Jonathan’s WEAP team was the guiding force of mission central. Every goal and each new program building the foundation that would serve him and his future. Watching the world unfold for him as his team led the way. While they were the catalyst to his success we would soon discover the heart, soul, and brains behind the entire operation was Jonathan.
The hardwork and dedication of our team was evident from the start, quickly gaining Jonathan’s trust and compliance as they set to work. He was happy to see them and eager to come to the table for therapy time. The structure of the program and pace suited Jonathan’s learning style and he relished each accomplishment. He enjoyed the challenges and demands of learning within autism. That is, until his autism tried to best him.
One afternoon, a particularly challenging program had been introduced and Jonathan had struggled. His perfectionism was being challenged but luckily, he did not become frustrated. Abby said she was confident he would master it soon. He had a strong acquisition rate and was a quick study. It was part of the process and they anticipated there would be times when the work would be more challenging for him. Her shift ended and after she left, I set Jonathan up with a snack and one of his favorite movies, so he could chill before dinner.
I recall putting some laundry away and then proceeded to the kitchen to get dinner started. At some point Cassie needed me, so I directed my attention to her and continued with dinner after she was situated. That is, until my mom-radar sensed something wasn’t right. I went to the family room, where Jonathan’s movie was playing, but he was nowhere in sight. I ran to check his bedroom upstairs but still saw no sign of him. Mild panic began to rise as Jonathan was an accomplished escape artist.
Mom-radar was now on full alert and thankfully directed me to the basement for some reason. There sat Jonathan at his therapy table, with the file folder program he had struggled with earlier in the day. He was back at it and this time he was getting it right! He looked up at me with the biggest smile on his face and returned to complete it. My son, just as dedicated to his success as we were. Proving yet again that he was intelligent, hard working and not afraid to push himself. Confident in himself and independent enough to do the work he needed to succeed. My heart swelled with love and pride in that moment. There would continue to be countless moments just like that in the years ahead.
I shared the story with my team. They were in awe of Jonathan’s persistence but not entirely surprised. He had already shown them that they were making inroads and this just proved it. So whenever Jonathan felt he wasn’t quite 100%, you would find him in the basement at the end of day, working to get it right. Ironically, there were a few times when a new program introduced in the morning was mastered by the end of the day. At those times Jonathan flipped the tables and had his team scrambling to keep up with him. But together, they worked, laughed, played and inspired each other.
Watching Jonathan then and now still fills my heart with profound love and pride for the little boy who worked so hard to become the man he is today. The man who continues to defy the odds and makes every moment worth watching.