Wednesday’s Child: Adventures with Jace

Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 6:03 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - There can be a number of reasons why a child is removed from a home and put in foster care. In the case of 10-year-old Jace, he was removed from a difficult situation.

Jace is nonverbal and he has autism. But since he’s been in the care of the state, he’s made significant progress. His caregiving team hopes his life continues to improve with a new adoptive family.

“He’s a very active guy. He’s the light of the room when he’s in the room,” said Ryleigh Spradley, the residential manager at a care facility. She’s gotten to know Jace in the five years he’s been with them.

“He’s everybody’s best friend. He’s very adventurous,” said Spradley.

Adventures make Jace very excited. He was so happy to explore the Potawatomi Zoo, but Jace loves many things.

“He loves puppies. He likes watching music videos. He loves to be outside. That is probably his favorite thing to do,” said Spradley.

Jace receives a lot of services and they’re working. He can now speak his name and say some words.

“He knows sign language he knows math and can point to all his colors,” explained Spradley.

“He does take a lot of hand over hand assistance but he is gaining a lot of independence through the services he’s receiving,” said Spradley.

And he’s showing interest in the world around him.

“He likes to help around the house, chores. As long as you’re doing it with him,” said Spradley.

Jace isn’t picky when it comes eating.

“Jace will eat anything. He loves vegetables. He loves all the meats all the proteins he cannot have cheese though,” said Spradley.

She wants parents to consider adopting a child with special needs.

“Someone who wants to take on or adopt a child with autism should not be scared. Because you’re going to learn and adapt to that child. Just like I’ve learned to adapt with Jace. It’s like a really big learning experience. But when you adapt to them, they become like one of your own. You don’t even notice that they have autism spectrum disorder anymore it just kind of disappears from your mind because it just steals your heart like any other child would,” said Spradley.

Jace wears a helmet to help shape his head as he continues to grow. Parents who adopt children with special needs will receive support from the state. If you would like to learn more about Jace and adopting from foster care, click on this link to the Indiana Adoption Program.

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