“I remember when John was first diagnosed with autism at 16 months of age. I was so scared. I didn’t know what the future was going to hold for him,” recalls Liz, a mother of three in Yonkers.
Because she wanted the best life possible for her son, Liz zealously looked for services to help him. She wanted John to live his life to the fullest. In local schools, Liz struggled to convince administrators that John belonged in an integrated classroom so he could benefit from interaction with many peers. All the administrators could see was that John was fidgety and often frustrated by his difficulty expressing himself. Liz’s request was denied. John remained isolated.
Certain that her son’s development was being stunted, Liz brought John to the Leake & Watts Marion and George Ames Early Childhood Center.
John began to flourish beyond Liz’s expectations. His mother now sees a bright future for her son. John entered mainstream kindergarten at his public school this fall.
“The first thing that caught my attention as I walked in was that I saw these little kids running, and they were running to hug their teachers, and I thought that was the sweetest thing,” Liz said. “I feel that when you have children with special needs, even more, you need to be more nurturing with them.”
With encouragement to interact with his new classmates, John began to flourish beyond Liz’s expectations. She now sees a bright future for her son. John entered mainstream kindergarten at his public school this fall.
“By the end of his first year at Ames, John was calling friends by name, he was taking them by their hand,” she recalled. “I’m very grateful that John was there because I think that anywhere else, he wouldn’t be doing as strongly as he is right now. And I don’t think he’d be as happy.”