The Confidence to Reach His Full Potential

June 05, 2020

Reese was always a sensitive child, even as a baby. He did not like being touched and he hated riding in the car, screaming and kicking in the backseat. By the time he was three years old, his parents knew that his sensitivities were more than just strong behavioral issues. They began working with the local school, trying holistic approaches, and doing whatever they could to discover how to help their son.

While in elementary school, Reese was diagnosed with a behavioral disorder and placed on an Individualized Education Program (IEP). However, these were not enough to offset Reese’s outbursts resulting from provocation from classmates. Although he was never violent, Reese’s emotional explosions were full of anger and out of control. Even though they were trying to help, the school’s faculty was just not equipped to provide the support or resources that Reese and his family so desperately needed.

By the time Reese reached fifth grade, he was finally accurately diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. His middle school life reflected a new routine – he spent time with friends, played sports, and had a happy home life. Unfortunately, another part of this routine was Reese’s continued personal struggle with peer social interactions and the constant teasing from classmates, both resulting in more angry outbursts. These provoked altercations continued until everyone was frustrated and unsure of how to continue. Reese’s parents hired an attorney to help them discover options and protect their educational rights based on Reese’s IEP. The school created a time-out room without furniture for Reese, who was devastated to think that people were afraid of him and would think he would harm himself or others. Reese’s mother knew it was time for a change.

The family looked at three alternative schools and chose Spaulding after meeting staff members and touring the Northfield campus. Impressed by the staff’s compassion and expertise, Reese’s parents began to envision what was possible for their son. Even with this new optimism, they faced an extremely difficult decision. Enrolling Reese in Spaulding’s residential program meant that he would live on campus during the week and spend time at home only on the weekends, holidays and breaks. In the end, they realized that this decision was for Reese’s future and he needed the time and tools to positively change his life.

As a student in Colcord cottage, Reese created lasting memories and new friends while flourishing in the therapeutically intensive program. He learned how to positively interact with the other children in his home away from home, utilizing the self-monitoring tools learned from Spaulding staff. Reese enjoyed after school activities, such as Spaulding’s Special Olympics basketball team, which helped him build self-confidence and enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes with hard work and dedication. All the while, his parents witnessed the amazing changes each weekend as Reese practiced his new skills at home.

After making tremendous progress at Spaulding, Reese was able to move back home and enroll in his community’s high school. Although he still struggles occasionally, Reese no longer has anger outbursts. He continues to demonstrate incredible emotional growth, including the ability to recognize that he controls his behaviors. Reese is now an honor roll student, excelling in chemistry and math. Enjoying his new sense of self, Reese even recently performed a solo dance routine that he choreographed in his high school’s talent show!

Thanks to Spaulding, Reese now has the confidence and the tools to reach his full potential. His parents are adamant that Spaulding was the absolute best decision for Reese. Through responsive support and extensive information, the Spaulding staff created an amazing and lasting impact on Reese’s life. The results are better than Reese’s parents could have ever imagined, and they are once again excited to see what the future holds for their smart, capable, and happy son.