Inspiring Growth in Challenging Times

At just 18 months old, Sean Fox was diagnosed with autism. His journey in a non-verbal world began with many stops, first with Early Intervention Program, then to school, and then to The Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES). As Sean moved into his teen years, certain behaviors began to develop. Sean’s school at the time felt he needed additional support to continue his progress.

His grandparents and guardians, Lucy and Larry Fox, were referred to Abilities First just as it was opening its new location in Cornwall, N.Y.

“Sean has made such wonderful progress since starting at Abilities First,” said Lucy, a retired teacher and school administrator. “He has thrived in an environment that supports the whole person.”

“It has brought out a different child in Sean, one who is more talkative, more confident, more independent, and able to adapt to his environment and understand what we are asking or telling him,” Lucy continued.

While the pandemic has greatly impacted everyone’s life, Sean has thrived in the personalized space of learning remotely. He has a customized learning plan to work at his pace, and he thinks rapidly and is a very bright student. Larry and Lucy play a critical role in supporting Sean with his remote learning activities.

“We credit Sean’s teachers and Abilities First leadership for pivoting during these unprecedented times to a new, successful remote environment, ensuring that Sean and other students continued to grow and thrive as well as they have,” the Foxes said. “It is critical for parents to have partners such as these, and good support to navigate the system and each child’s changes.”

The Abilities First School has expanded Sean’s capabilities and the opportunities the future holds for him. While Sean will remain remote through the end of this school year, Lucy and Larry look forward to Fall when Sean will return to his community and school-based work study program.