Like many boys his age, Gregory enjoyed his summer by staying active outside, riding horses, going to camp and playing baseball. He’s shy at first, but once he gets to talking about baseball and horses, Gregory’s face lights up.
Gregory has received supports and service coordination through Boone County Family Resources since 2004 and has shown good progress for many years. Gregory’s mom credits Boone County Family Resources for helping him to get involved in extracurricular activities. “He has really grown socially and participating has greatly improved his self-esteem.”
He is very proud of all his ribbons and trophies he’s earned from riding horses at Cedar Creek Therapeutic Riding Center and playing on the Daniel Boone Little League’s Challenger Baseball team. His latest trophy from Challenger Baseball was bigger than all the rest and earned a special spot on top of his dresser.
Another service that has been very beneficial for Gregory is working with three different personal assistants through Alternative Community Training (ACT). On the morning he was interviewed for this report, Gregory was anxiously awaiting the arrival of one of his PAs, Grant, who he was hoping would join Gregory in making homemade ice cream.
“Grant has been great for Gregory,” says mom, Janna. “Most recently, they have been working on the concept of money. How to count it, how to buy things – Gregory counts out spare change and gets to use it to get things he wants like an ice cream cone at McDonald’s. He’s really starting to understand.”
An important role for a personal assistant is to help with learning life skills and Gregory and Grant also work on strategies to help him stay calm when he gets frustrated which will be helpful as he begins the 7th grade at a new school this year. “He’s actually OK with going to the new school because his sister and brother already went to Oakland, so it’s an easier transition.” Gregory also attends classes through Quest, a program offered by Columbia Public Schools for at-promise children with special needs. Grant asks Gregory to demonstrate one of his new techniques called “squeezing lemons.” Gregory flexes his arm muscles and pretends to squeeze two lemons with his hands while twisting his face into a silly grin. “It helps me settle down when I get mad,” says Gregory.
“Things are not always easy at home,” says Janna, whose other son also has special needs, “But having the support from Boone County Family Resources has helped so much. It’s been good for Gregory and good for our family.”
Gregory wrapped up the interview by asking for a picture to be taken with him and his mom. Gregory hugs his mom tightly. “I wouldn’t sell you for a dime,” says Janna. “Do you know why?” she asks Gregory. “Because I’m priceless!” says Gregory. Janna smiles and nods in agreement. “Yes you are!” she says.