Artwork: “Expressing Your Emotions” by a Member of an ICT Social Communication Group for Teenagers
As Autism Awareness Month comes to a close, we want to shine the spotlight on how our social communication groups have helped our kiddos. Autism and other developmental challenges can make navigating the social world very difficult. In the words of two of our members, here’s how this therapy has made that navigation an easier task. THANK YOU to the two teenagers who submitted these words–it means the world to us to know that our work together pays off!
“Being in therapy has been one of the biggest changes in my life. Back in the 3rd grade when I first came, I was shy, scared with people who were unaware of my pain at my elementary school. Growing up, I was a natural introvert, closed off and alone to the world. The school made it show through more than ever before, especially because I didn’t have a social life and no friends. I was considered weird, pretty much an outcast to most students and they ignored me and didn’t want to be around with me. I was alone, quiet and always to myself. However, if matters could not have gotten worse then I ended up becoming a victim to bullying. It started with teasing, then went to name calling and insensitive comments. Back then, I didn’t know how to handle stuff like this. I was vulnerable, frail and sensitive. But more than anything it just would not stop. Not matter how many attempts it took, teachers, parents, even the principal, nothing. Nothing ever worked. Then one day, I couldn’t take it anymore. I had all these thoughts bottled up inside of me, like Pandora’s box or something like that. Then, I decided enough was enough and broke the glass barrier that surrounded me. I let my emotions run wild, almost as if I became a completely different person, like the shadow that represents my inner thoughts and ideals. Although no physical damage was done, it finally gave me the respect I had deserved throughout all my childhood. People finally understood my hardships and the Pain that I had suffered all those years. I was finally recognized for who I was and the therapy has helped from the start and is still helping me today. In the therapy, I learned a lot about being more social, having good eye contact, etc. All these things have contributed and have provided a foundation for me to start looking my life in a different way. Although, I had matured through middle school and taught myself to stand up and be confident, I have mainly been self-taught but truly didn’t use therapy’s teachings to break free of this mirror I was stuck in. In essence, I have self taught myself about who I am and about my independence and ideals. Despite having figured out my life, I could not have done it without the therapy. It allowed me to be in a place where I could be safe, share my thoughts with people I knew I could trust. I am 14 now and having a challenging, yet happy experience at my new high school. And with therapy, I would not have been the person I would’ve become today. And yet, I still have much more ahead in my life and much more to learn.”
“I feel that therapy has been one of the biggest parts of my life. I’ve been with Mellissa and Veronica for about a decade, for as long as I can remember. Without the kind folks at the Integrated Children’s Therapy, I would’ve never been the same as I am now. I would’ve never been as calm, polite and respectful to others at all. For over ten years, I loved learning and playing with Mellissa, Veronica, Mandy, Jennifer, and so many more iconic and lovable therapists just to name a few. I have made new friends, memories and goals that came into my life thanks to the Integrated Child’s Therapy.”