Isaac was motivated by praise, and he desperately wanted to learn to talk. He would study people’s mouths to try figure out how words were formed. Another motivator for Isaac was cheering on other kids in the program. He was a big encourager and found just as much joy rooting classmates on as receiving praise himself.
Even though the family drove an hour to and from the center in rush hour traffic, neither Keely nor Isaac minded. “He would be excited to get in the car and go,” says Keely. “And everything I learned from Marcus Autism Center, I still use with my 1 year old. It’s also stuff that works for my gifted 10 year old. All kids do better when you can find what motivates them and then encourage them.”
Today, Isaac is a 9-year-old third grader in a general education class, and although he’s getting certain supports, he’s thriving. He loves going to school, and he’s still an excellent speller. He’s constantly called on by his classmates to spell words. He’s a protective older brother, and despite hating shots, he asked his mom if he could get his baby sister’s shots for her. “That’s Isaac,” says Keely. “He’s the sweetest child and genuinely loves to help other people. He doesn’t know how rare and special his kindness is.”