Adrien has been attending Elim for seven years now, starting when he was just 11 years old. As his teacher, Ms. Tracy, describes him, Adrien is “a very cool kid.” He loves singing and dancing along to music, laughing at his favorite tv show, SpongeBob, and giving the world’s biggest hugs.
Adrien is also very inventive. This young man created his own special sign language in order to communicate with others, and then he taught it to his family and teachers. Adrien has a lot to say and he was determined to communicate it.
Adrien was attending his local public school before coming to Elim. Eventually, the school and Adrien’s family agreed that they didn’t have adequate resources to meet his needs. Adrien’s mom was looking for a place that would provide the care Adrien needed, but also a place where he could grow and learn. His mom wondered, ‘Who will care for your child more than you?’ She was worried for her son.
In previous settings, Adrien had been bullied because of his differences. However, his mom knew right away that he was going to be safe at Elim, being surrounded by caring staff and other students with similar needs. Elim has provided a “safe haven” for Adrien and a feeling of security for his mom. Not only that, but Elim has helped Adrien gain independence.
Thanks to your support, Elim is providing Adrien with the therapy and resources he needs to reach his goals and to thrive. Adrien’s goals have included learning how to take care of himself and understanding how he feels. Due to his medical needs, it is important for him to understand his feelings so he can let others know that he might need help.
Part of taking care of himself is becoming more willing to walk and take part in exercises. At Elim, Adrien does this by completing obstacle courses on the track or going swimming. Sometimes he just needs a little time, patience, and motivation. If you tell him “you got this!” he just goes and does it. The adapted exercise plans Elim has created for him are important to keep him healthy.
Adrien has also been working on daily skills including picking up after himself, cleaning up after meals, and other household chores (like folding and putting away laundry). These skills help teach accountability as well as independence.
He has also been learning to communicate using a specialized and adapted communication device. Before he got this device, he would try to communicate by using the special sign language that he invented himself. That language came in handy for those who understood it, but this device helps anyone understand what Adrien is trying to say. Today, Adrien is learning to convey his wants and his needs, and how he is feeling, using the device to get that message across to others.
Adrien has made so much progress and can now use full sentences on his device! His teacher reports, “Even when you don’t know if he is paying attention, he goes and responds to a question with a full sentence! He always notices what is going on around him.”
Adrien is surprising those around him with his capabilities. Ms. Tracy said, “I have yet to learn everything he knows. He surprises me every day!”
Adrien’s family is grateful for all the dedicated work and support that has equipped Adrien to accomplish so much. Because of your support, Elim has helped Adrien reach these goals that have put him on a path toward gaining independence and reaching his full potential.