Just as the holidays can evoke a sense of celebration and thanksgiving, they can also bring stress. But for Teresa Hyler, life is less stressful now than ever before, thanks to her 6-year-old son Kaleb’s successful transition to the private day school at the Building Blocks Center for Autism last May.
Teresa says, compared to a public school, Building Blocks provides a much less stressful environment for Kaleb, which, in turn is less stressful for the entire Hyler family. “He actually loves coming to school,” Teresa says. “It’s been so nice not to have any stress at all, because I don’t worry about him while he’s here. He’s happy, he’s learning, he’s growing just unbelievably, just leaps and bounds!”
The Hyler family was first introduced to the Center for Pediatric Therapies through occupational therapy services, which Kaleb began upon the recommendation of his developmental pediatrician. Kaleb’s testing, treatment, and at-home exercises were all individually designed to help improve his fine motor skills. Teresa says, “You could actually see the progress from treatment to treatment.” Primary focus areas were handwriting, being able to grasp a pencil correctly, and using scissors. Teresa says, “Now, that’s what one of his favorite things to do – to draw and to cut and create, and just be artistic.”
When considering alternative schools for Kaleb, Teresa felt that “Building Blocks was the only option for us.” Teresa valued the fact that the Building Blocks school offers one-on-one attention, and that students are all age 12 and under. Most importantly, the school is dedicated to children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
“[Kaleb] transitioned here so much smoother and quicker than anywhere he’s ever been,” Teresa says. In only a few short months, Teresa has seen improvements in Kaleb’s academic, behavioral, and social skills. In this time, Kaleb has also formed a relationship with nearly all of the Building Blocks staff members. Teresa says, “He’s very affectionate, and when I come pick him up, he has to hug everybody and kiss them
goodbye.” She appreciates that while Kaleb always receives one-on-one attention, he does not always work with the same person. By learning not to get attached to just one person, Teresa feels that Kaleb’s overall potential to interact with others has increased.
Teresa says it is obvious that the skills Kaleb is learning at Building Blocks are “spilling over from school to home.” She has noticed that Kaleb’s ability to interact and communicate with other children has improved in a range of environments, from restaurants to the soccer field to Boy Scout meetings.
The holidays are usually the toughest time of year for the Hyler family, but this year, the Building Blocks staff has helped by sharing social stories with Kaleb so he can understand the excitement of the holiday season. Teresa says, “It’s really been nice to have a support system behind the parents.” Teresa has also found support through attending monthly parent meetings and getting to know parents of other students. She says, “It’s not like you just drop [your child] off here. It’s kind of like one big family.”