On September 24, 2015, ten children were adopted by their Wesley Spectrum resource families. Three new families were created. There was a sibling set of four, who were adopted into two separate homes. The two girls are four and twelve and the boys are six and seven. They will be able to maintain contact with each other after the adoption, keeping that important lifetime connection going. The girls have four adult siblings who are welcoming them into the family; the boys now have one adult brother and four other siblings who live in the home.
In another family, a sibling group of four girls(ranging in ages of ten to sixteen) was adopted by one family, who also adopted a fifth child, a boy (age four), on the same day. They will join the couple’s daughter, who was adopted several years ago to create a family of six children.
The third family became adoptive parents to their two year old little girl. This was not a new experience for this family, since they adopted their four year old son on May 7, 2015 and their other two year old daughter on July 30, 2015. They are also the proud parents of a nineteen year old son.
Gregory is a 7 year old boy currently in the Wonder Kids program in the Gibsonia office and previously received BSC and TSS through Wesley Spectrum. Through BHRS and WK, Gregory has made incredible progress in his social skills. Previously, Gregory used an aide to get through the hallways at school and to sit in the cafeteria at lunch. He was very shy, not talking much at school or at Wonder Kids. He tended to play by himself. Now, Gregory is constantly playing and talking with peers at Wonder Kids, at school and in the community! He just began his first activity of taking swim lessons. He also has several friends he plays with at school and in the neighborhood. He even has a standing weekly play date with his best friend where they play Minecraft during the week and will go on outings to the zoo, Moraine State Park and bike riding over the weekend!
Gregory’s mom Elana says the biggest improvement she sees in Gregory is his level of comfortability in interacting not only with peers he knows but also new people, “He is seeking out people and looking for friendships now”. He is not only more receptive to having friendships, but understands what friendship is and is a great judge of who would make a good friend for him. He is also a very loyal friend. For example, just recently he and a friend got into a disagreement, when the peer said in frustration that they weren’t friends anymore, Gregory was very mature and was able to say that even though the peer made a mistake and they were in a fight, Gregory would always be his friend.
Gregory agreed that Wonder Kids has helped him become more social. He said that he has gotten better at “talking with friends and asking to play with them a little”. He said the WK Staff have taught him a few lessons. As Gregory is gaining more interests and continuously becoming more comfortable with peers, his family and Wonder Kids staff are excited to watch Gregory grow and learn even more!
Colton is a three year old boy who lives with his mom, dad, older brother and younger sister. The family moved from Texas in January and Colton, who had been diagnosed with Autism, was still non-verbal and was demonstrating tantrums and aggressive behaviors multiple times every day. The family was struggling to manage Colton’s behaviors and their own adjustment to life in a new home, with new people, in a totally different part of the county.
Mom came to Wesley seeking BHRS services to help the family learn the skills to better meet Colton’s needs and develop his communication skills. Mom and the family worked with the BHRS treatment team to develop a plan that fit the family’s lifestyle and practiced the skills they were learning every day. Colton has recently turned 4 and, after five months of BHRS services, is using full phrases to communicate with his family and is expressing himself in new and exciting ways each day. He is able to comply with mom and dad’s directives and can sit at the table and play a game with his brother, all things he struggled with when starting treatment. “I could say a million things about the services. We have all learned so many strategies. Wesley has been a critical resource for our family and it has allowed Colton to be successful in school, community, family and therapeutic settings”, reports Mom. Colton and his family have all grown exponentially in the short time they have participated in services and continue to work together to make every day a success.
Reuben is on the autism spectrum. From a young age, he would dart away from any situation in which he was not in complete control, avoiding contact with his family, classmates and teachers. His parents needed advice and respite. He needed a way to move forward with appropriate professional help.
It had been apparent since infancy that music helped Reuben deal with the chaos that daily life was for him. We enrolled him in our Autism Services’ Creative Arts Program and used it as a springboard to start coordinating services, including behavioral health rehabilitation for Reuben and therapeutic support for his family. Now, Reuben is an active musician with a true love for the piano; he recently began attending our new movement therapy class, which he took to immediately. He’s having fun and discovering the joy of expression. We, and his parents, see a boy who is learning to connect.
Nicole, a Wesley Spectrum counselor, remembers a student who would come into her classroom crying, distraught because he felt isolated and unable to interact with the world. He had attempted suicide and had lost hope that his life could ever get better.
“We just stuck with him and kept working with him and giving him positive experiences” Nicole said. “Now he has started speaking at our events about all that is possible with help from Wesley Spectrum. Now he tries to help other kids who are going through what he did.”
“Everyday is the best day at my job because everyday is something new. You come in here and don’t know what to expect. These kids teach me something everyday, and I only hope I can do the same for them.”
At age fourteen, Cassandra took forty sleeping pills. She’d been intensely bullied at school and struggled with anxiety and school phobia. Luckily, she was taken to a hospital in time and put on suicide watch.
Wesley Spectrum therapists immediately began working with Cassandra and her family. Together, they developed an individualized treatment plan, including academic and behavioral health goals for Cassandra and therapy sessions for the whole family. We enrolled her at Wesley Spectrum Academy, where she could receive specialized support in a safe, nurturing environment of mutual respect. One year late, Cassandra was honored as student of the year.
Alex came to Wesley Spectrum when he was five. Placed in foster care at three months and adopted by his aunt and uncle as a toddler, he had been through more upheaval than any child should face. Diagnosed with developmental and behavioral challenges, he exhibited the aggression and fear that is common among children in similar situations. His adoptive father was ill and unable to work; his adoptive mother had recently lost her job.
Wesley Spectrum clinicians found that Alex was visually impaired with extreme photosensitivity. We reached out to the community and secured glasses and light-blocking curtains that his family could not afford. We pulled together case managers, doctors, and other professionals, and provided Alex’s adoptive parents with the therapeutic and family support services that they wanted and needed to help him through this difficult time.