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The Gift of Unlocking Human Potential

“Before starting at Devereux, Matthew was a child who would always avoid eye contact. Today, he is eager to connect with other people and is much more comfortable in his own skin.”

 

Before starting at Devereux, Matthew was a child who would always avoid eye contact.

Matthew has worked hard to achieve more responsibility and develop critical life skills.

Devereux has definitely changed Matthew’s life.

It is truly astounding the progress that Matthew has made.

Early in his life, Matthew’s challenges made it difficult for him to express himself to family and caregivers. Matthew was nonverbal, unable to communicate like other children his age, and we really struggled to deal with his unique needs. Just keeping him safe was trying, as he was very impulsive and would often run away. Eventually, Matthew received an official diagnosis of autism. We were advised by other parents to seek professional assistance, which thankfully led us to Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health. Matthew’s services began with visits from their wonderful therapeutic support staff and soon progressed to in-home workshops, which taught us about autism-related issues and how we could best support our son. When Matthew reached elementary school we relocated to the Philadelphia region and researched schools that specialized in autism. Devereux’s Center for Autism Research and Education (CARES) was at the top of our list.

Thank you for taking a moment to let me share Matthew’s story. I hope that our family’s journey will demonstrate how Devereux helps change lives and unlock human potential.

On his first day at Devereux CARES, Matthew was six years old and almost immediately began to make tremendous strides. With additional support outside of the home, he finally mastered potty-training and improved his communication skills. He instantly connected with his first teacher, who had a remarkable talent for treating all of her students with dignity. After working with sentence strips and other advanced learning techniques, Matthew progressed from using a speech generating device to building a vocabulary, eventually becoming fully verbal. During these early years, knowing there were so many caring staff at Devereux who tried different approaches with Matthew was a huge relief to us as parents. Before starting at Devereux, Matthew was a child who would always avoid eye contact. Today, he is eager to connect with other people and is much more comfortable in his own skin.

Touching the lives of over 20,000 individuals with cognitive, behavioral, and emotional challenges nationwide, Devereux empowers individuals like Matthew to balance independence and fulfillment with compassionate care.

Matthew has grown to become much more independent and engaged in the world around him. Like many teenagers, he has a keen interest in technology, often taking his devices with him wherever he goes. Matthew has worked hard to achieve more responsibility and develop critical life skills. Each night, he helps make dinner and spends time on the family treadmill or rides his bike. He has developed his own interests and identity, listening to many different types of music and telling jokes to anyone willing to lend an ear.

“Reflecting on the early years of his childhood, it is truly astounding the progress that Matthew has made, the goals he has set, and personal fulfillment that he has been able to find.”

As an older adolescent, Matthew is nearing a critical period of transition. He will remain a student at Devereux CARES for three more years. For many individuals with autism, this life stage can be full of uncertainty. Matthew is working to develop critical life and employment skills that will help him continue to succeed as an adult. He currently participates in several vocational activities to learn marketable skills and gain critical job experience. Through one opportunity, he has been able to leverage his love of technology to learn how to scan, label, and organize files on a computer. He has also enjoyed doing janitorial work at a local preparatory school, which has helped bolster his sense of independence and enabled him to adjust to a new routine.

The comprehensive care Devereux provides is made possible by the support of the greater community. Please consider making a gift today so that innovative programs and services can continue providing hope to individuals and their families.

Despite his success, Matthew has plenty of room to grow before he enters adulthood. At CARES, he works closely with a job coach to identify potential opportunities and refine the skills needed to work in the community. He has previously struggled with socially-appropriate behavior and the ability to stay focused on an assigned task. At each job, he has worked hard to improve and has become much better at greeting others and being aware of his manners. Additionally, Matthew has developed a strong attention to detail, memorized his work schedule, and learned how to leverage teamwork to get the job done.

Devereux has definitely changed Matthew’s life. Over the last twelve years, he has not only gained critical communication skills, but also learned how to manage previously intrusive behaviors, achieved a strong sense of self, and became more engaged in the world around him. We are currently working closely with Devereux staff to plan for graduation, so Matthew can master the skills of daily life and live as independently as possible. Reflecting on the early years of his childhood, it is truly astounding the progress that Matthew has made, the goals he has set, and the personal fulfillment that he has been able to find.

Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health cannot bring together compassionate care, industry-leading interventions, and family engagement without your support. Public agencies, which fund their services, simply do not cover the cost of these advanced care and life-changing services. Please make your gift today by visiting our secure online donation.

Thank you for helping Devereux to create some certainty in this uncertain world by supporting their mission to unlock and nurture human potential for people living with emotional, behavioral or cognitive differences.

With gratitude,

Sharon Stoudt
Devereux Parent

PS: Your gift to Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health unlocks human potential and is needed now. You have the power to help nurture individuals, like Matthew, to be the best they can be.

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