Ian is an affectionate, fun-loving 11-year-old who began receiving services through Boone County Family Resources when he and his family relocated to Columbia in 2012. Ian’s mom Mary says this community has much to offer for her son who has autism. “The school system, the services, doctors, therapists – everything is really red carpet here. There is always so much to be involved in – which is why we’re still here.”
With school about to start in a few weeks, Mary says Ian is looking forward to going to middle school. He was in a specialized classroom at Alpha Hart Elementary School and will start at Smithton this fall where he will continue to receive specialized education services. “Ian loves school and is very goal-oriented. He was a leader in his class in elementary school. I am both hopeful and nervous about the transition, but he seems excited about going,” says Mary.
This summer Ian participated in extended summer school, lots of swimming and his favorite – Challenger Baseball through Daniel Boone Little League. “Ian loves Challenger Baseball. He’s the first one out the door and in the car when it’s Monday night,” laughs Mary. “We also try to get together weekly with friends to play and hang out. Church is also a big part of our lives—there is always something going on at church. Between summer school, family activities and running errands, Ian’s had a busy, but productive summer.”
In addition to providing therapeutic recreation opportunities like Challenger Baseball, BCFR also provides funding for occupational therapy in the home and community, and speech therapy at the Thompson Center. “Without BCFR, Ian would not be able to receive these supplemental therapies because our insurance will not cover these services. And these services are very expensive. BCFR is the main reason why we live here.”
“I really enjoy being Ian’s Support Coordinator and working with his family,” says Melinda Odum, Support Coordinator at BCFR. “Richard and Mary are extremely loving and patient parents who work very hard to make sure that Ian has the school services, therapies and activities that he needs to continue to grow.”
And grow he has. Mary says she and Richard have seen a huge increase in self-help skills this summer. They also recently welcomed a dog into their family – something that wouldn’t have been possible earlier due to Ian’s fear of dogs and all animals. “This was a big fear to conquer,” says Mary. “But now the two of them are inseparable!”
The family had one big vacation planned to drive back to San Antonio to visit family and friends before the regular school routine starts again. “We miss our friends and family back in Texas, but we will stay here in Columbia for services and supports for Ian,” Mary says. “And I have only good things to say about Melinda at BCFR. We’ve had a lot of caseworkers – San Antonio, Cooper County, here. She’s the best one we’ve ever had. She’s proactive. She’s great. I’m sure she has other children on her caseload, but it doesn’t seem like it to me.”