Wesley’s Story

Where Wesley Started

When Wesley first started at Cornerstone, he had difficulty expressing himself to his peers as well as to his therapists.  He was not able to request preferred items or activities and would often engage in tantrums or noncompliance for very long periods of time instead of using appropriate communication.

On occasion, episodes of these behaviors would last several hours.  His family struggled to take him out to public places and into the community due to these lengthy and difficult behaviors.

“Wesley’s therapists lovingly and patiently worked with him day after day,” said David Tilford. “Even at his worst, his therapists would work through the behaviors and joyfully do it all again the following day.”

Wesley also had difficulty completing tasks without frequent access to reinforcement.  He would often elope from his therapist in order to escape the programming session.

Wesley had very limited interest in his peers.  He would prefer to play alone and struggled to communicate with those around him in a functional way.

How Wesley Improved

Three years later not only can Wesley communicate how he feels or what he wants, he can even sing it! His favorite song to sing is Respect by Aretha Franklin.

According to BCBAs Angie Robbins and Erica Bushnell, Wesley has gained great functional communication abilities, self-management skills and so many friendships, all while increasing his ability to transition from activity to activity more easily and reducing challenging behaviors.

“God is truly at work in Cornerstone Autism Center,” said Deborah Tilford. “Wesley’s therapists went above and beyond our expectations. We are forever grateful to each and every one of them. They are our Cornerstone family!”

Wesley accomplished all 170 Milestones from the Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment Placement Program (VB-MAPP) assessment and numerous Assessment of Functional Living Skills (AFLS) prior to graduating in December 2019. He is able to add and subtract, read and write, and even share his toys with other peers regularly.

You can often find Wesley singing, dancing, and theatrically reenacting videos during any part of the day, all while putting a smile on everyone’s face.

“His energetic and contagious personality makes everyone smile and we will miss him dearly as he goes to school,” said BCBA Erica Bushnell.

Wesley has made leaps and bounds, especially throughout his time at Cornerstone. We are honored to have had the opportunity to work with him. We can’t wait to see all that he achieves in school.

After his first day of school, Wesley’s mom shared with us that the day went very smoothly, and he did a great job with the transition!

“We know he will change the lives of his teachers and classmates forever, just as he has ours,” said BCBA Angie Robbins “He will be missed!”