My son Douglas is now 18 years old and is on the Autism Spectrum. It has been a struggle throughout his life to find places where he fits in and is happy. We have found this through Foundation for Successful Living. Douglas and I first connected with FSL when he joined the Special Olympics basketball team through them last fall. He had an amazing coach and was able to interact with some wonderful team players.
FSL has a monthly “Meet Up” where the clients get together socially. One of my heartbreaks about Douglas is that he really doesn’t have any friends and is rarely invited/included in social activities. He has enjoyed this tremendously and really feels like part of a group. I feel that being able to socialize with the other people at FSL has really helped his self confidence and is an activity he really looks forward to. He has been out to dinner, to a BBQ, a baseball game, and to a social event to hang out and play games.
FSL offered a Sex Ed class and a Social Skills class that I have enrolled Douglas in. Amanda Joy has been truly amazing. Relationships and Sex Ed are very difficult entities for people with disabilities. As a parent, Amanda has kept me informed about the topics that will be/are talked about each week and how the participants reacted or absorbed the information. Douglas has always been willing to talk about what was presented in class and he felt comfortable in doing this. Being able to learn about these things in a group of his “peers” has been really helpful. I think this class has really prepared him for a future relationship.
One area Douglas has been deficient in are his social skills. He has been to other classes before involving this, but I feel he really comes away from this class with tools that he needs to be successful. Most important he is excited to tell me what went on during class and we can talk about what he needs to work on. Again I think being able to be involved in a class with other people who have some of the same challenges has been very comfortable for him. I really appreciate the communication from Amanda about what is discussed at each class and about how well she thinks he absorbed the information.
I have been so impressed with FSL and Douglas has enjoyed being a part of them also, that I have chosen FSL to be the program he will attend next school year through Bridges with District 20.
We feel so fortunate to have discovered FSL and hope to be able to take advantage of other programs and activities they offer in the future.
– Sharon Tyson