Rebecca’s Progress

 

 

 

 

Update 12/2005 - Happy, Playing Hockey and Saying Mmm and Ahh

 

Rebecca is doing great and she has been incredibly happy since summer vacation (despite

falling and knocking out one of her permanent front teeth). 

 

She laughs all the time, loves to give big hugs, and is making much more eye contact with

everyone she meets.  At school she is focused on learning how to fold hand towels, put away silverware,

and for the first time in her life she is holding a crayon and is beginning to draw. 

 

We were amazed to find out that she is learning to make mmm and ahhh sounds (using her

favorite dessert, cupcakes, as a reward). 

 

Now that she and the other students have mastered rollerblading they are starting to play hockey

(Rebecca grabs the stick like a champ and is learning how to shoot the puck – maybe roller derby will be next). 

She is also learning how to ride a razor scooter (I can’t do that) and she sits quietly and enjoys listening

to her favorite tunes on her iPod Shuffle for 20 minutes at a time. 

 

Rebecca’s instructors are unbelievable – your REED Academy donations are hard at work. 

 

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Update 5/2004

 

Thank you for your continued support of REED Academy, and for your role in helping Rebecca and

many other children to learn important life skills.

 

Rebecca is learning a number of new skills including putting on her hat (good timing for the summer),

and she continues to gain in fine motor skill activities such as placing a pencil box in her desk.  Rebecca is also

getting very good at putting laundry into her drawers at home. 

 

Rebecca is making great progress in using utensils and, for the first time ever, she recently ate with

almost complete independence (and we were able to have a much more relaxing meal, meaning eating at the

same time that Rebecca was eating).

 

            With all of her wonderful progress, Rebecca may need the services of REED Academy until she is

twenty-one, because she continues to require a great deal of assistance and supervision with most activities of

daily living. 

 

            Although in the past, the future was scary and looked bleak, because of your generous support,

and the efforts of the incredible and dedicated directors and staff of REED Academy, we have new found

hope for Rebecca and her future looks much brighter.

 

            Thank you again for helping Rebecca and all of the amazing kids at REED Academy, and for joining us in

our effort in raising money through The Drive for Rebecca to help many individuals and families affected by autism.

 

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Update 3/2004

 

Rebecca has been sharpening her skills in a number of areas and has learned some new skills

including riding a scooter, throwing away trash and is making great progress in using utensils.  At home, Rebecca is

also learning to unzip her knapsack and bring her lunch box into the kitchen and put away her clothing into her

drawers.  Rebecca is also generally doing better in a variety of public places including restaurants, people's homes and

other locations.

 

            We could not believe our eyes recently when she started to wave hello and goodbye.

 

The one skill that is my personal favorite is that she is making great progress in learning to wait.  She has

gotten very good at responding to "Stop Please” when we are walking.  When we say "Wait", and hand her a little

plastic playing card that they made at school, she sometimes grumbles a bit and stamps her feet (like her mom and it is

really cute) and tries to hand the card back, but most often she stands in place and waits for 45 seconds (I don’t know

how her teachers do it – it’s really amazing). 

 

For our little perpetual motion machine, this is a critical skill to help her deal with waiting on line at the

supermarket, waiting with us for a table in a restaurant or waiting to cross the street at a red light. 

 

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December 2, 2003

 

Thank you again for your generous support of REED Academy and The Drive for Rebecca.  Please review the

following update about the wonderful progress Rebecca has made since September 2003.  I wanted to give you a better

understanding of exactly how you are helping Rebecca and many children in our area to learn and grow to be as self-

sufficient and independent as possible.

 

Rebecca enjoys school and is eager to leave each morning to get on the school bus.  During a recent visit to

observe Rebecca at school we witnessed some small miracles.  In only two months, under the expert guidance

of the director and terrific teachers of REED Academy, Rebecca has demonstrated a keen ability to learn

new skills and has made significant strides towards greater independence.  

 

While Rebecca loves many physical activities (swimming, skiing, roller skating etc. – all with assistance), one of

our biggest challenges has been to engage her in purposeful activities such as playing with toys on her own.  Rebecca

typically puts toys and other objects in her mouth. 

 

When we arrived at school to observe, Rebecca was sitting with her teacher and paging through a book.  She was

prompted to pick up the book and she placed it in a container the size of a shoe box.   And when the teacher said let's

clean up, we could not believe our eyes as Rebecca picked up the box on her own, carried it to the bookshelf,

and placed it where it belonged (with only a slight touch on her shoulder to keep her moving in the right direction). 

We then watched in amazement as the teacher asked Rebecca to pick up a small cube and place it in a bucket

several times.            

 

Aside from her success with recreational activities, this was the first time that we had ever seen Rebecca

accomplish anything with such independence, coordination and skill.  Rebecca's achievements in the classroom

were breathtaking and give us great hope for the future. 

 

Our greatest challenge is to figure out a way to communicate with Rebecca, (she does not speak and it is quite

difficult for us to communicate with her). Rebecca’s has made some encouraging progress in that area in learning to stop

and wait, with minimal guidance, rather than being in her usual state of perpetual motion.  We were also amazed to see

that she has started learning to imitate, crucial prerequisite skills to verbal or non-verbal communication.

 

Thank you again for supporting our very special school and for taking a moment to read about Rebecca’s

success.  You have played a very important role in helping her and many other children to maximize their abilities, live

the most active and productive lives, and have the best possible futures.

 

We hope you had a great Thanksgiving.  We have a great deal to give thanks for now and for the future.

 

Sincerely,

Michey, Jon and especially Rebecca

 

 

 

 

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For updates 1) about upcoming events to help find the cause and a cure 2) with more helpful information

and 3) and to be notified of the publication of The Special Needs Caregiver Survival Guide,

send email to:

 

 

 

 

The Drive for Rebecca, Inc.

 2 Valley Place PO Box 225

Tenafly, NJ 07670