Sometimes the trajectory of an entire life can be changed with one simple purchase.
Peter was a highly autistic, non-verbal, three-year-old when he arrived with his mother and sister at La Salle, a second-stage shelter for women and their children who are fleeing domestic violence.
Doctors believed Peter would never speak.
“He had serious difficulties, and he’d been witness to domestic abuse,” says Holly Taylor, La Salle Program Supervisor. “Imagine his frustration. He’s had many outbursts and extreme behaviors.”
Taylor and her team were desperate to help Peter. They knew many of his challenges were rooted in his inability to communicate. So, they began looking for technology to support his development, and borrowed a communication device from a local school.
When they had to return the device, they were able to use Sign of Hope funds to purchase a new iPad and software that allows Peter to communicate by pointing to pictures, and encourages him to use his own words.
“That communication technology was such a great gift. His mother was really overcome, just sobbing, and so grateful,” says Taylor.
Peter is now able to speak about six words, including “Hi Mom,” and “I’m hungry,” and staff expect him to continue to improve. His entire life has changed course, thanks to the support of Sign of Hope donors.
“Peter’s story is a true testament to the power of community support. Not only does Sign of Hope allow Catholic Social Services to fund La Salle’s operations, donor dollars also empower us to change lives by responding to the needs of those we serve when they need us most,” says Dr. Troy Davies, CEO, Catholic Social Services.
While Peter progressed, his mom was working hard, too. She increased her fluency in English, found permanent employment, and transitioned her family out of La Salle and back into the community.
Today, Peter is happy, healthy, and thriving.
“He’s a kind, loving kid, smiling all the time. He’s just so happy now,” says Taylor. “The odds were against him, and he’s overcoming them. The future is so bright.”