At 18 years of age, Jack is figuring out his future. With high school graduation behind him, he is just now discovering his options.
Elementary school was hard for Jack; he achieved all the developmental milestones, but he was very anxious. Professionals arrived at an autism diagnosis in the early school years.
“Jack had a hard time communicating with other kids. He had eruptions when things were too loud and he would sit under his desk,” said mom Kim. “The school bell was so loud; every time it rang, it just made my ears feel like they wanted to pop off,” said Jack.
As Jack transitioned to high school, his anxiety continued and his family worked with their school to identify resources. “Sometimes I would be so out of control that they had to remove me from class. I hated to go to lunch; I yelled at people to stay away from my table.” said Jack.
“Easterseals Crossroads’ autism services began working with Jack in high school. He and his therapist Brooke Bastin have a theme of getting comfortable with being uncomfortable,” said Kim. “When I first started coming here, Brooke would ask me to do something that seemed impossible and I would tell her no. She kept pushing me and well, here we are,” said Jack. Jack graduated with the Core 40 diploma and he received an award at the end of the school year for working hard to achieve his good grades and cope positively with the school environment. He adapted to the point where he could eat lunch with other students.
“To think of Jack as that little first grader who was too afraid to come out from under his desk to seeing him walk across the graduation stage and give a big fist pump – that was huge.” said mom Kim.
Jack continues to work with staff at Easterseals Crossroads to discover opportunities for his future. He recently started volunteering in our INDATA Depot, which is a program that accepts donated computers to refurbish and give to people with disabilities in our community. Jack checks monitors and power boxes, and he removes old hard drives; he works alongside others each day.
Jack’s experiences at Easterseals Crossroads have helped him gain confidence, create coping mechanisms and develop work skills. His family is thrilled with all of his progress and look forward to his continued success. Many of our programs depend on generous support from people in our community who want to make a difference for families like Jack’s.
Because of Easterseals Crossroads, Jack is learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.