At age 4 and 6, Guilia and Loren already know what it means to have a community invested in their future. Both siblings (pictured above) have autism and have been receiving behavioral therapy with ATC since 2017. Thanks to community funding for renovations that allowed ATC to turn administrative offices into additional therapy rooms, Guilia and Loren were able to start treatment shortly after their autism diagnosis.
What difference did this make? Guilia and Loren made so much progress on their communication and social behaviors, both children were able to make a successful transition to public school this year, a milestone their mother, Jennifer, wasn’t sure she would ever see. “The therapists who work with Guilia and Loren are angels from heaven,” she says. “ATC has helped my family in more ways than I can possibly put into words.”
Early diagnosis and treatment can have a life-changing impact on children with autism. Today, however, many children miss the opportunity for early intervention because of long waiting lists for services or a lack of insurance coverage for behavior therapy. This is where more community support can make the most difference.
Words really can’t describe the impact your contributions to ATC have on the lives of children like Guilia and Loren. But that’s OK. We think the smiles on their faces say it all.
Do you hear what I hear?
The Berkner High School "Encore" Choir stopped by our Dallas campus to sing Christmas carols with our students and adults. We're grateful for this talented group of students. What a wonderful surprise!
This year, North Texas Giving Day donations to ATC total $11,350!
A BIG thank you to everyone who joined in on this community-wide giving day. Donations received on NTxGD (unless otherwise designated by the donor) will be used to provide early-intervention therapy for children with autism.
An undiscovered talent!
Michael DeKunder first came to the Autism Treatment Center as a student when we opened our San Antonio school in 1978. Now 52, Michael has been an ATC resident since 1991 and attends our weekday Meaningful Living, Meaningful Work program. While our long-time staff know Michael very well, no one, not even his own family, knew what a talented artist he was.
The discovery of Michael’s artistic talent came last year when ATC hired art instructor Linda Evans to teach classes on Wednesday afternoons. She began with three adults one-on-one, focusing on their individual abilities and interests. When she first started painting with Michael, he was very shy and wouldn’t look her in the eye. If she asked him a question, he would only say “yes”, if he said anything at all.
Linda’s primary goal was for Michael to have fun but she also wanted him to learn something from each session. In the year they have been working together, Linda has seen amazing changes in him.
“I have taught him how to sing the entire song “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and he will now say my name and give me names for his paintings,” Linda says. “If I point or ask him what something is, he will tell me it is a vase or tree. For Michael to speak to me, telling me what color the leaves are and what we just painted is significant.”
Michael’s art lessons have resulted in dozens of beautiful paintings that have been gifted to family members and sold at community art events. For Linda, the outcomes are much more personal. “Michael is still very quiet but I take him out of his quiet zone, have him dance and sing with me, and remind him that he can trust me before we paint. I am very thankful for Michael and feel blessed to have shared this past year with such a wonderful and talented man."
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