Every day, I walk down the hallway in the Trellis Center at KidsTLC and am greeted by little faces. Some days they are beaming, grinning from ear to ear and ready to get their day started. Other days, they are on the floor, legs sprawled out, brows furrowed closely together and arms crossed. I never know what each day will bring, but one thing remains constant; these children rely on me and our team to teach them the skills they need to be successful, and that brings me the motivation to support them 110%, especially on those difficult days.
Today, is a happy day! One of the children I work with is getting ready to transition into kindergarten. Isaiah’s parents are all smiles and look very eager. You would never know by looking at them now, that just a few months ago they were sitting on the exact same chair with heavy eyes, having just received the news that their beloved child has autism.
When Isaiah first arrived, he did not speak and was easily agitated. When asked to do certain tasks, he quickly became overwhelmed and resorted to biting. This was his cry for help. My first step with Isaiah was to encourage positive behaviors and meet him where he could be successful. To help him communicate, we taught him to use a special tablet that helped him learn to express his wants and needs. It took some time, but Isaiah slowly started to communicate. We celebrated every milestone, no matter how small, and Isaiah began to thrive! We worked on how to ask for breaks before he felt overwhelmed, and this dramatically decreased his urge to bite. Some days were better than others but one day, I got a call that reaffirmed why I show up to work every day. Isaiah’s mom told me that he had a breakthrough during family dinner. Instead of acting out during the meal, he quietly removed himself from the table and rejoined the family after he was calm. This was a victory not only for Isaiah, but for his whole family!
Today, Isaiah has blossomed into a bright and curious child. The once quiet boy whose instinctual response was to act out, now happily plays Duck Duck Goose with his peers. He cannot wait to start school and his parents are beaming. The reason I’m writing this letter is to THANK YOU. Thank you for being a part of KidsTLC’s healing community. Isaiah and other children like him are looking forward to a bright and hope-filled future thanks to you.
Trellis Team Member