Danny is a 25 year old with Down syndrome. He has been at the Alan Short Center for three years. When Danny came here he was very shy. His social skills were limited to only speaking when he was spoken to. Usually, he only responded to staff who spoke to him, using one word. Danny would sit next to another student who isolates himself from others. He would only follow one step instructions. His Advisor at the time would use PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) to help Danny communicate his wants and needs. Danny would make various noises through out the day or do mischievous things such as throw crayons or beads all over the floor for attention.
I am very proud to say that Danny has come a long way in the past three years. He has shown tremendous growth. Danny is still somewhat shy most of the time. He is loving, friendly, kind, helpful, and has a silly sense of humor. Danny no longer uses PECS to communicate his wants and needs. Now he uses three to four word sentences to communicate. He has also shown great progress in his social skills. Every morning, when Danny arrives at program he makes his rounds greeting staff and peers. Usually he is very happy and smiles as he shakes your hand or hugs you and says, “hi, how are you?’ The noises he makes have become minimal to a few times per day.
Every month we have a Student Meeting, when clients share whatever they want to say. Some choose to sing songs, dance or put on a skit. Danny never used to participate in this. He just sat and watched everyone else. In the past three months, Danny has begun to go up in front of everyone and share. The first time he only said, “Hello.” The second time he said, “Hi Shawn.” For April’s Student Meeting he sang a song about a kite. This was a huge milestone for him! Danny was also chosen to be student of the month in April.
Recently, Danny began helping Dianne put away the lunches. This was a surprise to everyone, as he had never shown interest in helping others before. No one asked him to do this; he just did it on his own one day. Dianne loves and appreciates the help! We are very proud of Danny for taking the initiative; something he would not have done even six months ago.
During Danny’s last IPP meeting, his mother expressed how much it means to their family that Danny continues to attend the Alan Short Center. They are so happy with the tremendous growth that Danny has gone through attending ASC. After visiting many other programs, the family feels that this is the best place for him. If, for whatever reason, Danny is no longer eligible to attend ASC, the family would prefer to keep him home rather than sending him to another program.
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