Success Story #1: Toni Gage & Son Daniel
Daniel, age 12, began attending the SUCCESS program around two years ago when his mom, Toni, enrolled him at the recommendation of Amy Schulz, a Service Coordinator at The Resource Center.
Toni has seen significant progress in Daniel’s social skills since being in the program. “It really is helping him,” she said. “I can see that when we go to an ice cream store and order ice cream. A couple of years ago he would have never even approached the counter; he did not have the confidence to. Since the program, he will actually go up to the counter and ask for what he wants and say `please’ and `thank you,’ even hand them money and take change.”
Toni sees that SUCCESS has impacted Daniel in other areas as well. She explained that as he has gotten older, he has started to realize that his autism sets him apart from his friends and sometimes causes him to feel left out. Although he has friends that come to his house, he often does not get invited to go places with them.
“[SUCCESS] made him feel like he belongs,” Toni said. “I don’t think he would have that feeling as much if it weren’t for the program.”
Her hope for her son is that he can develop skills that he will use now and in the future.
“I guess my hope would be, long term, that he learns to become more independent.” she said. “For short term, again, just to really have him be a part of something and feel a part of something.”