Meet William, Future Computer Wiz

Photo of WilliamWhen William grows up, he says he wants to work on computers, maybe even be a programmer for video games. This spunky 10-year-old’s favorite thing in school is working in the computer lab, but he said he’s going to work on practicing reading and spelling this year, too. Right now, he enjoys reading Star Wars books.

Like any typical 5th grader, he loves video games and playing baseball and was a little sad to see school start back up again, although he admitted he was excited about having a new teacher for fifth grade this year. “She’s really nice.” He also was looking forward to going back to Cub Scouts. “I’ve been in it since first grade,” says William. “It’s fun and my little brother is going to join, too.”

William has been receiving services from Boone County Family Resources since 2005 when he was referred by the First Steps program. He was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and is experiencing delays in fine and gross motor skills and communication skills. In addition to occupational therapy received at school, BCFR also assists the parents with co-pays for additional occupational therapy services at MU Children’s Therapy Center where he works on balance, strength, coordination and managing sensory input needs. Through this last year, BCFR has also assisted William with positive behavior supports and social skills classes to help him strengthen social interactions. The agency has also purchased some sensory input items like “chewelry” and a  Disc O Sit cushion to help William stay focused. BCFR has also paid for William to attend Camp Friday, a structured, bi-monthly Friday evening activity group for kids with special needs.

Photo of William writing on the white board“William really has benefitted from the variety of the services offered by BCFR,” says Simon, William’s father. “Having the different options available for him to experience has been wonderful.” The family also participates in the Home-Based Support Services (HBSS) and has worked with the same caregiver for many years. “We are fortunate to have Lisa in our lives for as long as we have,” says Simon. “Since she’s been working with William for quite some time, they have a good relationship and enjoy spending time together. We previously worked with her sister, too. There is a nice continuity.” William says he and Lisa get together 2-3 times per week and like to go swimming, to the library or walking at either the Columbia Mall or the city’s Activity and Recreation Center (ARC).

William has also physically benefitted from many options for therapeutic recreation such as horseback riding at Cedar Creek Therapeutic Riding Center, adapted swimming, pottery classes at Access Arts, Challenger Baseball and adapted gymnastics. This fall, he’s excited to participate in DanceAbility – an adapted dance class offered by the Missouri Contemporary Ballet. “We hope he enjoys the dance class,” says Simon. “His younger sister takes a ballet class there and has liked it. Hopefully William will like this class, too.” Therapeutic recreation helps William learn coordination and strength—all while having fun at the same time.

“It’s been a joy to work with William and his family and to see their commitment to doing everything they can to help William to achieve his dreams.,” says Barb Howd, Support Coordinator at BCFR. “It’s also a joy to work for BCFR and know that we are able to partner with families and provide the tools and resources to help them reach those dreams. Go, William, future computer whiz!”

When he’s not at school, Cub Scouts or participating in fun activities with his HBSS caregiver, William does enjoy playing with his younger twin siblings, Rachael and John. The family also enjoys traveling and recently took a trip to Yellowstone National Park. “William and his mom rode horses on the trail,” says Simon. “He wouldn’t have even considered that before experiencing horseback riding through BCFR’s services. He has more confidence now.”