Frank started with WWA when he was two years old. He had very little language, poor eye contact and multiple repetitive behaviors. He was your poster child for autism.
Today Frank is a happy twelve year old who is mainstreamed, plays basketball at the YMCA, is a boy scout and plays both the piano and violin. He recently made the advanced orchestra at his middle school and we couldn’t be more proud. Although they are his accomplishments, none of them would have been possible without all the efforts of his WWA therapists.
His therapists were the ones to get him to sit through his piano lessons by working with both him and his piano teacher. If I didn’t have WWA, I don’t think he would have lasted in piano for more than a few weeks. Now music is one of his great loves and it gives him so much confidence.
He also enjoys teams sports because of WWA. Frank was really lucky to have two male therapists who worked hard on his sports skill. His father and the therapists worked to get him to play ball, roller-skate and ride a bike. His therapists would shadow him at the YMCA in first and second grade and helped him pay attention and perfect his shot.
The reason Frank is a Boy Scout today is because of his therapist Lorne, who encourage me in so many areas but the one that resonates today is that he is still a boy scout. Lorne told me that Frank would love to be involved in an organization that gave out badges – and it is so true. He loves Boy Scouts and I would never have thought to do this if it wasn’t for Lorne. WWA therapist also shadowed Frank during his first year as a cub scout.
WWA also worked with his school aide in many different areas. They helped shape her into a great aide that was able to help Frank at school when needed but stand back as much as possible.
His therapists treated him like a real person not just a subject matter they worked with. They really cared about him and his outcome. They were our biggest cheerleaders. Whenever I was discouraged they would give me a pep talk and it was heartfelt. I also got most of the best advice I ever received from them. That advice has shaped who he is. Jennifer told me “don’t be afraid to take him out into the community – it doesn’t matter how many times he melts down, he will never learn to behave better if you keep him at home all the time.” This was true in the short term – a tantruming two year old at the bank but it was also true in the long term as far as being a productive member in the community who feels like he is part of everything. This is the greatest gift I got from WWA but it is just one of many.
- Jeanne, the mother of Frank