Reuben is on the autism spectrum. From a young age, he would dart away from any situation in which he was not in complete control, avoiding contact with his family, classmates and teachers. His parents needed advice and respite. He needed a way to move forward with appropriate professional help.
It had been apparent since infancy that music helped Reuben deal with the chaos that daily life was for him. We enrolled him in our Autism Services’ Creative Arts Program and used it as a springboard to start coordinating services, including behavioral health rehabilitation for Reuben and therapeutic support for his family. Now, Reuben is an active musician with a true love for the piano; he recently began attending our new movement therapy class, which he took to immediately. He’s having fun and discovering the joy of expression. We, and his parents, see a boy who is learning to connect.
Nicole, a Wesley Spectrum counselor, remembers a student who would come into her classroom crying, distraught because he felt isolated and unable to interact with the world. He had attempted suicide and had lost hope that his life could ever get better.
“We just stuck with him and kept working with him and giving him positive experiences” Nicole said. “Now he has started speaking at our events about all that is possible with help from Wesley Spectrum. Now he tries to help other kids who are going through what he did.”
“Everyday is the best day at my job because everyday is something new. You come in here and don’t know what to expect. These kids teach me something everyday, and I only hope I can do the same for them.”
At age fourteen, Cassandra took forty sleeping pills. She’d been intensely bullied at school and struggled with anxiety and school phobia. Luckily, she was taken to a hospital in time and put on suicide watch.
Wesley Spectrum therapists immediately began working with Cassandra and her family. Together, they developed an individualized treatment plan, including academic and behavioral health goals for Cassandra and therapy sessions for the whole family. We enrolled her at Wesley Spectrum Academy, where she could receive specialized support in a safe, nurturing environment of mutual respect. One year late, Cassandra was honored as student of the year.
Alex came to Wesley Spectrum when he was five. Placed in foster care at three months and adopted by his aunt and uncle as a toddler, he had been through more upheaval than any child should face. Diagnosed with developmental and behavioral challenges, he exhibited the aggression and fear that is common among children in similar situations. His adoptive father was ill and unable to work; his adoptive mother had recently lost her job.
Wesley Spectrum clinicians found that Alex was visually impaired with extreme photosensitivity. We reached out to the community and secured glasses and light-blocking curtains that his family could not afford. We pulled together case managers, doctors, and other professionals, and provided Alex’s adoptive parents with the therapeutic and family support services that they wanted and needed to help him through this difficult time.