Kevin quietly sits at his desk in the galaxy room, beaming and asking for cuddles in sign language. His therapist, Hannah Walton, has been with him four months and said she looks forward to working with him every afternoon for this reason.
“He’s a precious little kid that is full of life,” Walton said. “He loves playing with his friends. He’s always giggling, smiling and laughing. He also loves horseback riding, jumping and swimming.”
Since he started at Cornerstone in June 2013, Kevin has enhanced his vocal sounds, and many of his problem behaviors have improved. When he transitioned from the cube setting to the galaxy room, his clinical leader Haleigh Schoon was apprehensive due to challenges when changing his routine. Also, she was nervous about the distraction of Kevin having a shared desk space with another client rather than an individual cube. However, Schoon said he has done exceedingly well at his new desk.
“He is remaining on task and his problematic behaviors have been minimal,” said Schoon. “Therapists also report that in this new setting they have observed an increase in social motivation and interactions with peers.”
Kevin enjoys watching his friends dance on the Wii and likes to play chase with them. Although he is non-vocal and cannot initiate conversation with peers, Walton said he loves spending time with them.
Kevin started at level 1 on the VB-MAPP. At the time, he could only communicate on the iPad and had limited vocal sounds. Now he is able to say “hi” and “bye” and echo short statements prompted by his therapist. He continues to use the iPad in his programming to spell words such as antenna, astronaut and veterinarian. Recently, his therapist Walton said he mastered the “s” sound, which is a big accomplishment for Kevin!
If Walton could say anything to the future Kevin, she said she hopes that he keeps the smile up all of the time. His happiness is contagious, and he makes Cornerstone an even brighter place. Watch a video of Kevin and his improvements at this link.
October 3, 2014, Morgan McClellan