Wednesday’s Child: Matthew in motion

Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 6:09 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - When a child is diagnosed with autism, parents may feel lost or helpless. But there are ways to connect with these kids with early intervention. 13-year-old Matthew is a Hoosier child in the care of the state.

“He likes to bounce on yoga balls. That’s his thing,” said Vanessa, one of Matthew’s caregivers at a facility where Matthew resides.

Repetitive motion helps Matthew feel calm in his world. Sensory toys are another attraction.

“He entertains with little things like this,” explained Vanessa.

Vanessa gets to work with Matthew on a regular basis. She’s been thrilled with the improvements in his communication skills.

“In the little bit of time that he’s been with us, we’ve been able to teach him a lot,” said Vanessa.

Sign language helps Matthew connect with those around him.

“Everyday he learns a little bit more,” said Vanessa as she instructed Matthew to use American Sign Language to say “more.”

Technology helps too. Matthew uses an I-pad for entertainment and education.

“He loves to play on his iPad. Like he plays on Sesame Street. Matches the numbers. He loves to trace. We do work with him on that. Tracing,” said Vanessa.

Matthew is a natural in the water. He absolutely loves the swimming pool.

What Matthew really needs is a family willing to adopt a child with special needs.

“I hope he finds a family that cares for him and will actually take the time to learn as much about him as they possibly can,” said Vanessa. “He’s a good kid. He could be something big one day.”

If you would like to learn more about Matthew the states’ support for foster and adoptive families of children with special needs, click here for the link to Indiana’s Adoption Program:

Adopting in Indiana | Indiana Adoption Program

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