After many years of advocating and searching for a school to support the intensive needs of her son, Jaime, Gabby was feeling desperate and thought she had exhausted all available opportunities in the region. At one clinical pre-admission evaluation of Jaime, she had been told there was likely no school or program in New York State which would be able to support Jaime’s needs, nor one that would likely accept him into its program. And then, Gabby was provided one last school placement referral – Abilities First School in LaGrange.
In September 2020, Jaime began attending the Abilities First school with Lisa J. as his teacher. Lisa explained, “Jaime has autism. He exhibits severe behaviors with actions impacting himself, others, and his environment. Change is not easy to accept, be it a bus driver or new schedule change. Notwithstanding his struggles, he utilizes his intelligence in actions to seek what he desires. Jaime has significant trust issues, but fortunately is verbal and able to communicate with spoken word.”
Lisa and Jaime have developed a significant bond and relationship, crucial to his development and sense of trust, which has strengthened significantly since September. Lisa explains that upon entering the school, Jaime was unable to sit for academic work, throwing his paperwork or running to the door. Today, he often sits for 20-minute intervals, works on staying to task and often can move on to additional work.
Jaime has a strong advocate in his mother, Gabby. She is extremely proud of his hard work and grateful to the school team for the work they are doing to meet the needs of Jaime. “He trusts them,” she explained. “The AF school staff have gone out of their way to understand him and obtain the training necessary to support Jaime’s ongoing development. His home life and reasoning skills are better. His future is so much brighter since attending Abilities First School in LaGrange. As a parent, I couldn’t be more grateful that a school like this exists for children and families who need them, when I felt no hope existed.”