Ben, a former student with Autism at Family Tree has recently started college courses and is enjoying success in computer sciences.

During the school year, Ben was eager to get on the bus and go to his post high school program. While it made my heart happy to see him run down our driveway, it wasn’t safe because he wasn’t waiting until the bus had stopped.

He struggled so to muster any enthusiasm for high school so this was a positive problem, but a concern nonetheless because the bus driver didn’t want him near the bus when it was still in motion. I didn’t want to deter his enthusiasm but I didn’t want him to get hit, either. I could have said, “You need to stand right here” or “No running.” Instead, I thought about what you would do and I told Ben that his bus driver and I love him so much that we want him to stay safe. To stay safe, he needed to wait by our garage until the bus had stopped. I told him he could wait anywhere he wanted … he didn’t have to stand near me or stay inside the garage, etc. I could tell that he was thinking about it, and the next day, he smiled and waited in the garage and then boarded the bus when it stopped. It is so much better for everyone to come from a place of love rather than a place of being punitive or the yelling mom.

I also wanted to share that Ben has successfully completed four computer classes at Community College. The director of special services there is an angel and she has been wonderful. He loves going to college and it has given him so much self-confidence. I can’t stress how important it is to honor your child’s dreams and to never sell anyone short. His difficulties definitely lie in the area of verbal communication, not cognition. He has a 3.5 GPA! He has a support person to help with the language difficulties but he does all the work. After his introductory computer class, he took keyboarding because it is a prerequisite for the other computer classes. I was nervous about that class because of his fine motor issues. He earned a 4.0 and now he has a skill. He also attends our district’s post high school work/life skills program and he likes it and he works hard. I am so proud of him!

Thank you and Terri and Jessica and everyone at Family Tree for making a difference in Ben’s life and giving him this foundation.

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