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‘I felt proud’


Ethan Fala is proud to share his accomplishments in reading and math.



In October, Ethan Fala received a letter from the Licking County Educational Service Center.

His family still has it hanging on their fridge.

Ethan, 12,  is proud to show off the letter, welcoming him into the advanced reading and math classes at Johnstown Elementary. He reflects back to when it arrived.

“I felt really awesome,” he said. “I felt proud.”

His parents, Tina and Alex Fala always knew their son did well in school. But getting confirmation that Ethan was going to transition to gifted classes was especially exciting.

Ethan was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder when he was 4. At the time, he was struggling with speech and no one was sure what the future held for him.

Tina said she is confident that taking on more advanced coursework will be another step toward Ethan gaining more independence.

“We want him to be more challenged,” she said. “It’s good to see he is being pushed and is stepping outside his comfort zone.”

Ethan has been supported by the Licking County Board of Developmental Disabilities since his family moved to the Johnstown area from Delaware County.

He entered kindergarten reading chapter books, but struggled with math early on. But he worked hard and in fourth grade his skills took off, Tina said.

Ethan has earned a perfect score on the state’s math test and an almost perfect score in reading. Teachers began to take notice, and his family was hoping his scores would qualify him for advanced classes.

Although he knew he would miss his homeroom teacher, he was thrilled to move into a new homeroom and take classes with his friends.

“He is doing really well,” Tina said. “He is a really great kid.”

When he transitions to Johnstown Middle School, he will continue to take gifted math and reading classes, Tina said.

Ethan said he is also hoping to play trumpet in the middle school band. He loves music and recently played a recorder solo at a school concert.

He enjoys reading and playing video games and has a Youtube channel where he shares videos of the games he plays.

Besides his core subjects, he enjoys music class and recess and said he is very good at typing.

“The teachers love him,” Tina said. “He is their buddy. He comes in every day with a smile and tells them hello.”

Ethan and his family are in the process of talking with his LCBDD service coordinator about his future as he prepares for middle school. He is considering attending Central Ohio Technical College’s ASPIRE program to think about future careers.

“I believe I might go to college,” he said.

But for now, he is interested in learning more about careers in music and is hoping to be involved in activities in high school, including band.

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