen his work in action and have supplied him over the years with drums to carry out his mission.

…. By using drums as a therapy to finding the inner music of autism, Hidden Wings has become a leader in the field. I fully support their efforts and recommend others to investigate and contribute to their school.

Hidden Wings is the cutting edge in focusing upon the gifts of autism, not the deficits. They spend their time and resources bringing out their students’ inner gifts and talents.”

– Mickey Hart, Grateful Dead drummer and pioneer in the use of drums as a healing activity

“Jim and Julia, you are doing important work which will be watched and emulated by others. We are impressed with the impact that you are having on your community and we realize the impact per child is enormous. Congratulations on great work.”
– William Draper, Venture Capitalist; Founder: Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation; Author:  The Startup Game: Inside the Partnership between Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurship

“There is an urgent need for the work that Jim and Julia Billington have begun. I have known them since they were undergraduates at Harvard. They are uniquely qualified, gifted, and morally centered to take on this task. I wholeheartedly recommend Jim and Julia, and the project ‘Hidden Wings.’ I can think of few things more important for the next generation.”

– Dr. Robert Coles, Renowned Harvard University professor and child psychiatrist

“Hidden Wings” is an apt title for a desperately needed, timely project. School and program availability for K-12 students with autism ends abruptly with high school graduation and adulthood. Into this regrettable vacuum comes a program that provides continued opportunity for experiencing greater self-worth, increased socialization and more independence.To my knowledge there is no [school] in this country or elsewhere that is designed uniquely for those on the autistic spectrum. It will be an inspiration for many. I heartily endorse the work of Hidden Wings.”

– Darold Treffert, M.D., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison, Wisconsin; Author,Islands of Genius: The Bountiful Mind of the Autistic, Acquired and Sudden Savant; Internationally recognized authority on autism

“Autistic young adults are ‘aging out’ of a system into a world that is unprepared to support their most basic needs. The world needs to find solutions for educating and nurturing these individuals. And quickly. I believe that [Hidden Wings] is doing just that … [It has] made tremendous progress …. and this is only the beginning.”

– Anne Torsiglieri, Broadway and Film Actress, Professor

“(Through Hidden Wings) you are doing a great service to your country.”

– Amory Houghton, Jr., Former Chairman and CEO of Corning Glass Works

“I am so incredibly grateful to hear that there are forward-thinking individuals in our [Santa Ynez] Valley that understand that as our children get older, the services they receive will fade and we will need a place for them to think, explore, learn, [and] grow. Hidden Wings sounds like just the place we will be searching for [for] our son. Thank you for featuring a facility that is so close to our hearts and focuses on the heart of our town:  its people. I am relieved to see that we still place value on the human spirit … I am hopeful once again!”

– Amy Koers Curti, mother, teacher, community member

“[Hidden Wings] has been a life saver for [our son J.J.] and [for] us, in so many ways. He’s made friends and enthusiastically looks forward to being a part of every activity offered. How critical the need is for more programs in communities everywhere, as our young children with autism are quickly becoming adults with autism.”

– Molly Ballantine, mother, community member