Founder's Story

A Parent-Child Love Story

When Amy O’Dell’s son, Jacob, was diagnosed as an infant with extensive development delay and doctors offered little guidance to help him thrive, she built upon her therapy and counseling background to extensively study neurodevelopment and related interventions. Finding her passion through dedicated purpose, Amy has spent the past three decades becoming a leading innovator and global authority on special needs education and neurobiology. Her development of the Interpersonal Whole-Brain Model of Care and its delivery has effectively transformed the standard of care in neuroscience today, positively changing the lives of more than 4,000 children with neurological disorders.

Founder's family

The Jacob’s Ladder methodology combines science and love to help individuals reach their true potential. 

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Over the past ten years, the Roswell campus has expanded its main building and has added outdoor classrooms and animal enclosures.

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For nearly three decades, Jacob's Ladder has helped more than 4,000 children achieve goals once thought impossible.

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“After all of our sacrifices, I knew at that moment, we had made the right decision.”

- Jacob's Ladder parent

A Message from Amy

Dear Friends,
I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to share Jacob’s Ladder with you. If you are a parent in the midst of a new diagnosis with your child or are experiencing the ongoing difficulty that comes with watching a loved one struggle, we would consider it a great joy to help you and your family shift toward hope and see potential realized.

That is our mission here.

Over three decades, significant growth has enabled us to serve thousands of students through individualized programs and life-changing methodology. Through all this time, we have remained faithful to our core values of Hope, Truth, and Love. And we have deepened our belief that within these core values, true healing and transformation are possible.

In fact, they are expected.

Taking the best in neuroscience and neurobiological advancements and applying them within a culture richly steeped in love – each important and necessary for growth – we help our students achieve far beyond traditional expectations. The Jacob’s Ladder™ Interpersonal Whole-Brain Model of Care (IWBMC) provides targeted individualized intervention delivered daily within an authentic relational model of interaction. This allows for experiences of safety and connection.

Our model is no magic bullet. It takes time, collaboration, and dedication. These are defining elements and must be present as our staff daily utilize each and every moment as a therapeutic opportunity.

This journey has been a miraculous one. It has been a humbling and gratifying experience to meet the thousands of children and families that have been served thus far at Jacob’s Ladder. I have witnessed much transformation. Jacob, my son and the namesake of our school, is now a phenomenal young man—a teacher, a trainer of a yellow lab named Grace, and the mission holder of Jacob’s Ladder. He has a true gift of understanding and connecting with his students, paired with a grace-filled strength that helps to lead them forward. He also has great insight for situational assessment and strategy development, which is a miracle to witness given his beginning in life.

Through the years, my daughter Aubry has completed extensive training and has become well-versed in every aspect of Jacob’s Ladder, both clinically and operationally, and is an integral part of the school. Maybe most importantly, she has grown up as the daughter to a mom who focused an extraordinary amount of time and energy on her younger sibling. And she grew up as a sibling to her little brother Jacob, who struggled mightily at times. Many of you reading this also have a family system with a similar dynamic and can identify with the profound joy and sorrow that accompanies it.

In closing, I must share this; the greatest gift about this journey with Jacob, Aubry, and the creation of Jacob’s Ladder has been the deepening of my faith. Learning how to depend on God in each and every step.

As Christ said to the Apostle Paul,
“My grace is sufficient for you, my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
- 2 Corinthians 12:9

It was in the weakness, the brokenness, and the struggle, that we found life.


Amy O’Dell, Founder

Watch Amy's story from 2015 before our 5-acre campus grew to 15 acres and more than a few chickens.

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Jacob's Ladder School & Therapy Centers
Roswell (Main Campus) & Atlanta (Buckhead)
407 Hardscrabble Road
Roswell, Georgia 30075

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