Help Wynter Win in Education
Organized by: Bonnie MacDougall
October 25, 2016
“For autistic individuals to succeed in this world they need to find their strengths and the people that will help them get to their hopes and dreams. In order to do so, ability to make and keep friends is a must. Amongst those friends, there must be mentors to show them the way. A supportive environment where they can learn from their mistakes is what we as a society needs to create for them,” Bill Wong, Autistic Occupational Therapist
Meet my son Wynter. Wynter is a bright, extremely intelligent, lovable, caring 10-year-old boy. He loves all animals, nature, riding his bike, learning new facts, and helping others. He is drawn to little kids and they too are drawn to his energy and desire to play with them gently and on their terms. Wynter also has the capability of being very self aware at moments that is surprising for a child of his age. As Wynter's mom I, of course, love him with every ounce of my being and want to help him become the best version of himself as he navigates this world.
Wynter also has significant challenges that he faces every single day. The road he has already traveled has been long for any person, let alone a boy of 10. This list is just highlights some of his struggles over the past 1.5 years.
• In May of 2015 Wynter began intensive in-home therapy after seeing dramatic changes in his mood, anxiety and behavior.
• He was hospitalized for 10 days in September of 2015 and was put on a 6-8 month waiting list for a residential treatment school called The Wright School.
• Wynter returned to his regular school but was soon on overload. There were often calls home because he was trying to escape out windows, severe crying episodes, and eventually evidence of self-harming behavior. He would tell me, “Mom you just don’t understand. All day long I have to listen to pencils and markers on paper, pages turning in books. It’s all so bright and loud, and I don’t have any friends. I just want a friend.”
• In January of 2016 Wynter was moved to a smaller, contained classroom within the same school district.
• Wynter started school at The Wright School in May 2016 and has thrived there. His self esteem has increased, he has friends, he has learned new coping skills, self regulatory skills, all in a safe, positive, structured setting. Although we miss him during the week, he is home on the weekends and I know this is best for him right now.
• Over the years the professionals Wynter has seen have concluded he has the following diagnoses: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Tourette's Syndrome, and Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder.
Wynter will graduate from The Wright School the first week in January and begin the second part of 5th grade. The best school for him to attend next is called Just Right Academy (JRA) and it is modeled after The Wright School. The structure, consistency and ease of transition into a model of education in which he already knows and thrives is essential for Wynter. JRA utilizes small class size, a multi-sensory approach to learning, and a social thinking curriculum. The teachers are highly trained, sensitive, and value mutual respect between teacher and student. Like The Wright School, JRA utilizes Dr. Nicholas Hobbs’ 12 principles to Re-Education. All of these factors make JRA the school where Wynter can be most successful academically, socially and emotionally.
JRA’s tuition is outside the scope of what is feasible for me on my fixed income. At this time tuition is about $20,500/year. We are eligible for financial assistance through the school and through some state grants. At this time the grants have closed for the 2016-2017 school year. My goal is to raise $15,000 total to ensure that Wynter can go to JRA all the way through middle school. His tuition for this spring semester is $5,500 after receiving a sizable scholarship from the school. I cannot know for sure what the school will be able to offer in scholarships over the course of the next few years, but I believe through grant money, scholarships, savings, and generous donations from people like you, this school can be a reality for Wynter. I believe that Wynter has a very bright future ahead of him if he can be in a setting that works for and with him. Asking for help of any kind is not easy, especially financial help. I truly believe in my son’s potential with the proper the tools to help him on his journey. I am grateful for any support you can give, be it through thoughts, prayers, a listening ear, help to raise awareness, or a donation to this cause. Heartfelt Gratitude.