Meet Elliott: an individual, not a diagnosis

Sierra and her son Elliott are brave and beloved members of our Serendipity Center community. Sierra recently posted their story on social media, and we are sharing it here in hopes that it will inspire you as much as it inspired us. Here are her words:

“3 years ago it felt like there was no light at the end of the tunnel. But I’m happy to report that as of today he has had ZERO physical managements (having to be restrained or removed from the classroom due to dangerous behavior) for the last nearly 3 weeks! I’m receiving a ton of positive reports from his case manager at school. The teachers and staff are impressed with the major changes in his attitude and behavior at school the last few weeks. And we are seeing huge improvements here at home, too.

3 years ago my son was getting kicked out of his second elementary school. He was unable to make friends or participate in group activities. He was struggling with regulating his emotions from one moment to the next. He had been banned from the school bus due to unsafe behavior. He couldn’t get through a single school day without multiple violent outbursts.

But thanks to his team and the staff at Serendipity Center, he is not just learning coping mechanisms, but being shown how and encouraged to use them in moments of stress and conflict. He is retaliating against his peers less, choosing positive behaviors in stressful situations, and learning to not just identify but to take accountability for his emotions and his reactions. He has friends at school and in the neighborhood. He is finding his strengths in leadership and creative roles.

If you had asked me 3 years ago if I thought this was possible, my answer would have been “I hope it someday will be, but I’m honestly not sure if we will ever get there.” And we’re not there yet. He still has rough days, and there will be bad ones still. But he’s making progress. And that is the only thing that matters.

My son is learning to not just live with high functioning autism, he is THRIVING with high functioning autism. And I owe nearly everything to the staff at Serendipity Center. Because of his placement at this therapeutic school, he is becoming himself in all the best ways. He’s not “the difficult kid” or “the autistic boy” to them. He’s Elliott, who loves dinosaurs and Pokémon, is a strong leader and has a big heart. He is an individual, not a diagnosis. And that, that is everything.”

Sierra, we are so proud of Elliott’s progress! Thank you for sharing your story. Click here to learn more about Serendipity Center’s therapeutic interventions or contact us at or 971-230-7260.